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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.

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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).

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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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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?

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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.

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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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