Medicinal Marijuana Users and the Risk of a DUI

 Posted on December 08,2015 in DUI

medical marijuana, DUI, Illinois criminal defense attorneyThe state of Illinois has issued 3,300 medical marijuana licenses to residents, and several medical dispensaries have opened up in suburban areas. But does a license to use free you from charges for driving under the influence? Right now, the answer is a bit hazy.

DUI Charges for Users Without a Registration Card

For marijuana users without a state-approved registration card, the law is clear: any trace of the drug in your system is grounds for charging you with a DUI. For registered users, the law is less clear. While driving the influence of any substance is dangerous, traces of marijuana can stay within a person’s system for days, or even weeks. This can make it very difficult to say if and when a licensed user is safe to drive. State legislators are hoping to set a legal limit, but to date, they have been unsuccessful.

Federal Regulators Refuse to Weigh In

Because marijuana use is still illegal on a federal level (even for medicinal purposes), federal legislators have not weighed in on whether or not a legal limit should be set for medicinal users. They have also refused to take part in determining what that limit might be. This places the responsibility back on a state level. Unfortunately, since a limit has yet to be established (and there are few, if any, cases on which to base their decisions), this creates a bit of an issue for registered users.

The Obscurity of Discretion

Although police officers often use discretion in alcohol-related DUI cases, the law balances it out with legal limits. This means that, even if an officer arrests you for a DUI, you could still be released from charges if your blood alcohol level is within legal limits. For medicinal marijuana users, the lack of limits means that discretion could be going unchecked. This could create a culture in which medicinal users are frequently charged with DUI crimes, even if they were not impaired at the time of driving.

Facing DUI Charges? Hire a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Are you facing DUI charges in Illinois? With more than 23 years of experience, and solely focused on providing strategic, aggressive criminal defense representation, Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law, can help. Call 847-253-3400 and schedule your free initial consultation with a skilled Illinois criminal defense attorney today.



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