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Archive for the ‘decriminalizing marijuana possession’ tag

Law Against Driving While High On Marijuana Changed

September 15th, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Law Against Driving While High On Marijuana ChangedUntil recently, it was illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana, regardless of how much marijuana was in your system. Illinois law used to employ a zero tolerance approach when it came to driving under the influence of marijuana. Specifically, if any amount of marijuana was detected in the suspected drugged driver’s system, the driver could be charged with a marijuana DUI. But the recent passage of Illinois bill SB2228 changes things and puts a measurable limit on when an Illinois driver is too high to drive.

Under the old law, prosecutors were not required to demonstrate that the driver was actually intoxicated by marijuana at the time of their DUI arrest, according to a recent article in the Pekin Daily Times. Instead, the prosecution only had to show that marijuana, even in trace amounts, was detected in the driver’s system. A blood test could be used to analyze a blood sample for any trace of THC, which is the active psychoactive chemical ingredient in marijuana.

A Zero Tolerance Policy Is Patently Unfair

The old law was strikingly unfair since it failed to require proof that the driver was actually under the influence of marijuana to such a degree that the intoxication impacted the driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. The old law could place a person who was merely in contact with marijuana smoke in violation of the state’s marijuana DUI laws, even though the person never actually inhaled more than second-hand marijuana smoke.

New Law Offers Measurable Legal Limit

The new law places a quantifiable measurement on when a person is considered to be under the influence of marijuana to such a degree that their driving ability is affected. Specifically, a person who has five nanograms of THC in their blood, when the blood sample is taken within two hours of a DUI arrest, is considered to be under the influence of marijuana and is not safe to drive a vehicle. With the enactment of the new marijuana DUI law, Illinois joins just four other states – Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington – that have placed a measurable impairment level on marijuana.

Bill SB2228 Also Decriminalizes Possession of Small Quantities of Marijuana

The new law also decriminalizes possession of small quantities of marijuana. Instead of being a criminal offense, possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana is punishable as a civil infraction, meaning that offenders will merely be issued a ticket. The ticket ranges from between a fine of $100 and $200.

Facing A DUI? Contact A Rolling Meadows Drug Offenses Lawyer

Whether you are facing a DUI, a marijuana DUI, or drug charges, you need to speak to an experienced Rolling Meadows drug crimes lawyer as soon as feasible about your situation. These criminal charges are serious, and you need legal representation that can help you fight the charges that are pending against you.


Illinois House of Representatives to Consider Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession

June 1st, 2016 at 7:36 am

Illinois decriminalizing marijuana possession, Illinois Criminal Defense LawyerThe Illinois legislature is taking another shot at decriminalizing the possession of small quantities of marijuana. In recent years, the legislature has unsuccessfully attempted to accomplish decriminalization, with bills often being derailed during the approval process. A similar bill was proposed last year, but was vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner. However, Governor Rauner offered guidance to legislators on how to modify the bill so that it would have better success at being approved—the governor was concerned that the old version of the bill allowed people to carry too much marijuana and did not require the payment of a large enough fine. The new bill, SB 2228 incorporates the governor’s guidance.  

With so many other states legalizing the use, purchase and possession of marijuana, it seems that states like Illinois are slowly catching on that possession of small quantities of marijuana might not be such a horrible crime that warrants serious consequences, such as arrest, jail time, and a criminal record. There are more than 100 local communities in Illinois that have already passed local measures that remove criminal penalties from marijuana possession, when the quantity in question is small.

Current Marijuana Possession Law

Under the current law, Illinois takes a fairly strict stance against minor marijuana possession. Under 720 ILCS 550/4(c) of the Cannabis Control Act, possession of between 2.5 and 10 grams of cannabis is a Class B misdemeanor. Those who are convicted can face up to six months in jail and/or a fine.

However, under the new law, in its current form as SB 2228, possession of marijuana in the amount of 10 grams or less would be decriminalized to a civil law violation that is punishable by the payment of a one hundred to $200 fine. The bill also allows for individual towns and cities to add other penalties on top of the penalties prescribed by the bill, and would require that citations for marijuana possession under the new bill to be automatically expunged bi-annually.

Despite passage in the Illinois Senate by a vote of 40-14, there is strong opposition to the bill from law enforcement officers and advocates who are against the legalization of marijuana. Regardless, the bill is expected to pass in the House.

Until minor marijuana possession is decriminalized, possession of between two and a half and ten grams is a Class B misdemeanor. Remember, if you are arrested for marijuana possession in Illinois, then it is important to get into contact with a drug offenses lawyer to help mitigate or reduce the charges you face, or get the charges dismissed altogether.

Let Us Assist You Today

While the proposed bill to decriminalize possession of a small quantity of marijuana is presently before the House of Representatives for review, that does not mean that marijuana possession has been decriminalized yet. If you are facing criminal charges for possession of a small quantity of marijuana, you should reach out to an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office for help. We can help protect your rights throughout your case.


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