Pop Quiz: DUI/DWAI And Marijuana

A new bill has passed the House that proposes changes to the drunk driving laws that are related to driving and marijuana, (DUI/DWAI.)   How much do you know about what the law currently says about driving and marijuana?

Q:  Is it currently illegal to drive with marijuana in your system?

A:  It depends. If the amount in your system makes you substantially incapable of safely driving or impairs your ability to safely drive to the slightest degree, then yes, it is illegal to drive.

The new bill proposes a change in the law that allows for an inference that a driver is substantially incapable of safely driving if the person has 5 nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of blood. The current law has no such bright line level.

Q:  If a driver has a valid medical marijuana card, is that a defense to a DUI or DWAI?

A:  No. Having a valid medical marijuana card is a defense to possession and/or consumption of marijuana, but it is irrelevant to whether the driver was under the influence or impaired by marijuana at the time of driving. Similar to alcohol, a person who is 21 or older may possess and/or consume alcohol, but it is nonethless illegal to drive while under the influence or impaired by alcohol. Likewise, the passage of Amendment 64 does not mean people cannot be charged with DUI or DWAI for marijuana.

The new bill does, however, indicate that a police officer cannot use the fact that the driver has a medical marijuana card as probable cause to continue their investigation. The police officer must have other evidence to support their continued investigation and request for the driver to submit to a blood test.

For questions about how this new bill may affect you, or if you are charged with a DUI, call us today for a free consultation.