DUI Lawyers for Marijuana Case
DUI, or driving while under the influence, includes driving conduct that is impaired by illegal drugs like marijuana. If you have been arrested for a DUI and are alleged to have been imparied by smoking or ingesting marijuana, you should retain a DUI lawyer to represent you because of the similarities in how these cases are prosecuted and defended.
Symptoms and Factors
There are similarities in the methods used for determining whether your driving may have been influenced by alcohol or marijuana, and the defenses available to you. Since the suspension of your driving privileges is also at stake, you will need the services of DUI lawyers who routinely handle this aspect of every DUI case.
The factors and symptoms that law enforcement officers note when considering if you are under the influence of alcohol or marijuana include the following:
- Driving conduct
- Admission to drinking or smoking
- Bloodshot eyes
- Slurred or incomprehensible speech
- Odor of alcohol or marijuana
- Poor performance on field sobriety tests
DUI lawyers commonly question an officer's largely subjective opinions in these areas at trial or at a license revocation hearing in nearly every DUI case.
Differences in Detection
A major difference between being charged with DUI involving alcohol and being charged with DUI involving marijuana is the chemical test. Anyone who drives a motor vehicle in any state has given implied consented to breath or blood tests if an officer has probable cause to believe the driver is driving while under the influence.
While a breathalyzer, intoxilyzer, or blood test can detect your blood alcohol content (BAC), only a blood or urine test can detect the presence of marijuana. There is no breath device that can measure or detect the presence of the drug in your body.
In a number of states, law enforcement agencies are using officers certified in detecting the presence of illegal drugs in drivers, called Drug Recognition Experts (DRE), who can offer an opinion that a driver is under the influence of a certain drug. The officer can use the following procedures if he or she suspects that drugs are involved:
- Check the suspect's blood pressure, temperature, and pulse for elevated or depressed vital signs.
- Conduct an eye exam called horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) to look for the eyes' reaction to light, pupil size, and any jerking of the eyes.
- Have the suspect perform field sobriety tests.
Defenses for a Marijuana Case
Certain drugs can stay in your system for days or weeks after being ingested. Marijuana can remain in your system for up to 30 days. Merely detecting the presence of the drug without other evidence such as the symptoms noted above may not be sufficient to convict someone of a DUI.
Also, while driving with a BAC of .08 percent or higher is illegal, there are no uniform standards for indicating a person is under the influence of marijuana.
Finally, a DUI lawyer can use the same experts and similar cross-examination questioning to challenge the validity of any urine or blood test used to detect marijuana