As marijuana laws continue to change throughout the country, states struggle to keep up with determining how and when to criminalize marijuana-related impairment. While many states have laws that allow people to be prosecuted for DUI if they operate a vehicle while impaired due to marijuana use, others have laws that are more extreme. For example, in Pennsylvania, the mere possession of a medical marijuana card can result in DUI charges, which one legislator is trying to change. If you are accused of a marijuana-related DUI crime in Illinois, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney as soon as you can.
Pennsylvania’s Marijuana DUI Law
In Pennsylvania, lawmakers are expected to address a longstanding issue related to medical marijuana this fall. The question at hand is whether having a medical marijuana card automatically makes someone guilty of DUI. Over half a million Pennsylvanians hold a medical marijuana card, and many of them drive. However, there’s a concern that these individuals could be unfairly prosecuted for DUI even if they are not impaired.
Pennsylvania’s DUI law currently has a no-tolerance rule for operating a vehicle under the influence of any federal schedule one drug, including cannabis. This has led to police charging drivers with DUI simply for presenting their state medical marijuana card, even if they are not impaired.
In response to this issue, a Senator has reintroduced Senate Bill 363. The bill aims to remove the notion that every medical marijuana user is without a doubt an impaired driver. Instead, it proposes that impairment should be proven to establish a DUI.
Unlike alcohol, where there’s a clear blood alcohol test to determine impairment, there’s no definitive test for marijuana impairment while driving, such as for THC levels. Therefore, determining impairment is often left to standard field sobriety tests and police observations.
This potential change in Pennsylvania’s DUI law highlights the complexities surrounding marijuana-related DUI cases and the need for clearer regulations to protect the rights of medical marijuana users.
Marijuana-Related DUI Laws Under Illinois Law
Despite the legalization of marijuana for adults aged 21 and over, operating a vehicle while impaired by marijuana remains illegal under Illinois’ DUI law. According to this law, drivers with a concentration of five nanograms of THC per milliliter of whole blood or higher are considered legally impaired. However, even drivers with lower THC levels may face DUI charges if other evidence suggests impairment.
Unlike alcohol, where there is a clear legal limit for impairment while driving, there is no definitive standard for marijuana impairment established by science. THC levels in the body do not consistently correlate with the degree of impairment, making marijuana-related DUI cases more complex to investigate and prosecute. These cases often rely more on the subjective judgments of law enforcement officers.
For individuals accused of a marijuana-related DUI in Illinois, it is crucial to seek the assistance of an experienced DUI defense attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can assess whether proper testing procedures were followed and whether your rights were protected throughout the process. They can also challenge any unfair subjective assessments of impairment. Given the intricacies of marijuana-related DUI cases, having a strong legal defense is essential.
Talk to an Experienced Illinois DUI Attorney
People who operate a vehicle while impaired by any substance, including marijuana, can be charged with DUI offenses under Illinois law. If you are faced with DUI charges, it is wise to talk to an attorney about your options. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is an experienced Illinois DUI attorney who can inform you of your rights and help you to pursue the best legal outcome available. You can reach Mr. Harvatin at 217.525.0520 or through the form online to set up a conference.