Marijuana was legalized for recreational drug use in 2021 in the state of Connecticut. Since then, the police needed to make changes to how they attempt to detect drivers committing marijuana DUI. On this page, I will outline what you can expect if you are pulled over by the police and they suspect that you are driving under the influence of marijuana. Read on for more information about the marijuana DUI!
Marijuana and Impaired Driving in Connecticut
Even though marijuana has been legalized in Connecticut, this does not mean that driving under the influence of this substance is legal. Connecticut will rely heavily on Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) in order to determine what kind of drug a person is under the influence of. At this time, there are 54 DREs in Connecticut who perform evaluations of drivers after DUI arrests. The state plans to train more people to act as DREs now that marijuana is legal.
If you are pulled over and the police suspect that you are driving under the influence of marijuana, the initial procedure will be similar to that of an alcohol DUI stop. The police will ask you to perform the same standardized field sobriety tests that they ask those impaired by alcohol to perform. The thought process behind this is that marijuana can impair a person’s ability to follow directions. Such issues could be scored on field sobriety tests.
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If arrested for marijuana DUI, a person no longer has the right to refuse an evaluation by a DRE. DRE evaluations can also now result in driver’s license suspensions. While the smell of marijuana is no longer cause to stop or search a vehicle, the police will use other detection metrics, such as checking a driver’s pulse rate, blood pressure, and pupil size in order to determine if they could be impaired by marijuana.
The new laws also require that police are now trained in Advanced Roadside Impairment Driving Enforcement (ARIDE).
Protecting Yourself From a Marijuana DUI
We are entering an unprecedented time in Connecticut’s history, as marijuana has been legalized for the first time. Both police and the public will have to navigate these changes, new laws, and new training requirements. Even though you may not fully understand the new laws and what police can or cannot do, don’t let yourself be taken advantage of if you are pulled over. Remember that the police can no longer search your car just because they smell marijuana. You also do not have to say anything that might incriminate you or agree to taking field sobriety tests.
It is in your best interest to contact a Connecticut drug DUI attorney as soon as you can after you are pulled over. Even though marijuana was only recently legalized, my office has worked with many marijuana and drug DUI cases in the past.
We know what the police can and cannot do, and we can fight to have illegally obtained evidence thrown out of your case. We can also refute the claims that the police make as to your state of mind. Marijuana is not the only cause of red eyes, dilated pupils, or impaired judgement. My staff can provide other forms of evidence that may explain behavior that the police interpreted as being under the influence of marijuana. For more information, contact my office.