What you need to know about Marijuana and DUI Laws

All States have laws for drunk driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol, commonly referred to as DUI, as well as for impaired driving, or driving under the influence of drugs or controlled substances. DUID or Driving Under the Influence of Drugs is a lesser common offense as compared to drunk driving, but the laws laid down are able to get a number of individuals caught and arrested for impaired driving, or under the influence of drugs. Marijuana DUI charges also come under this, and can lead to an arrest if the driver is significantly impaired or fails the field sobriety tests.

Marijuana, also known as Pot, Mary Jane, Chronic, Weed, Cannabis, Dope or Buddha etc. may impair the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle properly, and most states follow a Zero Tolerance policy for MJ. Unlike alcohol, which can be checked using breathalyzers and recording the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) at the time of arrest, levels of marijuana can only be checked through a blood test or through a urine test. THC or delta-9-carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinal is a breakdown product of marijuana which is slowly released into the blood and excreted into the urine as a waste product once the body metabolism starts. Levels of THC can be traced in a persons blood and urine for an extended period of time, sometimes for days, as they are slowly released by the body fat. The actual effects of marijuana usually last a couple of hours, but THC may still be present in the blood and urine of the individual even after several days or weeks. This however does not necessarily mean that the individual was “under the influence of pot” or was driving high at the time of arrest.

How THC levels vary after using marijuana?

When a person smokes marijuana, the THC levels in the blood rise quickly as THC gets rapidly transferred into the blood stream once inhaled. Depending on the dose, THC levels typically reach peak levels within 5 to 10 minutes after inhalation, going up to 100 ng/mL in some cases, which then rapidly decrease to as low as 1 ng/mL to 4 ng/mL in the next three to four hours. Studies have shown that in some cases, the THC levels may vary around 2 ng/mL even after 24 to 48 hours after smoking a single joint. Exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke may also cause a non-smoker to show traces of THC in their blood or urine, which could also get him/her in trouble for driving under the influence.

No matter which state you are caught in while being under the influence of marijuana, you can face harsh penalties as most states follow a zero tolerance policy for driving while “high”. The officer can ask you to blow in the intoximeter, carry out a field sobriety test, or ask you to give a blood, saliva and urine sample. Sobriety tests are performance-based and are meant to measure the behaviour of the driver, including their reaction time and alertness. In the case you fail a test, you will be arrested and charged with DUI, and you will need legal consult like DUI attorneys or DUI lawyers to help you get out of trouble. Hiring a qualified and experienced DUI lawyer in the state you have been charged in is the best thing to do.

Author Bio:

Richard Jacobs is a chief editor since early 2007, and he currently works for www.myduiattorney.org. A webiste that helps you to find the right DUI attorney, you can search for a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer or a San Diego DUI Lawyers online, anytime!