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If you're one of the many, many drivers recently charged with a marijuana DUI, you may be wondering if there is any way to challenge it.
Maybe you thought cops were just looking for drunken drivers, and you could sneak by undetected by just smoking a little weed. Or maybe you were like Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell and didn't even know you could even get a "DUI for being high."
Either way, with the relaxing of state marijuana laws, coupled with more police awareness regarding the symptoms of stoned driving, drugged driving arrests are on the rise. So here are three challenges unique to the marijuana DUI scenario that may apply to your case:
1. You Weren't Too Stoned.
Colorado law, like Washington state, permits recreational pot consumption, but prohibits driving while high. Like Washington, Colorado sets a legal limit for marijuana at 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. But unlike Washington, Colorado allows drivers to contend that the amount of pot in their system didn't impair their ability to drive.
It remains unclear exactly how a defendant would prove that the marijuana had not impaired his or her driving. One possibility would be pointing to the actual record, if there was no bad driving cited in the ticket. Or you could potentially point to the fact that you successfully performed a series of sobriety tests while stoned. Or you could try to challenge the underlying science that links THC blood levels to bad driving entirely.
2. You Weren't Stoned at the Time.
THC has a different life-span in a person's system than alcohol, often taking days or even weeks before it exits the bloodstream completely. A marijuana DUI defendant could conceivably argue the presence of pot in his or her blood sample was from days or even weeks ago, and had no discernible impact on his or her driving.
3. That Test Saying You're Stoned Is Wrong.
While alcohol tests for drunken driving have been around for decades and survived numerous legal and scientific challenges, the tests for driving while high are relatively new. Police have only recently begun using cheek swabs at DUI checkpoints and marijuana breathalyzers are currently in development. Thus far, these tests haven't been put to the test in court, and could be subject to several legal challenges.
But it may take an experienced DUI lawyer to know exactly how to challenge the tests, as well as give you the best advice on how to handle your marijuana-related DUI case.