Marijuana DUI

Even though it is socially acceptable to consume marijuana and it is now legal in Connecticut, driving under the influence of marijuana is still illegal. If you are suspected of marijuana DUI, the police may have a drug recognition expert come to the scene and conduct a drug evaluation. Learn more about this evaluation on this page.


In Connecticut, the laws on marijuana use are rapidly changing with respect to possession and use, but not as it relates to operating a motor vehicle. This is because Connecticut law does not distinguish between legal and illegal substances for a DUI. It is instead focused on intoxicant substances, regardless of legality. You can learn more about the East Lyme marijuana DUI here.

Marijuana DUIs may result in numerous penalties, including but not limited to jail time, fines, license suspensions, probation, community service, and other consequences similar to alcohol-related DUIs. Where the difference lies is with the testing, as there is no standard scientific way to determine impairment like there is with the blood alcohol content (BAC) for alcohol. Further, the ways we can test through blood and urine are inaccurate. This is because marijuana stays in the body far longer than its intoxicant nature lasts. Therefore, Connecticut has created a physical examination, to be performed by certain police officers, that is intended to determine if a person is under the influence of marijuana when driving in towns like East Lyme.

Getting Pulled Over

These encounters typically develop wherein a police officer observes a motor vehicle infraction and pulls the person over. After pulling the driver over and speaking to and observing the driver, the officer becomes suspicious of a DUI due to bloodshot or glossy eyes, slurred speech, or confusion when answering questions. The officer will, at this time, request that the driver submits to field sobriety tests. If the driver submits to a BAC test, but the results do not match up with the officer’s suspicions, the officer may then request the presence of a drug recognition expert (DRE) who is trained to detect for intoxication of marijuana.

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In Connecticut, the training to become a drug recognition expert is called ARIDE, or Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement, and once completed, allows the officer to do the physical exam, and have their assessment enter into evidence in a criminal proceeding or DMV hearing. The implied consent law applies to these physical examinations, and refusal will result in an automatic license suspension with the DMV.

This process is ever-evolving and being refined continuously, but it’s generally a 12 step process. This process begins with the DRE speaking with the arresting officer and doing a preliminary investigation. From there, they will conduct a breath test, examine the pulse and eyes, administer a divided attention test psychophysical test, a vital signs check, a second pulse check, a second pupil exam, and an examination of the muscle tone, and check for injection marks before doing a third pulse check. From there, the DRE will get a statement from the suspect, request a toxicology examination, and finally make a determination about the driver’s impairment.

Protecting Your Rights

Despite marijuana use being socially acceptable, the use while driving is not, and the punishments are just as severe and have just as many implications on one’s life as any other DUI. To achieve the best outcome for your situation, it is best to be represented by an East Lyme DUI defense lawyer who has worked with marijuana DUIs before. Our staff can help, simply contact us for more information.

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