One of the popular misconceptions concerning marijuana DUIs is that they have different penalties than alcohol-based drunk driving charges, especially in light of the substance’s decriminalization. What many do not know is that marijuana DUIs are the same as traditional drunk driving charges. Cannabis is a controlled substance. It is still a DUI if it is marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, or prescription medication. The potential penalties for marijuana DUI charges are the same as they are for a regular driving while intoxicated charge and there are no enhancements for cannabis.
The only difference is that in an alcohol-based DUI case the person is going to have a breath test or a refusal to take a breath test. In a driving under the influence of marijuana case, you may be subjected to a blood test or urine test. If you have been charged with driving while under the influence of marijuana, call a skilled drug DUI lawyer that can help. A West Palm Beach marijuana DUI lawyer could strive for a positive outcome for you.
Prosecution of Marijuana DUIs
In marijuana DUI based cases, the prosecution may need to prove that a person is under the influence of marijuana at the time they were driving to the extent that their normal faculties were impaired. In this situation, the accused could potentially refuse testing because the testing is often used as proof of impairment. However, there could be other consequences to doing so. A person should hire a West Palm Beach lawyer that could use their knowledge and experience to dispute marijuana DUI charges.
How the Decriminalization of Marijuana Can Impact DUI Charges
Cannabis laws have changed now that Palm Beach County has decriminalized minor amounts of marijuana. Decriminalization of cannabis means a person is allowed to possess and smoke marijuana in certain amounts and with certain conditions and restrictions. It does not mean just because it is decriminalized that a person is allowed to drive under the influence of it. The decriminalization of marijuana does not affect a person’s potential to be charged with marijuana DUI because this drug still impairs a person. Whether or not the person is legally prescribed or legally in possession of it does not mean that a person is allowed to drive under the influence of it.
It is at the officer’s discretion whether or not to arrest someone for possession of marijuana under 20 grams, give the person a summons to appear for possession of Marijuana under 20 grams, or give the person a non-criminal citation for possession of cannabis under 20 grams, which carries a $100 fine. There is very little use of the non-criminal ordinance. The Palm Beach County Sheriff has stated that it is still state and Federal law that marijuana is illegal. In West Palm Beach, marijuana is still considered to be illegal in any quantity whatsoever and it is not legal to be in possession of this drug.
Evidence of Impairment by Cannabis
The evidence in a marijuana DUI case would be either a blood test or a urine test, showing that there is a presence of cannabis in the person’s body. An alcohol case would have to show a breath test or a refusal to take a breath test to show that there is alcohol plus the officer’s observations of the owner or alcohol. If there is evidence of marijuana DUI, the person is in possession of this drug or in possession of paraphernalia that can be used or had been used for the consumption of marijuana, it would also be evidence used in an impaired driving case besides the blood test score and/or a urine test. An attorney in West Palm Beach could help someone dispute evidence of a marijuana DUI.
Importance of Working With a West Palm Beach Marijuana DUI Attorney
If you have been charged with a marijuana DUI you need to hire a lawyer who is familiar with the pharmacology of this drug, how it affects the body, how it affects the brain, how it affects the ability to drive or not drive, and with whether or not it impairs the person. It is also important to work with a lawyer who understands not only the pharmacology of marijuana but how marijuana is processed through the body.
They need to know how it is ingested, how it goes from a smoke form or an edible form, how it goes into your blood from the lungs or the digestive system to the brain, how it is filtered out by the kidneys and eliminated in the urine, and how long the effects of that marijuana would affect you. A West Palm Beach marijuana DUI lawyer could possess this knowledge and use it to build a solid defense for you.