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Study Shows DUI Laws Based on THC Blood Levels are Irrational

With marijuana use becoming increasingly legal, laws have been enacted throughout the country that allows drivers to be prosecuted for DUI based on the levels of THC in their blood. A recent study illustrated that THC levels may not accurately reflect a driver’s level of impairment, however, and deemed the use of THC levels as the standard of impairment as irrational. Illinois is one of many states that imposes a legal limit on a driver’s blood THC levels and allows for the presumption that a driver with a blood THC level over the legal limit is driving under the influence. If you are an Illinois resident charged with a DUI based on your blood THC level, it is in your best interest to engage a knowledgeable Illinois DUI attorney to help you protect your rights.

Study Regarding THC Levels in Drivers’ Blood

The study, which was conducted in Canada, reported that there was no statistically significant relationship between a blood test that was positive for THC and driving behavior that contributed to collisions. The researchers analyzed over 3,000 accidents that resulted in injuries, in which the drivers were tested for the use of marijuana and alcohol. The researchers found that drivers who had a blood THC level of less than 5 nanograms did not pose an increased risk of causing crashes.

While drivers with a blood THC level of 5 nanograms or higher were slightly more likely to be deemed responsible for accidents, the researchers did not find the increase in the likelihood of accidents among such drivers to be statistically significant. By contrast, drivers under the influence of alcohol or sedatives were six times more likely to be deemed responsible for accidents. Ultimately, the study found that marijuana’s impact on driving ability is less significant than alcohol’s, and a driver can test positive for THC when they are not impaired. The study concluded, therefore, that it is irrational to assume a driver that tests positive for THC is impaired.

Illinois DUI Laws Regarding Marijuana

In Illinois, drivers can be charged with a DUI for driving while under the influence of marijuana. If a person’s whole blood concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is the active compound in marijuana, is 5 nanograms or more, there is a presumption that he or she is under the influence of marijuana. If a person’s whole blood concentration of THC is less than 5 nanograms, they are not presumed to be under the influence of marijuana, but his or her blood THC levels can be used as evidence that the person was under the influence of marijuana. As studies regarding the effects of marijuana use on drivers continue to be conducted, it may impact the status of Illinois’ marijuana DUI laws.

Consult a Trusted Illinois DUI Attorney Regarding Your Charges

As the use of marijuana continues to be decriminalized around the country, state legislatures are straining to determine how to regulate its use. This has resulted in marijuana DUI laws that may not accurately reflect how marijuana affects a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. If you are facing charges of DUI based on your use of marijuana it is vital to consult a trusted Illinois DUI attorney regarding the circumstances surrounding your arrest and what defenses you can argue. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, P.C. is a seasoned Illinois DUI attorney who will provide you with an assertive and effective defense, to help you seek a favorable outcome. Mr. Harvatin can be contacted at 217.525.0520 to schedule a confidential and free meeting regarding your charges.


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