Can You Be Charged With A DUI For Driving Under The Influence Of Marijuana?
All motorists know that driving while under the influence of alcohol is against the law, and that a conviction comes with serious penalties. However, when it comes to driving under the influence of marijuana, too many people are still confused about the issue. Getting behind the wheel while impaired is always against the law, regardless of the substance that caused the impairment. Contrary to what many people believe, law enforcement agencies do have methods to determine if someone is driving under the influence of marijuana. Below, our Monroe DWI & DUI lawyer explains more.
How is DUI Defined in Louisiana?
A DUI refers to “driving under the influence” while a DWI means “driving while intoxicated.” In Louisiana, both are the same criminal offense. According to state law, a person can be charged with a DUI or DWI if they operate a vehicle and any of the following apply:
- They are under the influence of alcohol,
- They have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater,
- They are under the influence of a controlled substance listed in Schedule I through Schedule V, or
- They are under the influence of legally obtained drugs, such as a prescription medication
It is important to note that although medical marijuana is legal in Louisiana for certain individuals suffering from specific ailments, it is still against the law to drive after consuming it. Medical marijuana can cause impairment, just like recreational cannabis, so driving under its influence is against the law.
What Must the Prosecution Prove for a Drugged DUI?
It is a misconception that law enforcement agencies do not have ways to determine if a motorist is under the influence of marijuana in the same manner they can with alcohol. In order to secure a conviction, the prosecution does not have to prove that there was a certain amount of THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, in a driver’s system. They must, however, prove that the defendant was impaired by marijuana at the same time they were operating a vehicle.
There are many types of evidence that can prove a drugged DUI. The arresting officer may also include certain observations made at the scene. These include unusual behavior, slurred speech, red or bloodshot eyes, and slow reflexes. After an arrest and once the accused is at the police station, a law enforcement officer may also administer a blood test that can detect THC in a person’s system.
Even though police officers do have tools that can help them determine if a person is impaired, this evidence can be challenged. For example, THC can remain in the blood for up to 12 hours. As such, a person may be charged with a drugged DUI even if they consumed marijuana the day before.
Our DWI & DUI Lawyer in Monroe Can Help You Beat Your Charges
Being charged with a drugged DUI is very scary. Fortunately, our Monroe DWI & DUI lawyer at Whiddon Criminal Defense can prepare the strong defense necessary to help you beat your charges and retain your freedom. Call us now at 318-387-2776 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.