April 14th, 2017 at 7:00 am
Operating a vehicle under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs is illegal in Illinois. Even though medical marijuana is legal with a valid medical card in Illinois, the state previously had a zero-tolerance policy regarding the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in one’s system.
Governor Rauner signed SB 2228 into law which made changes to the Illinois DUI statute. Instead of investigating whether there are trace amounts of THC in a defendant’s blood, this new law creates a tiered system for impairment.
The new law dictates that it is now illegal to drive or be in actual control of a vehicle with more than 5ng of THC per ml of a person’s blood or bodily substance. Officials have determined this level is close in proximity to the .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) level for driving under the influence.
While this change in the law leaves some uncertainty in the community, it corrected a legal paradox where a person could be charged with a DUI for cannabis that he or she may have smoked or consumed over a month prior.
I Have My Medical Marijuana Card
Illinois is an implied consent state, which means that when you applied for a medical marijuana card and were approved, you thus automatically consented to a field sobriety test. If a driver with a medical marijuana card refuses a field sobriety test after being pulled for reckless driving, he or she may have his or her license suspended or revoked. If the arresting officer suspects that the reason for the reckless driving was the medical marijuana, the officer may testify at trial as to the defendant’s appearance of impairment.
Are the Penalties the Same?
If you are arrested for an offense while being legally impaired by THC and driving a vehicle, Illinois traffic laws apply. For example, a reckless driving citation is not less reckless even though the THC that caused the reckless driving was legal under Illinois state law for medicinal purposes. The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol vary depending on the circumstances surrounding each case. Most DUI penalties carry hefty fines and usually involve the suspension of one’s license. After a DUI arrest, a driver’s license is automatically suspended for 180 days.
I Have Been Arrested for a DUI. What is My First Step?
A DUI arrest for drugs or alcohol is a serious charge that no one should face alone. Contact an experienced Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. Take advantage of our 24-hour answering service.