What Other Methods Can Law Enforcement Employ To Detect Marijuana Use?
Another method that law enforcement can employ if they detect marijuana is to perform a search on the driver’s vehicle or request to search the vehicle to make a determination. There are also some physical tests that are a little bit different from those done by the DRE. Again, these physical oddities are not necessarily always prevalent, and there are other reasons for some of these things. But, by way of example, one of them is referred to as green tongue. Another might be different reactions to light and stimulants in the subject’s pupils.
If an officer performs a horizontal gaze nystagmus or vertical gaze, those responses are different than what you might see with alcohol. The reaction in the field sobriety tests can be different with alcohol or some other substance. Going through a 12-step examination would also be different compared to a standard alcohol investigation in the field.
What Are The Consequences Of Refusing A Chemical Test In A Marijuana DUI Case?
A person can refuse to provide a chemical test in a marijuana case or any other type of case that results in a DUI arrest. However, when a person first obtains their driver’s license in California, he or she agrees to the implied consent law. When you obtain your driver’s license, you are agreeing to provide a chemical test if you are ever lawfully arrested and 21 or over, or lawfully detained if you are underage. Thus, a refusal can result in a suspension of your license. That suspension can begin at one year, and it can go up from there if the person suffers from prior convictions. That “refusal” allegation can be imposed based on an “Administrative Hearing” with the Department of Motor Vehicles, or if admitted or found true during a criminal court case.
Does Chemical Testing For Marijuana Show The Level Of Impairment?
Chemical testing for marijuana does not show the level of impairment. Chemical testing for marijuana may show the presence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. However, there are three different forms of THC throughout the ingestion and breakdown of the components of marijuana, and not all necessarily show impairment. Another issue is that it depends on how the marijuana was ingested. Was it an oil? An edible? Or, was it smoked? Aside from all of those differences, simply determining through a blood test that THC is in the system does not equate or translate to impairment. We do not know, for instance, when that marijuana was ingested, and that can last in a person’s blood system for days. That does not necessarily translate to impairment, and the variance from individual to individual is enormous.
If A Blood Test Reveals THC In A Person’s System, Does It Mean They Are Impaired By Marijuana?
THC in a person’s system does not necessarily translate to impairment. Impairment is legally defined as a person who is unable to use the same care and caution as a sober person. Having THC in your system doesn’t necessarily lead to impairment because of the difficulties in determining when the THC was active and affecting the person’s mental and physical state, if at all. THC can linger in a person’s blood system for days, and that does not necessarily translate to impairment. Therefore, simply having the presence of THC in your system does not translate to impairment.
Can I Be Prosecuted For A Marijuana DUI If I Use Marijuana, But Not While Driving?
A person who uses marijuana on a daily basis doesn’t necessarily mean that if stopped, they will be prosecuted for marijuana. There needs to be a sufficient amount to show impairment, and that’s truly the defining factor in any type of driving under the influence case. In a DUI case, the person must be impaired to the point that they are unable to operate their motor vehicle with the same care and caution as a sober person. If someone uses small amounts of marijuana on a daily basis, that may not be enough to impair that person. Additionally, the person may build up a tolerance. And so, simply finding the presence of THC in a person through field sobriety tests, DRE examination, or otherwise does not signify that he or she is impaired.
The question of whether or not a person is going to be prosecuted is determined by the prosecuting agency, whether it’s the district attorney’s office or the city attorney’s office. Even then, the next question is whether a jury would actually find a person guilty, and that is heavily up for interpretation. If the daily use is a large amount, it would lead to a stronger presumption that the person is impaired when they’re driving, but a smaller amount on a daily basis may not necessarily translate to impairment. A good defense attorney with proper training should be able to present and exploit those issues to a jury.
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