Marijuana DUI

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in the state of Connecticut, more and more marijuana DUIs are being charged in Guilford and throughout the state. Detecting high driving is a different process than detecting drunk driving. We discuss this process and how you can protect your rights on this page.


Marijuana laws have changed drastically in the last few years throughout many states, including Connecticut. However, just because recreational marijuana is now legal in Connecticut does not mean that you can drive under the influence of marijuana. Driving under the influence of any substance that is deemed an intoxicant, whether it is legal or illegal, is illegal. Punishments for driving while intoxicated by marijuana in Guilford are similar to those experienced if it was an alcohol-related Guilford DUI. Find out more on this page.

Testing For Marijuana

The manner in which marijuana DUIs come about is similar to those of an alcohol DUI, in that it is typically a motor vehicle infraction, like speeding, that begins the encounter. From there, the police officer claims a reasonable belief in the intoxication of the person driving. At this point, the differences between the two types of DUIs becomes necessary, because marijuana cannot be detected by a blood alcohol content (BAC) test like alcohol can. Sometimes the officer will ask to administer a BAC test when they are unsure of what substance the person is on, and if it comes back negative for alcohol, they will then turn their attention to drugs.

Marijuana can be tested in the blood and urine, but this is unreliable to some extent because marijuana typically stays in the system far longer than the time when the affects would be felt. So, cannabis may be found in a person’s body, but they may not have consumed cannabis for days or even weeks, and it may not actively be impacting their body. Determining if someone was actually high when driving a vehicle can be different than finding marijuana in their blood or urine.

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DRE Examinations

Due to this, Connecticut law has created certain qualified police officers, known as drug recognition experts (DREs), who have passed certain training, to do a test on the driver to determine if the person is under the influence of marijuana. This training is called the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement training, and it allows the officer’s observations to be admitted into evidence.

The process used by the drug recognition expert is evolving and being refined continuously, but right now, it is a 12 step process and is a thorough physical examination. The process begins with the expert officer interviewing the arresting officer. From there, a breathalyzer test may be administered if that has not already been done. If the BAC test is negative for alcohol, there is a preliminary examination and a pulse check.

After that, the DRE will conduct an eye examination, a divided attention psychophysical test, and then they will check the vital signs and do another pulse check, then they will examine the person’s muscle tone, check for injection marks, do a third pulse check, talk with the suspect, request a toxicological sample like blood or urine, and then make a determination of the person’s impairment.

Getting arrested for a marijuana-related DUI in Guilford is a serious situation to find yourself in, and as with other arrests, it is always in the person’s best interest to have a lawyer representing them in these matters. To speak with our team about your situation, contact us today.

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