The issue of driving under the influence of marijuana, can be confusing. This is because it is not illegal to have evidence of marijuana in the body while driving. It is only illegal if the driver is impaired while driving. Police officers and prosecutors may use this confusion against a defendant, and try to get them to plead guilty when they have a viable defense.
In many cases, if the police smell or suspect marijuana use by the driver, they will arrest them for driving under the influence of marijuana. Once arrested, the police will usually take a blood sample to test for THC. The problem with testing the blood for marijuana is that THC and associated metabolites can stay in the body for days or even weeks. A blood test may show positive days after marijuana consumption, long after any effects have worn off. Having a positive blood for THC does not mean the driver is impaired. If the driver was not impaired, then they should not be prosecuted for a DUI.
Marijuana DUI Charges
If the police smell marijuana in the car, even on the passengers of the car, they often assume the driver may be under the influence of marijuana. They will look for signs of impairment, like slurred speech even where there is no real evidence the driver is impaired. The officer will often have a driver conduct a number of standardized field sobriety tests. These are voluntary, and there is little benefit to submitting to field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are unreliable. When it comes to marijuana, there is no evidence that field sobriety tests are an indicator of impairment.
Like the police, prosecutors treat people charged with a marijuana DUI as guilty, even if they were not impaired. A driver facing a DUI charge, with evidence of a positive drug test may think there is no option but to plead guilty. However, a positive drug test is not evidence of impairment. This is why it is important to talk to an experienced Georgia DUI defense lawyer, who understands the science and law involved in marijuana DUIs.
Medical Marijuana DUI
Some lawmakers are working to make marijuana legal for medical use in Georgia, but currently, there is no exemption for medical marijuana. Any driver's caught under the influence of marijuana that they use to alleviate pain will be treated the same as a recreational marijuana user. Out of state drivers where marijuana is legalized for medical use will not be given special treatment by Georgia police or state patrol, and still face arrest for driving under the influence.
Marijuana DUI Defense in Georgia
If you have been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana in Atlanta, that does not mean you have to be convicted. Marijuana DUIs are different than alcohol DUIs. It is important to find a DUI lawyer who doesn't just do alcohol DUIs, but has experience with people charged with marijuana or drug DUIs. I have the training, courtroom experience, and skill to defend marijuana DUI cases, and a proven record of dismissed and reduced charges. Call me anytime, day or night, and I will fight to defend your rights.