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States Assessing the Impact of Legalization of Marijuana on DUIs and Other Crimes

While the use of marijuana is legal in many states throughout the nation, it has not been permitted for long, and the effects of the legalization of marijuana have only recently begun to be apparent. For example, Washington reporters recently assessed the consequences of the legalization of marijuana and laws regulating the use of marijuana, noting that there are pitfalls to prosecuting marijuana DUIs, and that the legalization may not have had the impact on crime rates that was anticipated. Illinois recently decriminalized the use of marijuana, though the law will not go into effect until 2020, and the results of decriminalization are likely to be the same as those experienced in Washington.  If you live in Illinois and were recently charged with a marijuana-related DUI, it is prudent to meet with a skillful Illinois DUI attorney to discuss your case.

Crime Following Washington’s Legalization of the Use of Marijuana

It is reported that Washington allows a person to be charged with a marijuana-related DUI if the person is impaired or has a whole blood THC level of 5 nanograms or higher. It appears that many prosecutors and law enforcement officers are dismayed by Washington’s current 5 nanogram limit, stating that it places pressure on them to produce test results at a trial arising out of a marijuana DUI charge, but blood tests are not administered in each case. Further, many people do not want evidence of marijuana-related impairment used as a basis for DUI, but would rather stick to the defined blood level. Marijuana is not processed the same way as alcohol, however, so testing methods that work for alcohol may not work as well for marijuana. Thus, entities in Washington continue to pursue more accurate tests.

The article also noted that not accounting for a decrease in marijuana-related arrests, crime rates in Washington did not change after marijuana was legalized. Further, there was no reduction in black market sales of marijuana. As such, studies regarding the effect of the legalization of marijuana on criminal activity were being pursued as well.

Illinois Marijuana DUI Law

Recently, the governor of Illinois signed into law the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, legalizing the use of marijuana for people who are at least 21 years old. Drivers are still barred from operating a vehicle while impaired due to marijuana, however. Specifically, a person can be charged with a DUI if he or she operates a vehicle despite being unable to do so safely due to the use of marijuana. Moreover, as in Washington, a person who drives in Illinois with a whole blood THC level of 5 nanograms is presumed to be impaired under the law. If a person’s THC blood level is under 5 nanograms, evidence of his or her THC blood level may be considered as evidence regarding whether the person was impaired due to marijuana.

Speak with a DUI attorney

Although the use of marijuana in Illinois is no longer illegal, drivers can still face DUI charges arising out of the use of marijuana. If you are charged with a marijuana-related DUI offense, it is prudent to speak with a seasoned Illinois DUI attorney to discuss your case and what defenses you may be able to set forth. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC is a diligent attorney who will work tirelessly to help you strive to protect your rights. You can contact Mr. Harvatin at 217.525.0520 or through the form online to set up a confidential and free conference regarding your charges.