Across the nation, marijuana laws are changing. Many states have approved the medical form of the drug, while others have completely legalized the substance for personal use. Despite these new advancements, it is vitally important for citizens to remember that driving while under the influence of marijuana remains a crime in all 50 states.
Is Driving While High a Crime?
Driving while under the influence of marijuana is a crime in every state. Most people know that driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal, but not everyone understands that “under the influence” extends to marijuana or other drug impairment. Marijuana impairment, however, is much harder to definitively prove than other types of intoxication. For that reason, police can often gain a conviction of marijuana DUI just by proving that the substance has affected the driver in “any way.” The types of evidence police look for in a marijuana DUI cases includes:
• Poor driving
• Slurred speech or other intoxicated behavior
• THC Drug tests
• Failed or poor performance on a field sobriety test
• Marijuana odor or visible smoking devices
Limitations of THC Drug Tests
At times, police may order the driver to submit to a drug test to determine whether they were under the influence while driving. While this method is ideal for testing alcohol levels, THC intoxication is much more difficult to pinpoint. Marijuana stays within the body for 30 days, so even a drug test that is positive for marijuana is not a definitive measure of how long ago the person consumed the substance. There have also been cases where police have charged and convicted individuals whose drug tests later came back negative for marijuana.
Probable Cause, Possession or Failed Sobriety Tests
Police often claim they have probable cause to believe the driver was under the influence of marijuana based on smelling the substance or witnessing smoking paraphernalia in plain sight or after a search. Possession of marijuana may also be used to prove the person was under the influence while driving. Most importantly, cops are increasingly relying on new field sobriety tests that attempt to determine whether a driver is high or not. Such tests include testing the driver’s reflexes, balance and overall competence.
Contact an Experienced Moorestown DWI Defense Attorney About Your DWI Charges in New Jersey
Have you been charged with a DWI or DUID offense in New Jersey? A DUID conviction could leave you with a permanent record, and it could result in your driver’s license being suspended for a very long time. That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified DUID defense lawyer about your case. The Law Offices of Michele Finizio represent clients charged with drunk driving, breath test refusal, and related offenses in Moorestown and throughout New Jersey. Call 609.230.0374 or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office located at 9 E. Main St., Moorestown.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.