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Wheaton, IL cannabis DUI defense attorneyThe 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.  

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DuPage County marijuana DUI lawyerWhile medical marijuana became legal in Illinois in 2014, and despite the potential for future legalization of recreational cannabis, serious penalties remain in place for possession and irresponsible use of the drug. Here is a look at the various charges and punishments for a marijuana arrest in Illinois:

Marijuana DUI

Any person found to be under the influence of marijuana while driving can be charged with DUI, regardless of whether the individual is an approved medical marijuana card holder. In Illinois, a driver is considered impaired if they register a THC concentration of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood or 10 ng/ml of another bodily substance. Medicinal marijuana card holders suspected of impairment must submit to field sobriety testing or face driver’s license suspension.

A first-time DUI can result in a six-month license suspension, and that duration increases with any subsequent offense. Some DUI offenders are eligible to keep their driving privileges with a monitoring device driving permit, which can be negotiated with the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney.

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