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Guidance For Illinois Drivers On Marijuana And DUI

Posted on in Criminal Law

Guidance For Illinois Drivers On Marijuana And DUIIllinois' new law allowing citations instead of jail time for the possession of small amounts of marijuana also offers clarity to drivers who are allowed to use medical marijuana. We have previously discussed that under Illinois law, a driver with any amount of marijuana on his breath, urine, or blood, could be charged with driving under the influence. This was a problem because the active chemical in marijuana, THC, can be detected in a user's system even 30 days after use. Long-term users of marijuana can test positive after longer periods of time following their last use.

The new Illinois law softens the zero tolerance policy on marijuana and DUIs. Police officers will be now able to arrest a driver for DUI if the driver tests positive for five or more nanograms of THC in his blood or 10 or more nanograms in his saliva. Like with alcohol, the levels of THC in a person's blood or saliva still detectable after a period of time depend on the person and their metabolism. Generally, a saliva test for THC can detect the chemical for up to 24 hours after use. It is, therefore, difficult to use a blanket guide of how soon after using medical marijuana a driver can be charged with DUI. As with a driver whose blood alcohol content is above the legal limit, if a driver exceeds the legally allowed levels of THC in his system, a conviction for DUI may result even without evidence of impaired driving. This aspect of the law remains the same as under the zero tolerance law previously applicable. The safest course of action to avoid a DUI when using medical marijuana would be to avoid driving immediately after smoking or consuming any item laced with marijuana. If the traces of THC found are above the legal limit, it is unlikely that a defense of medical use of marijuana would prevent a conviction. The penalties for DUI remain unchanged, and a first-time offender can receive a minimum of a one-year license suspension and up to a year imprisonment. For an aggravated DUI, a driver can receive up to 12 years in prison. In addition, failure to submit to alcohol or marijuana testing when arrested for a DUI can lead to a driver having his license automatically suspended. Contact Us For Legal Assistance A DUI arrest can have a serious impact on a person's life. Even if you have a medical marijuana card and can use marijuana legally, Illinois DUI laws may apply to you. If you have been arrested for a DUI, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney handling your case. For a free consultation, reach out to our passionate Crystal Lake DUI attorneys and let us assist you with your case. Sources: http://www.livescience.com/24553-what-is-thc.html http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-illinois-marijuana-decriminalzation-0730-20160729-story.html
Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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