Can I be arrested for a DUI after using medical marijuana?
Marijuana, while still considered a controlled dangerous substance, has become more socially accepted across the United States in recent years. Atlanta passed a measure to decriminalize marijuana. The bill does not make marijuana legal, but it does give the Municipal Court the power to decline to put someone in jail or charge them if the person is arrested with a small amount of marijuana. Further, Georgia has authorized the use of THC oil for qualified persons. There are currently over 6,000 registered medical marijuana patients in the state.
Given these measures along with shifting public views on the use of marijuana, some Georgians may be under the impression that driving while high is no longer a major offense. However, DUI laws continue to treat driving while under the influence of marijuana the same as any other drugged driving offense. Those caught driving high could face serious penalties. Even further, tests for detecting whether you are under the influence of drugs remain inaccurate.
Blood Testing May Lead to False Positives for THC
If you are pulled over for erratic driving or another traffic offense and the officer suspects that you may have recently used marijuana, you could be arrested. Marijuana smells can linger in a vehicle for some time, or eye conditions can be mistaken to present as someone who is high. Unlike someone suspected of drunk driving, an easy Breathalyzer test does not exist which could prove your innocence.
Instead, those arrested while suspected to be high may be forced to undergo a blood test. The blood test offers quite limited results. It may show the presence of THC in your system, but it may not indicate when you used marijuana. You could therefore face a DUI charge simply due to the fact you used marijuana weeks earlier.
Medical Marijuana Patients Are Not Exempt From DUIs
Medical marijuana patients, even if they are using lawful THC oil, can still be arrested for consumption of the drug. While use of THC oil is lawful, if you are found to be driving while under its influence, you could be charged with a DUI. Medical marijuana is treated like any other drug, which can lead to a DUI if it impacts your driving ability.
There are several defenses you can raise to a marijuana related DUI charge, including contesting the blood test or the results of the field sobriety test. Contact a drug DUI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest to protect your legal rights.