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State Prosecutor Warns Drivers that DUI Charges Apply to Marijuana

February 12th, 2020 at 6:46 am

DUI charges, Mariujana, IL defense attorney, The new year saw many changes to Illinois law, and the one garnering the most attention is the fact that both medicinal and recreational marijuana are now legal in the state. Although Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons says that he is in support of the new law, as it may eliminate the black market, he also has a warning for drivers. That is the fact that law enforcement across the state has been training on how to spot drivers under the influence of marijuana. He wants to remind drivers that while marijuana is now legal, it is still against the law to drive under the influence of the drug.

What is Drugged Driving?

The Illinois statute for driving under the influence includes both alcohol and drugs that can impair a driver’s ability to drive safely. Even prescription drugs can mean a driver will face charges if it is found that those drugs impair the motorist. This includes prescriptions for medical marijuana.

Although drugged driving is illegal in the state, law enforcement and prosecutors may have a difficult time securing a conviction, at least in these early days of legalization. Certain testing devices, such as breathalyzers, cannot detect THC the same way they can detect alcohol. While other testing devices are being developed around the country, there is currently no roadside test to determine if a driver is impaired by marijuana. As such, law enforcement will rely mainly on their own observations, which are entirely subjective.

Defenses to Drugged Driving

Even without roadside tests, urine and blood tests can detect THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, in a person’s system. Law enforcement may rely on these tests to establish a driver was impaired at the time of their arrest, but there are issues with these tests, as well.

The main one of these is that THC can remain in a person’s system for up to 30 days. That means that a person may have consumed marijuana weeks ago, but was not under the influence of the drug at the time of the arrest. That can provide a very effective defense to drugged driving.

As with all DUI cases in the state, an improper stop may also provide a valid defense. Law enforcement must have a legitimate reason to pull a driver over. They must have noticed signs that caused them to suspect a DUI, such as a driver that swerved in and out of their lane. When there was no probable cause to stop a motorist, any information or evidence obtained after the stop is inadmissible in court.

Lastly, the fact that testing for drugged driving is so subjective can also be used as a defense. An officer may claim for example, that a driver displayed a lack of coordination during roadside tests, which led to an arrest for drugged driving. However, an injury or illness may also cause coordination issues that do not affect a person’s ability to drive. This can also be used as a defense.

Charged with a DUI? Call Our Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer

With the legalization of marijuana in Illinois, and overzealous law enforcement officers wishing to make arrests, charges of drugged driving are likely to increase in the state. Many of the individuals charged will be innocent of a DUI and need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we can prepare a solid defense for you to help you beat the charges and retain your freedom. Call us today at 847-394-3200 to schedule your free consultation so we can further discuss your case.

 

Source:

https://fox2now.com/2020/01/02/illinois-prosecutor-warns-against-smoking-and-driving/

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Written by Staff Writer

February 12th, 2020 at 6:46 am

Posted in DUI/DWI

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