With marijuana laws quickly changing in Connecticut, the reality of marijuana DUIs cannot be overlooked. Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating substance like marijuana is illegal. It can result in license suspension, fines, jail time, and other serious consequences. Though the effects of impairment from alcohol are usually more obvious and possibly more dangerous than those of marijuana use when it comes to driving, the laws and consequences of a marijuana DUI are very real.
DUID and DREs
In Connecticut, driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) is treated similarly to driving under the influence of alcohol. When the arresting police officer suspects a person of DUI, the officer usually pulls over the suspect for some type of driving violation. Then they will observe and assess the driver’s behavior, looking for clues of intoxication. The officer will then administer standardized field sobriety tests and continue to observe and assess the driver’s behavior.
One of the major differences between a suspected marijuana DUI and an alcohol DUI is that there is not a reliable breath test for marijuana. A police officer can administer a breathalyzer test if they suspect a driver of operating under the influence of alcohol, but there is no equivalent test to determine if a person is under the influence of marijuana. Because of this, the police officer can request a different type of test that would spot marijuana, such as a blood or urine sample. However, blood and urine samples vary greatly in accuracy and there are many factors that could impact the result of these kinds of tests.
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A new law in Connecticut requires that police be trained in a detection procedure called Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE). This new law allows drug recognition expert evaluations to be used as evidence for license suspensions and DUI cases. Similar to the breath test, there will be an implied consent law on submitting to a DRE evaluation. This is an evaluation by an officer trained specifically to evaluate how a suspect acts and reacts in field sobriety tests. The DRE evaluation includes many different factors that test the physical condition of the suspect.
Changes in Laws
The law for stopping and searching a vehicle is also changing in Connecticut. Police officers can no longer use the odor of marijuana as probable cause to make a stop and search a vehicle.
Though there is no nationally developed system for assessing whether a person is under the influence of drugs, Connecticut law has developed a systematic procedure. Under this drug evaluation process, the officer will follow a 12-step process to determine if a person is driving under the influence of marijuana.
Though the marijuana laws are changing in Connecticut, the procedures for detecting driving under the influence of marijuana are quickly catching up. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Waterbury or you have more questions about DUIDs, call Lady DUI to speak with an attorney.