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Fighting a Marijuana-Related DUI Charge With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois, law enforcement officials throughout the state have increased concern over drugged driving. According to a study conducted by the American Automobile Association, approximately 14 million Americans admitted to driving while under the influence of marijuana in the past month. The concern from law enforcement is based on the fact that marijuana use can decrease reaction time and doubles the likelihood of a collision. Recognizing this concern, Illinois established a DUI Cannabis Task Force to take a deeper dive into drugged driving throughout the state. Still, the testing for marijuana use is somewhat controversial as it pertains to DUI charges. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, it is time to speak with an attorney. 

The Arrest Process and Chemical Testing 

In order for a DUI traffic stop to be warranted, a police officer must witness the driver violate Illinois traffic laws in some form or fashion. When the police officer begins speaking with the driver, they will immediately look for signs of inebriation. Signs of inebriation related to marijuana use include bloodshot eyes, drowsiness, and delayed reaction time. If the officer smells marijuana or believes that the driver is under the influence of marijuana, the officer will likely ask the driver to take part in field sobriety testing. If through testing the officer concludes that the driver is likely impaired, they will arrest the driver and bring them to the local police station. 

Once at the police station, the driver will be asked to submit to chemical testing. The most common forms of chemical testing in marijuana cases include blood, breath, and urine tests. While the refusal to take part in chemical testing is an administrative offense that will result in an automatic one-year license revocation period, the refusal does not constitute a criminal offense. A person will fail chemical testing if the test comes back positive for more than 5 milligrams of THC per milliliter of blood. 


How Legalized Marijuana Affects Your Driving Rights in IllinoisHere in the state of Illinois, marijuana will soon be both recreationally and medicinally legal. In other words, people can legally use marijuana products due to the presence of health issues or simply due to their desire for recreational use. While the legality of marijuana has prompted the Illinois State Police to establish a task force designed to look out for signs of marijuana-influenced driving, the legality of marijuana should not change the way DUI stops are handled by police officers. If you are charged with either a drug or DUI charge, it is time to seek out the help of a legal professional. 

Marijuana and DUIs

In Illinois, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana, whether it is medicinal or recreational marijuana. If you choose to utilize marijuana for medicinal purposes, you will enroll in the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program. Once you have been enrolled in the program, the department of health will give you a registry card and make a mark on your driving record that you are legally allowed to carry medicinal marijuana. 

Whether you are a medicinal or recreational user of marijuana, you must comply with Illinois state law. Most notably, you are only allowed to transfer marijuana in an odorless and childproof case. If an officer has reason to believe that you may be under the influence of marijuana, they will ask you to submit to either chemical testing or some form of field sobriety test. It is important to understand that it is not illegal for you to refuse to take part in these tests. While refusing after you are arrested will result in a license suspension of 12 months, refusal is an administrative offense, not a criminal charge, and thus will not show up on your criminal record. 


New Marijuana Law Will Have Little Impact on DUI Procedure With the national perception of recreational marijuana changing gradually throughout the United States, perhaps few were surprised when the Illinois General Assembly passed a marijuana bill last May, essentially legalizing marijuana for recreational users age 21 and older. With Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signing the bill into law, the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act will go into effect starting Jan. 1. While the new law is expected to bring in significant tax revenue and result in potential pardons for those previously charged with marijuana possession, it should have little effect on the way in which law enforcement officials view driving under the influence of marijuana. 

Driving After Marijuana Use

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act will drastically alter the landscape of recreational marijuana use statewide. Users will now be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana legally, and nearly 300 recreational marijuana stores could be established throughout the state by 2022. All that said, the law will not drastically change the way in which driving under the influence of marijuana is treated in Illinois. 

With a law already in place to stop people from driving after marijuana use, police will be on the lookout for impaired drivers. Drivers with THC blood concentration of five nanograms or more per milliliter will be found guilty of driving under the influence and face a Class A misdemeanor charge. The new law will likely lead to more roadside surveillance with Illinois State Police developing a task force to find the most accurate ways to roadside test for marijuana use. At this moment, the standard roadside procedures include:


Understanding and Reacting to a Drugged Driving Charge Thousands of people in Illinois are charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol each year. Earlier this year, the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill that will legalize recreational marijuana in the state. In other words, consumers will be legally able to purchase recreational marijuana as of January 2020. With the passing of the new bill, there will be a specific DUI task force established to decide how roadside testing will take place in order to test drivers for levels of THC. Below, we will examine what steps you need to take in the aftermath of a drugged driving charge.

Examine the Arrest Process

After your arrest, the first and most important step you can take is hiring a skilled and experienced attorney. Your attorney will help you establish a defense strategy while examining the arrest process for possible missteps taken by the law enforcement officials involved. According to Illinois state law, a driver can be charged with a DUI if they are tested with a THC blood concentration of five nanograms or more per milliliter. That being said, if an officer forced you to take part in testing without telling you about your right to refuse, the evidence gained from the test may be thrown out in court. While you will temporarily lose your driving privileges for refusing to test for drugs or alcohol, refusal is not a criminal offense. An officer must read you your Miranda rights if you are taken into police custody and questioned. Failure to notify you of your rights can result in dropped charges. Your ability to work with your attorney throughout the arrest process examination can make or break your defense case.

Understanding the Consequences

In Illinois, DUI charges come with the same legal consequences regardless of the substance used. If you fail a THC chemical test you will lose your license for a period of six months. That being said, your attorney can assist you in regaining your driving privileges by obtaining a monitoring device driving permit (MDDP). A second offense can lead to a mandatory one-year license suspension. Loss of driving privileges can drastically impact a person’s ability to maintain employment and live a high quality of life. If you are facing DUI charges, it is incredibly important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.


Illinois defense lawyerAlcoholic beverage drinkers can easily determine when they have drunk too much to drive. They can consult a simple chart that estimates blood alcohol concentration (BAC) based on gender, weight, and how many standard drinks they’ve had. Unfortunately, such simple charts do not exist for marijuana. So how can medical cannabis users know when they are safe to drive in Illinois and not get charged with driving under the influence?

Under current Illinois law, a THC level over 5 nanograms per milliliter of whole blood is per se (sufficient by itself) proof of marijuana DUI for most drivers. Illinois medical cannabis cardholders are exempt from the THC limit, but they can still be charged with DUI based on other evidence of impairment, primarily failure on the standardized field sobriety tests (walk-and-turn, one-leg stand, and follow-the-object eye test).

This article provides a basic explanation of how the body processes THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana associated with driver impairment, to help users understand how marijuana may affect their ability to drive.

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