While in many states, the use of marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes is legal, a person may nonetheless be charged with a DUI for operating a vehicle while impaired because of the use of marijuana. The police must have grounds to arrest a person for a DUI, though, and it is unlikely that mere possession of marijuana is sufficient. This was demonstrated recently in Houston, where a driver admitted to possessing marijuana when he was pulled over for speeding tragically collided with another vehicle after he was stopped, killing a mother and three children. If you are charged with a DUI crime, it is smart to speak to a dedicated Illinois DUI defense attorney regarding your rights.
The Texas Accident
It is reported that a man in Houston was stopped by a police officer for speeding. The officer stated that during the traffic stop, he did not observe any visible signs of impairment. The driver did admit that he had marijuana, however, which he surrendered to the officer. Thirty minutes after he was stopped, he rear-ended a car at a high rate of speed. The woman in the car and her three children ultimately died due to injuries suffered in the accident. The driver was arrested, but it is unclear what charges he is facing. Authorities are reportedly testing the small amount of marijuana he relinquished, and the driver may face criminal charges pending the outcome of the testing.
Illinois DUI Charges Related to Marijuana Use
In Illinois, it is legal to use marijuana for recreational purposes. That does not mean, though, that there are no restrictions regarding its use. First, only adults are legally permitted to ingest marijuana for recreational use. Additionally, people who use marijuana and then drive may be charged with DUI crimes. Specifically, under Illinois’ DUI statute, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle while impaired due to the use of marijuana, and people who do so may face DUI charges.
Additionally, if a person’s whole blood THC level is five nanograms or more, he or she is presumed to be impaired due to marijuana use. For people with THC blood levels that are below five nanograms, however, their THC blood levels are merely considered evidence on the issue of whether they are impaired due to the use of marijuana. Regardless of a person’s THC blood levels, though, a police officer must have probable cause prior to stopping a person for suspected DUI or any other offense or asking the person to submit to chemical testing.
Confer with an Experienced DUI attorney in Illinois
Marijuana use is legal in Illinois, but people can nonetheless be charged with and convicted of marijuana-related DUI crimes. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is in your best interest to confer with a lawyer regarding your rights. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is an experienced Illinois DUI defense attorney who can inform you of your possible defenses and help you seek the best outcome possible under the facts of your case. You can contact Mr. Harvatin via his online form or by calling 217.525.0520 to set up a conference.