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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:

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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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DuPage County DUI defense attorney, driving impairment, marijuana DUI, Illinois DUI, DUI chargeAs marijuana becomes increasingly mainstream, legal questions arise. Although nothing has come to pass as of this writing, Illinois may become the next state to legalize recreational marijuana usage. 

In March 2017, two state lawmakers introduced legislation to both the House and the Senate which would make it legal for adults over the age of 21 to possess, grow, and purchase pot. If this occurs, or if you qualify for the already legal medicinal marijuana, or even if you are one of those who enjoys the recent decriminalization of small amounts of the substance, questions about impairment and driving come to mind. What constitutes DUI marijuana

Stoned Driving Laws 

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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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thc marijuana laws in illinois, DuPage County DUI defense lawyerIllinois has made significant strides toward more sensible marijuana regulations. Governor Quinn signed SB 2228 into law in 2016. With the signing of that bill, for the first time in Illinois, the courts did away with the "zero tolerance" policy regarding the operation of a vehicle while having Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a person's system.

The way the law operates today is comparable to how the state regulates drinking and driving. In contrast to the way the old law worked where any presence of THC in a person's system was enough for a marijuana DUI conviction, the law now considers a tiered-based system. For example, the law mandates that someone is not allowed to operate a motor vehicle with more than 5 ng of THC per ml of blood or 10 ng of THC per ml of any other bodily substance.

Is Buzzed Driving the Same as Stoned Driving?

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