Although marijuana laws have changed in recent years throughout the United States, these changes have not extended to the operation of a vehicle while using or under the influence of marijuana. This is because marijuana is considered an intoxicant, and Connecticut law only concerns itself, with regard to DUI charges, with if a substance is intoxicating, not if it is legal. This is the same for alcohol. While consuming alcohol is legal in Connecticut for those over 21, driving under the influence is still illegal. You can learn more about Cheshire marijuana DUIs and their consequences here.
Marijuana DUIs may result in the same punishments that a person faces for an alcohol DUI. This includes prison time, fines, license suspensions, community service, and probation. Where the difference lies between alcohol and marijuana DUIs is with detection. This is because, ultimately, there is no breathalyzer test for marijuana detection, and urine and blood tests only determine if marijuana has been used, not if it was used prior to driving, actively influencing the driver, and thus an illegal act.
DRE Examinations and Marijuana DUI
Typically these situations come about when a police officer has pulled someone over for a driving infraction, and upon interacting with the driver, becomes concerned that the driver is intoxicated. If it is suspected that the person is on drugs, the officer will request the presence of a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) who has passed the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE), who will be asked to perform an examination of the person.
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The physical examination currently consists of a 12 step process. This process starts with the DRE speaking with the arresting officer and determining why they think the driver is under the influence of drugs. This is followed by a preliminary investigation. At that point, the DRE will conduct a breath test, examine the driver’s pulse and eyes, administer a divided attention test, administer a psychophysical test, conduct a vital signs check, a second pulse check, a second pupil exam, and an examination of the muscle tone, then check for injection marks before doing a third pulse check.
From there, the DRE will request a statement from the suspect, request a toxicology examination, and finally make a determination of impairment. This determination is admissible as evidence against the defendant in a DMV hearing and in criminal court. It is important to note that one need not partake in the physical examination by politely declining, but that implied consent does apply to this examination.
Although the laws on marijuana have changed as it relates to use and possession in Cheshire and Connecticut as a whole, it is still very much illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana. The penalties associated with a marijuana-related DUI are quite severe and are best handled by a legal professional. To speak with a marijuana DUI defense lawyer, contact Lady DUI today.