As more states are beginning to legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use, law enforcement organizations across the United States are struggling to address the possible increased prevalence of people driving while intoxicated. Whether a state has legalized marijuana or not, driving under the influence (DUI) of any alcohol or drugs remains against the law. However, tools to accurately and immediately measure whether someone is intoxicated by drugs like marijuana are currently unavailable in most states.
Testing for Impairment
States like Colorado and California have begun using mouth swabs and blood tests mouth swabs and blood tests to determine whether or not an individual has marijuana in their system. Mouth-swab devices can test for the presence of several drugs, including marijuana and cocaine. If drivers refuse to be tested using a mouth swab, they may be required to submit to a blood test, which will determine if the chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is present in the driver’s blood. THC is the main chemical present in cannabis.
While law enforcement officials believe these tests will help them combat driving while intoxicated by marijuana, scientists maintain that such tests do not actually determine impairment and that it could be difficult to use these “quantitative measures” in court. Unlike alcohol, THC can often linger in a person’s body for days or weeks after the consumption of marijuana, and the length of time the chemical is present can vary wildly depending on a person’s gender, their amount of body fat, the type of marijuana they consumed, and the method they used to do so.
In Illinois, a person can be charged with DUI if they have at least five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, or 10 nanograms per milliliter of any other bodily substance. Currently, police departments in the state do not have any reliable roadside tests which can detect the presence of marijuana, so drivers who are asked to take a test should politely decline to do so until they can speak to an attorney.
Contact a Will County DUI Defense Lawyer
In Illinois, the repercussions of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are severe, and they include the revocation or suspension of your driving privilege, fines, and even jail time. If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated by marijuana or alcohol, our Joliet criminal defense attorney will aggressively fight against the DUI charges and work toward getting your driver’s license reinstated. You can contact our firm by calling 815-740-4025.