Can You Be Charged With DUI for Driving With Marijuana in Your System?
Across the country, more and more states are beginning to loosen the restrictions on laws surrounding the possession and use of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes. Currently, there are 33 states that permit residents with certain conditions to use marijuana, while only 11 states, including Illinois, allow recreational use of marijuana. Even though cannabis is legal for adults to possess and consume, many people do not know that you can actually be charged with a DUI if you get caught while driving while you are under the influence of marijuana. This can result in significant criminal penalties, so it is imperative to consult a skilled attorney to understand your defense options.
Cannabis and Illinois Driving Laws
With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21, some were concerned with how the change would affect existing DUI laws. However, the laws are clear that cannabis is included as a prohibited intoxicating substance, despite the reason for its use. According to the most recent Illinois DUI Fact Book, “A driver may not operate a motor vehicle while impaired by the use of cannabis, whether used medically or recreationally.”
Like alcohol, cannabis also has a limit for the amount of THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, present in your bloodstream while you are operating a vehicle. Just like the legal limit for your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent, the legal limit for THC is 5 nanograms per milliliter of whole blood or 10 nanograms per milliliter of another bodily substance.
Issues With Cannabis DUI Testing
There has been much discussion as to how THC-fueled DUI cases should be charged and prosecuted. When it comes to alcohol, the majority of people will be unable to safely operate a vehicle when their blood alcohol concentration is at or above 0.08 percent. Unlike in DUI cases that involve alcohol, everyone metabolizes THC at different rates and at different levels, producing widely varied effects and responses to the same levels of THC. This means that some people may feel intoxicated or unable to operate a vehicle safely when they have less than the legal THC intoxication limit in their system. Likewise, there are some people who may not even feel affected at all or may only feel a slight effect of relaxation when they have the legal THC limit in their system.
Contact a DuPage County DUI Defense Attorney
Being charged with a THC-related DUI is just as serious as being charged with an alcohol-related DUI and should not be taken lightly. Even just a first-offense DUI can result in misdemeanor charges, possible prison time, and a year-long driver’s license revocation. If you have been charged with a DUI, you should immediately speak with one of our skilled Wheaton, IL criminal defense lawyers. At the Davi Law Group, LLC, we will do everything we can to minimize the impact this charge has on your future. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 630-580-6373.