With so many states legalizing recreational marijuana usage and California considering it in the next election, state governments around the country are struggling to find a better way to test for DUIs related to marijuana usage. As it stands right now, police can only use a blood or urine test to determine if someone has been using marijuana and these tests can’t confirm whether the person was actually high while driving. While we have covered these issues before, we felt it was only right to cover the development of new marijuana intoxication tests from the perspective of a North County DUI defense attorney.
We expect California to pass the legal use of recreational marijuana. Hopefully, the state can come up with a scientifically valid test and bright line rule for determining a marijuana DUI. The problem with the current system is the determination of whether someone is driving marijuana impaired is left to the subjectivity of the arresting police officer. One thing that makes marijuana-related DUIs rather complex is that unlike alcohol, California doesn’t have a legal limit of how much marijuana you can have in your system while driving. This means the prosecution must actually prove that you were under the influence of the drug at the time you were behind the wheel, which can be particularly difficult when an Oceanside DUI lawyer demonstrates how long marijuana stays in your system compared to how long it actually makes you high.
Even in states with legal limits though, like Colorado, police and prosecutors are still finding it difficult to prove whether or not someone was driving while intoxicated. That’s why police are experimenting with new tests that may provide insight as to how recently the person used the drug. In the case of a new marijuana breathalyzer tool, the results are particularly promising as they can tell if the user still has smoke residue from the drug in his or her mouth or lungs. Unfortunately, the test can’t detect the use of edibles, which tend to make users more intoxicated and also provide a much longer high. As of right now, the test is still too new to know if it will be subject to many of the same problems seen on a regular basis by San Marcos driving under the influence attorneys.
Another technology police are experimenting with involves using a cheek swab that will test the saliva for the presence of drugs. This test is promising because it also can detect other drugs in a person’s system. Police are trying to use the test on the field to determine its usefulness, but unsurprisingly, few people are consenting to the swab -particularly those who are driving while under the influence. Even so, the success of the program will be evaluated in March and it will be interesting to see how the results turn out.
If you have been accused of driving under the influence of marijuana or if you have any questions about the law related to this crime, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation with top Carlsbad DUI defense lawyer Peter M. Liss.
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