Have You Been Charged with DUI Because of Marijuana?
Illinois DUI (driving under the influence) laws specify how much of an intoxicating substance you can have in your system while driving. If you are charged with DUI – now or in the future – because you were allegedly impaired by marijuana, contact a Chicago DUI attorney at once.
Driving under the influence in Illinois includes driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, other street drugs like cocaine or heroin, and even prescription drugs that may impair your driving ability. Having a prescription or a recreational marijuana being legal in Illinois is no defense against a DUI charge.
How does the State of Illinois determine if you were driving under the influence of marijuana? What are the penalties for a marijuana-DUI conviction? And if you are charged with marijuana-DUI, how will a Chicago DUI lawyer fight in your defense?
How Does the State Determine if a Driver is Under the Influence of Marijuana?
In Illinois, adults over the age of 21 may purchase marijuana for recreational use from licensed state dispensaries. Marijuana users cannot smoke in public locations or while they are driving. However, there is no genuinely accurate way to measure a driver’s marijuana impairment level.
While the “legal limit” for alcohol is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 percent, the limit for THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, marijuana’s active ingredient) is 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms of THC per milliliter of another bodily substance.
Intoxication from marijuana peaks about 13 minutes after use and stays intense for only about 45 minutes, but THC can be detected in a user’s blood and urine weeks later. Frequent cannabis consumers will always have some amount of THC in their blood, whether or not they are high.
What is a Drug Recognition Expert?
How will the police decide whether or not to charge you with marijuana-DUI? When an officer stops a driver and suspects the driver is impaired by marijuana, a DRE (drug recognition evaluator) may become involved. A DRE is a law enforcement officer who has received specialized training.
DREs are trained to identify drivers who are intoxicated by drugs other than alcohol or in addition to alcohol. The International Drug Evaluation and Classification program trains police officers as well as toxicologists and prosecutors on drug identification, categories, and processes.
What Can Happen After a DUI Arrest?
After an arrest for suspicion of DUI, a DRE may examine a driver if that driver is suspected of drug-impaired driving. The DRE looks for a heightened pulse rate, dilated pupils, the odor of marijuana, short-term memory loss, and other signs of marijuana intoxication.
If an Illinois DRE determines that you were driving a vehicle under the influence of marijuana, you will be charged with DUI. However, the tests for driving under the influence of marijuana are relatively new and not as trustworthy as the breathalyzer and blood tests used for alcohol.
When Should You Contact an Attorney?
In or near the Chicago area, if you are charged with driving under the influence, call the offices of a Chicago DUI attorney at your very first opportunity. A number of defenses may be offered in a DUI case. Your attorney will offer the defense that is most appropriate in your own case.
In a marijuana-DUI case, your defense attorney may challenge the blood or urine test results or the officer’s conclusions about your level of impairment. Depending on the details of the case, other defenses – such as claiming that your rights were violated by the police – may also be available.
What Charges Can Impaired Drivers Face?
If no aggravating circumstances are involved, a first or second DUI offense in Illinois is charged as a misdemeanor. Third DUI charges are felony charges that may be penalized on conviction with a costly fine, a term in prison, and a driver’s license revocation.
However, driving under the influence may also be charged as a felony, even if it’s your first offense, if there were aggravating circumstances such as:
- You were at-fault for an accident that caused another person’s serious bodily harm.
- You drove under the influence with a suspended or revoked license or without any automobile insurance.
A DUI offender who is found guilty or pleads guilty must submit to a drug/alcohol evaluation and complete treatment. A DUI offender may also need to attend a Victim Impact Panel that emphasizes the consequences of traffic crashes related to DUI.
Can You Avoid a DUI Conviction?
Of course, the best way to avoid a conviction for driving under the influence is not driving at all. If you plan on drinking – or smoking marijuana – don’t drive. Arrange in advance for a rideshare service, a taxi, a designated driver, or a room for the night.
Still, if you make a bad judgment and you are charged with DUI, a Chicago DUI lawyer will bring your driving under the influence case to its best possible conclusion. The could mean going to trial and winning, negotiating amended charges. or may an agreement to receive court supervision.
In 2021, over 21,000 Illinois drivers were arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. Many of those drivers were innocent. If you were not guilty of DUI, the right attorney may be able to get the charges dropped, dismissed, or win at trial to avoid a criminal conviction.
How Should You Select a DUI Attorney?
If you’re placed under arrest and charged with driving under the influence in Lake, Kane, Cook, or DuPage County, contact Driver Defense Team as quickly as possible for the advice and defense representation you’ll need. We will make sure that you’re treated fairly by the court.
Your Driver Defense Team attorney will develop an appropriate legal strategy and fight to help you avoid a DUI conviction. If you are charged with marijuana-DUI or with another moving violation in the Chicago area, contact our law offices immediately.
You will receive personalized legal advice, and our team will review your case without any obligation or cost. If you become our client at Driver Defense Team, you’ll work directly with an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer, and we will fight effectively and aggressively on your behalf.