Marijuana is now legal to use in the state of Connecticut and is becoming more popular in other states as well. However, just because marijuana is now legal does not mean that there are not restrictions about how and when you can consume it. There are restrictions on how much you can carry on your person as well as how much you can grow. In addition, you cannot consume cannabis in certain places, such as on school property. Finally, just because marijuana is legal does not mean that you can consume as much as you want and then operate a motor vehicle. If you are under the influence of marijuana and you are pulled over by the police, you could be arrested for driving under the influence. People face this issue in Derby and throughout the state of Connecticut. If you find yourself in this situation or want to prevent it, read on for more information.
Detecting Marijuana DUI in Derby
Just as when a police officer suspects a driver of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a police officer can make a traffic stop for motor vehicle violations and further investigate if the driver is under the influence of marijuana. The police need probable cause to pull the driver over, whether they suspect that they are under the influence of alcohol, a drug, or nothing at all. A stop may occur simply due to speeding or another traffic violation, and the officer then may suspect that the driver is under the influence once the vehicle is stopped and they interact with the driver. Bottom line – if you don’t give the police a reason to pull you over by obeying all traffic laws, you can likely avoid a marijuana DUI charge.
If a police officer does stop you and suspects that you are driving under the influence of marijuana or another drug, they can call in a drug recognition expert (DRE) to conduct an examination. Not just any police officer can conduct the DRE test, so if the police officer who pulls you over tries to perform this examination, you can ask if they are qualified to do so. Even if you do not ask right away, your lawyer can investigate this further on your behalf.
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The DRE examination is the marijuana alternative to the standardized field sobriety tests. These test are not accurate in detecting if a person is under the influence of cannabis. Therefore, if you “fail” this test but you are not under the influence of alcohol, make sure to discuss this with your Derby DUI defense lawyer. They may be able to get the standardized field sobriety test results thrown out of court.
Derby Marijuana DUI Penalties
The marijuana DUI penalties in Connecticut are the same as the alcohol DUI penalties. Potential penalties include fines, jail time, community service, probation, driver’s license suspensions, ignition interlock device requirements, substance abuse treatment, etc. The severity of these penalties will depend on prior offenses and the circumstances involving your DUI charge. For example, an arrest resulting from an accident that severely injured someone may be punished more severely than an arrest involving no accident.
In order to minimize the potential penalties that you face, one of the best things that you can do is hire a Derby DUI defense lawyer who has worked with marijuana DUI cases in the past. For additional assistance, contact our office. We are here to protect your rights.