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Understanding Drug Charges with New Illinois LawsWhile the state of Illinois’ stance on recreational marijuana use drastically changed when Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act into law last January, the state still has some strong policies against the use of marijuana. In reality, a serious drug charge can compromise one’s ability to land a good job, secure housing, or seek education advancement opportunities. If you or a loved one have been charged with a drug-related crime in the state of Illinois, it is time to speak with a criminal defense attorney you can believe in. 

Marijuana and Drug Charges in Illinois

Due to the new state law, an Illinois resident can legally possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower (marijuana). It is important to recognize that this does not mean that marijuana is legal with no contingencies. Possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana still constitutes a misdemeanor charge and potentially up to one year in prison. Possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana with intent to sell constitutes a felony charge and can possibly result in up to five years of jail time if convicted. It should also be noted that it is still considered an offense to smoke or consume marijuana on public property. 

With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana, police officers statewide have been ramping up the search for high drivers. Law enforcement officials are trained to look for signs of intoxication such as the odor associated with marijuana, bloodshot eyes, and signs of cognitive impairment. If convicted, a marijuana DUI charge constitutes a Class A misdemeanor, fines up to $2,500, and a one-year license revocation period. 


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. 


Can I Still Face Legal Trouble for Possession or Ingestion of Marijuana? Since the start of the new year, recreational marijuana use has been legal in the state of Illinois. When Governor JB Pritzker signed House Bill 1438, also known as the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana use and changed the landscape of marijuana distribution statewide. The law took effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and also made thousands of prior marijuana convictions eligible for expungement. All that being said, there are still a number of marijuana-related violations that can result in serious drug charges and legal ramifications. 

Possession and Use 

While it is now legal for people in the state of Illinois to possess marijuana, you must comply with the state guidelines. Adults over the age of 21 are legally allowed to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, edible products totaling no more than 500 milligrams of THC, and up to five grams of cannabis concentrate products. If you are a non-resident visiting Illinois, those possession limits are cut in half. Possessing more than 30 grams of marijuana can result in a Class A misdemeanor charge and up to one year in prison. It is also important to note that only licensed dispensaries are allowed to distribute marijuana. The illegal sale of marijuana can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges. One can also face fines for using marijuana in public areas, motor vehicles, or in the presence of minors. 

Marijuana and Motor Vehicle Operation 

With recreational marijuana use now legal in the state, law enforcement officials are now increasingly on the lookout for drugged driving. If you are tested with a THC blood concentration upwards of five nanograms per milliliter of blood, you will face a charge for driving under the influence of marijuana. Law enforcement officials have the right to request chemical testing if they have probable cause to believe you may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Signs of marijuana use can include drug paraphernalia, smell, and visible symptoms such as eye discoloration. A first-time DUI offender can face Class A misdemeanor charges and significant fines. 


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 DUI defense lawyerBreath testing for blood-alcohol content (BAC) has been the gold standard in DUI law enforcement for decades. However, with marijuana use on the rise, as well as concerns about opioid use, there is a clear need for faster and more accurate methods of testing for drug-impaired driving.

Illinois Law on Drug-Impaired Driving

Illinois law defines the offense of “driving under the influence” in seven distinct ways, using both subjective and numeric measures. In the broadest terms, it is illegal to drive under the influence of any combination of intoxicating compounds, alcohol, or other drugs “to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving.”

In addition to that subjective standard, Illinois also has established several measurable standards to facilitate enforcement of the law (625 ILCS 5/11-501).


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.


Illinois defense lawyerThe effect of alcohol consumption on the ability to drive safely has been studied intensely for over 60 years. Scientists have developed tests of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), including breathalyzers and blood tests, that are accurate enough to be fully accepted by American courts. Scientific studies have proven that alcohol impairment begins with the first drink; that the higher a person’s BAC level is, the more impaired their driving is; and that .08 is a level at which driving is so impaired as to pose a significant danger to public safety.

But when it comes to marijuana, such conclusive research does not yet exist. Yes, the level of THC, marijuana’s main psychoactive component, in the blood can be measured. But, different from alcohol, THC can be present in the blood long after its psychoactive effect has worn off. There is currently no test that can differentiate “active” THC that would impair driving from “inactive” THC that would not. Nor is there clear and convincing research showing what level of THC results in impaired driving, or widespread agreement on what the legal limit should be.

So how can Illinois arrest, much less convict, people of driving under the influence of marijuana?


Posted on in DUI Drugs

Illinois DUI lawyerDriving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of marijuana can cause serious injuries and even death if an accident was ever to occur. However, how each substance is measured is different. Individuals may use marijuana for medicinal purposes, but they still need to be aware of the potential dangers of driving after using the substance. Individuals are alarmed at what they find out about the dangers of driving after using marijuana.

What to Know About Marijuana Use and Driving

Three years ago, in 2014, there were about 7,000 individuals who started using marijuana or similar substances every day. During the weekend nights, as many as 13 percent of all drivers have some amount of marijuana in their system, compared to only nine percent of weekend nighttime drivers in 2007. Alcohol and marijuana are the two biggest contributors to drugged driving.


Oak Brook DUI defense attorney, marijuana affects drivingMuch of what we do while on the road can be categorized as distracting—talking, texting, eating. These are just a few examples of everyday occurrences that keep us from driving at our best. Media outlets and printed articles distribute the impact of these distractions to a broad audience. However, one less discussed modifier is marijuana, perhaps because it is a controlled substance.

Although marijuana is not legal recreationally at this point in Illinois, there are bills in motion aiming to legalize the substance for consenting adults. Many have concerns over how this will affect DUI Marijuana charges. Yet how do drugs affect our driving performance?

Marijuana Effects On Driving

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