The state of Illinois passed several new laws that went into effect on January 1, 2020. One of these laws made it legal for Illinois citizens who are 21 or older to use recreational marijuana. However, there are certain restrictions that apply to the use and possession of cannabis, including limits on the amount of the drug a person can possess. If a person does not follow the law, he or she can face criminal charges. In addition to these concerns, cannabis users should be aware of the potential for arrests for driving while under the influence (DUI) of marijuana.
Illinois DUI Laws
While a person may be charged with DUI if they operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, drivers can also face DUI charges if they are impaired due to marijuana use. In addition, people must transport the drug in a sealed container that is not accessible while the vehicle is in motion.
If a police officer stops a motorist and suspects that he or she is under the influence of marijuana, the officer may administer field sobriety tests. If the driver fails or refuses these tests, he or she may be placed under arrest and taken to the local police station for chemical testing of blood or urine. If a driver who used marijuana has a THC level of 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of blood, or 10 nanograms per milliliter or higher of another bodily fluid, he or she can be charged with DUI. Under certain circumstances, THC can remain in a person’s body for weeks or even months after use. This makes testing for a cannabis DUI complicated, since the drug does not pass through the body in the same way as alcohol, and there is no industry-accepted version of a breathalyzer for marijuana.
A Cannabis DUI Success Story
Recently, an Illinois man who consumed cannabis and drove later that day was stopped by the police and charged with DUI. Because the man did not consume any alcohol before driving, he agreed to submit to field sobriety tests as well as a blood/urine DUI kit, which showed that he had cannabis in his system. It is important to note that Illinois motorists have the right to decline to complete any field sobriety or breath tests offered by the police.
The man sought representation from the Anderson Attorneys & Advisors. Upon consultation, he agreed that the best thing for him was to proceed to a trial before the judge. Our attorneys argued that despite the fact that cannabis was found in the defendant’s system, the prosecutor failed to show that the drug made him incapable of driving safely. That is, the prosecutor was unable to prove that his alleged bad driving and actions at the time of his arrest were due to marijuana in his system. The judge agreed, and as a result, the defendant was found not guilty of DUI, allowing him to keep his driving privileges intact.
Contact a DuPage County Marijuana DUI Defense Attorney
It is illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even though recreational marijuana use is now legal in Illinois, it is important to understand the details of this new law and the potential consequences of driving after using cannabis. As the above example shows, Anderson Attorneys & Advisors have proven experience in successfully defending clients against DUI charges related to cannabis use. Our diligent Wheaton DUI defense lawyers are skilled at building strong defenses against many types of criminal charges. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 630-877-5800.