Illinois has taken the lead of many other states across the nation and taken a more nuanced approach to marijuana. Although it is now legal to use for people 21 and older and those who are using it for medicinal purposes, it can still spark legal problems if the user is accused of driving under the influence of marijuana. Knowing the law for marijuana DUI is a vital first step to preventing a conviction and its negative impact.
Know the details of a marijuana DUI investigation
Just as people are not allowed to drive a vehicle with a certain amount of alcohol in their system, they are also prohibited from driving with marijuana in their system. This is true whether the person was using it medicinally or recreationally.
Even carrying it in the vehicle has specific rules as it must be in a sealed, child-resistant and odor-proof container. Passengers should not use marijuana while riding in the vehicle as this too can result in charges for the driver.
If a law enforcement officer stops a vehicle on suspicion of DUI, the driver must submit to a field sobriety test or chemical testing when asked to do so. Refusal is a charge on its own and the driver’s license will be suspended independent of whether they were under the influence.
When a driver’s license is suspended based on a field sobriety test, the driver can challenge it within 90 days. Perhaps the officer did not have reasonable suspicion that the driver was operating the vehicle or was in physical control of it while under the influence. It can also be questioned whether the driver refused to submit to the test or admitted to having used marijuana.
Any DUI charge can be fought
Like alcohol-related DUI, there are myriad consequences that can result from a conviction including lost driving privileges, fines and jail time. There are, however, strategies that a person can use to try and fight the charges, reduce them or avoid a conviction altogether.
With the holiday season in full swing, people will be attending events and parties with family and friends. There is a likelihood that they will have alcohol or marijuana available to them. Law enforcement is increasing its presence and initiating a crackdown to catch people allegedly driving under the influence over the holidays.
Those who are arrested and charged should understand how to assess the case and craft an effective defense with guidance from those who are keenly aware of how prosecutors and law enforcement pursue convictions.