In 2014, the medicinal use of marijuana became legal in the state of Illinois. State law also made a provision for these users that is supposed to protect them if they choose to drive while not directly under the influence. Are they really protected, though? Like all things, it really just depends. Some might even argue that medical marijuana users are at an even higher risk of being charged with a DUI. The following information explains, and it can help you understand what to do if you are facing such charges.
Driving Protection to Medical Marijuana Users? Not Quite
While, in theory, the Medical Cannabis Act gives you the ability to drive with trace amounts of the drug in your system (supposedly without the fear of litigation), reckless driving of any sort could put you at risk for a DUI. As an example, holding a registry card is not supposed to be considered enough to constitute reasonable suspicion. Yet, if you pair that registration card with running a red light (even entirely sober), the officer can cite reasonable suspicion and require you to complete a field sobriety test. Of course, passing the test should be easy, as long as you are not under the influence, right?
Actually, one news source had three people in a mall (all completely sober) take the field sobriety test. All three struggled to pass. When you pair that with the fact that the tests are only between 77 and 65 percent accurate in distinguishing the difference between a person who is intoxicated from a person who simply has poor coordination or is not feeling well that day, it places many legal medical marijuana users at a great risk for a DUI, regardless of whether or not they were under the influence at the time of their arrest.
Consequences of a DUI in Illinois
Illinois has one of the strictest DUI programs in the country, and that applies to driving under the influence of marijuana as well. Even on your first conviction, you are at risk for losing your license. You may also face other penalties, including possible jail time and fines. Further, conviction of a DUI goes on your record for life. So, even if you were to get another conviction five or ten years from now, that conviction would be considered in the sentencing for your second conviction, which carries even higher penalties than a first conviction.
Protecting Yourself from the Consequences of a DUI
If you are a registered medical marijuana user and have been charged with a DUI, do not simply accept the consequences. Instead, contact Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law. Backed by more than 25 years of experience and a track record of success, we have the knowledge and experience needed to aggressively represent you in your DUI case. We will seek to protect you from the consequences of a DUI conviction and will always pursue the most favorable outcome possible. Schedule your free consultation with our Arlington Heights criminal defense lawyer by calling 847-253-3400 today.
Client accused of burglary was acquitted due to our skillful cross examination of eye witness identification.
Client accused of causing the death of another while driving under the influence - Acquitted.
Client accused of first degree murder - Acquitted.
Client accused of embezzlement - Charges never filed.
Hundreds of Secretary of State hearings for Drivers License Reinstatement - Won.