Marijuana laws are changing drastically in the United States in general and Connecticut specifically. However, while marijuana use is now legal in Connecticut, this does not change the legality of operating a motor vehicle while under the effects of marijuana. Just because marijuana is legal does not mean that driving under the influence of marijuana is legal. The same is true for alcohol. To learn more about the marijuana DUI laws in Connecticut and what to do if you are charged with marijuana DUI in Windsor, read on.
Alcohol DUI vs. Marijuana DUI
A marijuana DUI conviction exposes the defendant to numerous potential penalties, including jail time, fines, license suspension, and other consequences. However, it should be noted that it is more difficult to prove a marijuana DUI than an alcohol-related one because the blood alcohol content (BAC) test is ineffective in this situation. Due to the lack of ability to use a BAC test, states have developed their own ways of proving when someone is under the influence of marijuana while operating a vehicle.
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Most often, the officer will suspect a person of being under the influence of something and will determine it not to be alcohol through a BAC test. At this point, they will call upon a drug recognition expert (DRE) to determine if the person is impaired by some other substance.
To become an officer qualified to do this, they must pass a specific type of training. The test that they use to determine if a driver is under the influence of drugs, which is 12 steps, is a thorough physical examination. Implied consent is applied to BAC tests, but it also applies to these physical examinations. It should be noted that police cannot use the smell of marijuana in and of itself as a pretense to these examinations.
The procedure applied by the drug recognition expert is a 12 step analysis that includes interviewing the driver and the arresting officer, conducting a physical examination, administering divided attention tests, and requesting toxicological tests. After gathering this information, the DRE will determine if the driver is under the influence of drugs and what drugs those might be.
While marijuana is legal, recreational use does not change the legal status of driving under the influence whilst driving on public roads. There are currently low numbers of officers trained in this type of detection, however, this is radically changing, since marijuana recently became legal.
Marijuana DUIs have the same punishments as alcohol-related DUIs. As such, it is imperative that one in this situation have adequate representation. If you find yourself in this position and face a Windsor marijuana DUI, call Lady DUI today. We can answer your questions, provide additional resources, and make sure that your rights are protected.