Marijuana laws have changed rapidly in Connecticut over recent years, with marijuana now becoming decriminalized and recreational use legalized. These changes in the law have necessitated changes in marijuana DUI detection and arrest as well. Marijuana, though legal, is now viewed very similarly to alcohol with respect to operating a motor vehicle. Marijuana is classified as an intoxicant, and therefore a danger to oneself and others if consumed before operating a motor vehicle in Danbury, Connecticut.
Facing Danbury Police
Typically these encounters begin with an arresting officer pulling over a person for something along the lines of speeding, driving on the white or yellow line, or some other common infraction. Once pulled over, the officer comes into direct contact with the driver and becomes suspicious that said driver is under the influence of something.
The most commonly observed phenomenon reported by police officers include blurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and the inability to communicate well or answer questions, at which point the officer will administer a BAC test. If the person has consumed alcohol, the BAC will inform the police officer of this. If the BAC does not read alcohol in the bloodstream, the officer may require an officer that is a drug recognition expert to observe the driver.
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Marijuana DUI Penalties
The punishments that result for DUI for marijuana are the same as those for alcohol, including license suspension, mandated classes, fines, and jail time. However, the main difference lies in detection. Due to the different manner in which alcohol and marijuana react in the body, it is much harder for the government to prove a marijuana DUI because marijuana use cannot be determined by a Blood Alcohol Test, like alcohol, because it is not alcohol and it does not reside in the blood in the same manner as alcohol does. Further, alcohol use is often subjectively easier to determine than marijuana use, and there is a less practiced and systemic manner in dealing with or determining this form of DUI.
The assessment that is implemented by the drug recognition expert is an evolving 12-step process that includes conducting a breath test, interviewing the arresting officer, conducting a preliminary examination and pulse check, conducting an eye examination, as well as a divided attention psychophysical test, checking vital signs, then re-examining the pulse and pupils, examining muscle tone, checking for injection marks and taking a third pulse check, then getting a statement from the suspect, determining the level of impairment, and finally requesting a toxicological examination such as urine, blood, or other fluid.
The training in Connecticut to become a drug recognition expert is the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) training which allows the drug recognition experts’ opinions to be sued as evidence for DUIs or license suspensions. Due to the large subjectivity of this test, which includes checking the person’s blood pressure, body temperature, pulse rate, and pupil size, the police are not permitted to rely on the mere odor of marijuana for probable cause.
While marijuana has been legalized, driving under its effects remains illegal. Although there are currently few drug recognition experts, and the test is still evolving, people are being arrested for marijuana-related DUIs, and the aforementioned makes it more imperative that you obtain an attorney who has worked with this area of the law before. Call Lady DUI today to speak with an attorney and get your questions resolved.