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Different DUI Standards for Medical Marijuana Patients

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, drug crimes, Illinios drug lawsIllinois is slowly limping into the age of medical marijuana. While getting the system up and running is taking some time, there are some very good things in the state’s medical marijuana laws. One of those good things has to do with how medical marijuana patients will be treated when it comes to DUI charges.

Illinois DUI Marijuana Charges for Non-Medical Marijuana Users

People who choose to use marijuana in Illinois without the protections that are afforded to medical marijuana users run serious risks if they are ever pulled over on suspicion of a DUI. Under Illinois statute, a person can be found guilty of DUI if he or she drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle while there is any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in his or her blood, breath, or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis. Now, as most marijuana users are aware, certain metabolites of marijuana can remain in a person’s system for days or even weeks after the drug has been used and the effects of the drug have worn off. This means that technically a person who uses non-medical marijuana in Illinois and then drives two or three weeks later can be prosecuted for driving under the influence of drugs, even though all of the science indicates that the marijuana would be having no effect on the person’s driving at that time.

Illinois DUI Marijuana Charges for Medical Marijuana Patients

Fortunately, medical marijuana patients will be treated differently. The Illinois law that deals with this particular type of DUI specifically exempts people who are patients licensed under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. This does not mean, however, that medical marijuana patients will be allowed to drive while high. A different part of the DUI statute makes it a crime to drive while under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs to a degree that the person is rendered incapable of safe driving. So a urine test showing marijuana metabolites will not be enough to convict a person of DUI, but evidence of marijuana intoxication at the time of driving will suffice. One way the State may try to prove intoxication in these cases is through the use of drug recognition experts, or DREs. You may be aware of the standard field sobriety tests that cops perform on suspected drunk drivers. DREs are law enforcement officers who have been trained to administer a longer battery of tests that allegedly indicate whether someone has been using a drug other than alcohol, and if so, what type of drug they have been using.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with a DUI, you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Christopher Cosley has spent his career defending the rights of people like you. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M . Cosley at (847)394-3200.

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