Marijuana DUI-Don't Be A Fish In A Barrel

If you ingest marijuana and drive a car you have a potential DUI along for the ride. What many folks don't realize is, that in many ways, you are at greater risk of getting a DUI for marijuana than for alcohol. Why? Because when it comes to marijuana and DUI, police have the power to arrest you with little or no cause. Cops don't have to prove you were over the limit, because there is no limit. Police have few rules limiting their power to arrest you for marijuana DUI.

The Murphy's Law of Pot DUI Arrests

Murphy's Law says "if it can go wrong it will go wrong". The Murphy's Law of Pot DUI is, "If a cops can arrest you, they will arrest you." Said another way, if you admit to, or are caught smoking pot and you are driving, you are DUI as far as the cop is concerned.

Arresting Smokers for DUI is Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel

Cops like to arrest people. That is what they do. If a cop stops you and she suspects you are DUI for alcohol , she has a boatload of rules and procedures that must be followed before she can arrest you. They must to give you a set of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, (SFST's) and then a chemical test is needed that gives a number. (0.08 or greater is needed to presume you are intoxicated). The chemical test must be given in accordance with standardized rules and procedures.

Not so with Pot DUI. You will be given tests and you will most likely be failed by the cop. Why are you too high to drive? Because the cop said so. Arresting drivers for Pot DUI is like shooting fish in a barrel for the police.

"Badges? We Don't Have to Show You No Stinking Badges" (from the movie comedy Blazing Saddles)

If a cop wants to arrest you for a pot DUI he simply needs to form the opinion that you are under the influence of marijuana and you cannot safely operate a vehicle. The cop's opinion will be the majority of the evidence against you. They will take a blood test from that will show you have THC (the cannabinoid), in your system. Of course pot is in your system. Unlike alcohol, pot can stay in your system for 30 days or more after it is last ingested.

There are more sophisticated tests available that can show the level of the THC in the body and how long has passed since pot was last ingested, however they typically use that test because it is expensive. Also, generally prosecutors don't care what level of THC is in your system because they often believe that all they need to convict someone is a positive test and the cop's testimony that you were too intoxicated too drive.

Even if a driver has a high level of THC in their system there is no established level at which a driver becomes impaired. Generally, alcohol affects all humans the same way, not so with pot. While there is much debate on the subject, simply being under the influence of pot does not inherently make you an unsafe driver. It doesn't matter to the cop. If they find or smell pot they are going to try and arrest you for a pot DUI. God forbid you admit to smoking that day. Cops don't have to have a THC limit. Cops don't have to have specific SFST's designed for marijuana, and they "don't have to show you no stinking badges"

Saint Christopher Protect Us, How Do I Keep From Being Falsely Arrested?

Saint Christopher is the patron Saint of travelers, so say a prayer if you're a smoker because there is no fool proof way to smoke and drive, but there are things you can do to make arrest for a pot DUI less likely.

1. Don't get smart with the cop. Keep your hands on the wheel until give further instruction. Don't tell the cop you "know your rights". Cops aren't fans of your rights.

2. Be polite but don't answer questions about when you last smoked, especially if you smoked that day. Remember you are not required to answer police questions. Be polite, tell them your correct name, produce ID, Insurance and Vehicle Registration.

3. Don't keep pot or pipes in the car with you, or partially smoked joints.

4. If you have a prescription card for pot keep it current and keep it with you.

5. If possible ask politely, (don't demand) that the SFST's be given to you in front of the police units dash camera. (unless of course you are actually too impaired to be driving.)

6. Do whatever is necessary to keep your vehicle from smelling like marijuana.

7. Generally do not consent to a search of your person or your vehicle. Cooperate with the police but don't give up your right to lawful search just because the police ask you. If they decide to search, they are going to search, so cooperate, but preserve your rights by not consenting. Police will often threaten to delay you or somehow harm your vehicle in the search if you insist upon a lawful search. Only you can decide if you want to give in to police pressure to abandon your rights.

What If I Am Arrested?

Call, Text, or e-mail our office immediately for a free consultation. Joe W. Whittington will use his knowledge and experience to protect your rights.