Despite marijuana laws rapidly changing in this country and state, it still remains as illegal as ever to drive while under the influence of marijuana (marijuana DUI). This is because marijuana is an intoxicant substance, and the Connecticut statutes on DUI do not make reference to the legality of a substance, similar to alcohol. Instead, the statute concerns itself with intoxicants of any nature, legal or illegal.
Also, marijuana DUIs in New Haven result in the same punishments as alcohol-related DUIs, namely, jail, fines, community service, probation, and ignition interlock requirements. You can learn more about New Haven marijuana DUIs on this page.
Determining Intoxication for Marijuana DUI Charges
These encounters begin with a police officer pulling someone over for a typical driving infraction, and upon dealing with the person, the officer becomes suspicious of intoxication. At this point, the officer will ask the person to submit to a field sobriety test. After the field sobriety test is where the difference from an alcohol-related DUI becomes apparent.
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This is because there is no blood alcohol content (BAC) reading for marijuana like there is for alcohol because marijuana does not contain alcohol. Further, marijuana use is hard to test for through urine or blood because marijuana stays in the system a lot longer than when it is ingested. Even if the effects are no longer felt, THC could show up in someone’s bloodstream or urine.
New training in Connecticut, called Advanced Roadside Impaired Driver Enforcement (ARIDE), trains police officers to become Drug Recognition Experts (DRE). This training allows these officers to do a thorough physical examination of the person, and their assessments are admissible as evidence. The implied consent law applies to the physical exam in the same manner as a breathalyzer does for alcohol. This examination is roughly a 12 step process and does take some time to administer.
The testing for marijuana is ever-evolving and being refined continuously, but it is currently a 12 step process. The 12 steps are; First, the expert will conduct the breath test, and then interview the arresting officer, followed by conducting a preliminary examination. Then the arresting officer will conduct a pulse check, an eye examination, a divided attention psychophysical test, and then check vital signs, including a second pulse check. The officer will then re-examine the pupils, examine the muscle tone, look for injection marks and take a third pulse check.
Finally, the officer will get a statement from the suspect, request a toxicological examination such as blood, fluid, or urine, and make a determination of impairment.
Marijuana being legal for personal use has enlivened the police to take note of people driving under the influence of marijuana and is causing the state to constantly refine its ability to catch those doing so. The punishments for driving under the influence of marijuana are just as severe and long-lasting as those for alcohol, and as such, one arrested for a marijuana DUI in New Haven should contact Lady DUI as soon as possible.