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Drugged Driving Arrests May Rise

Posted on May 9, 2014 in Criminal Defense, Drugs, DUI/DWI

Marijuana use has become legal in some states for recreational and medicinal purposes. The increasingly relaxed attitudes towards marijuana nationwide mean that more people will smoke marijuana or consume products with cannabis. While this can be a very good thing for people with medical problems, and while decriminalizing marijuana means far fewer people with ruined lives due to minor drug offenses, it has also created some concerns. The issue of drugged driving, for example, is getting a lot more attention. 

Laws against driving while impaired prevent not just drunk driving but also driving under the influence of both legal and illegal drugs. This means if you are impaired by marijuana when behind the wheel, you could be arrested.  Unfortunately, however, it can be really difficult for police to tell if you are actually stoned at the time of your arrest. The result is that police will sometimes drug test you based on suspicions and you could test positive even if you used marijuana days or weeks before the time when you were tested.  Even though the test does not show when you actually consumed the drugs, it can still be used against you to prove drugged driving.  

With law enforcement still grappling with ways to deal with an alleged increase in drugged drivers on the roads, many people who are not actually impaired while behind the wheel may end up finding themselves facing criminal charges. You need to consult with a New Orleans DUI attorney as soon as possible if you are arrested for drugged driving so you can defend yourself or deal with the charges in the best manner possible. 

Drugged Driving Arrests and Marijuana Use

The New York Times recently published an article on the problem of driving under the influence of marijuana. The article opened with the information that it is really hard for police to tell whether someone is impaired by pot at the time when that individual is pulled over.

When someone is suspected of drunk driving, the police will generally conduct field sobriety tests including walking a straight line from heel to toe; standing on one leg for 30 seconds, and following a pen with your eyes as it moves back and forth. These standard field sobriety tests are reported to catch as many as 88 percent of drunk drivers. However, the tests are not nearly as accurate at spotting a driver impaired by marijuana.  In fact, one study showed that just 30 percent of people on marijuana failed the field test and another suggested that only 50 percent of frequent smokers failed. 

THC levels have to be tested from blood and urine, which can return a positive result days or weeks after the actual use of marijuana.  Just six states actually have legal limits for how much THC can be in someone’s blood, while the rest have laws that say any detectable amount of TCH in the blood can be used as evidence of impaired driving.

This can be grossly unfair, especially in light of the fact that some studies suggest that using marijuana does not cause nearly as significant an increase in accident risk as alcohol. 

If you are arrested for drugged driving, you have the right to defend yourself and you should take advantage of that right, especially if you weren’t actually impaired at the time. The New Orleans criminal defense law firm of Bloom Legal can help you, so call as soon as possible after your arrest.  

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