One of the most common driving offenses in the state of Illinois is Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. In addition to DUIs written for those under the influence of alcohol, Illinois also prosecutes individuals who were Driving Under the Influence of Drugs. Though ‘drugs’ in this case includes many substances, there is special emphasis on cannabis. With Illinois set to legalize the use of marijuana in January 2020, let’s take a look at driving under the influence of drugs compared to driving under the influence of alcohol in the state of Illinois.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
Just like in cases of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, if a law enforcement officer believes you are under the influence of drugs, they may pull you over and request that you take Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). These tests “approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are divided attention tasks that are intended to determine if a person is under the influence of cannabis.” Individuals must be given the right to refuse these tests.
Additionally, there are blood tests that an officer may request an individual take. Again, everyone must be given the right to refuse these tests. Because of their sensitive nature, blood tests must be administered by an approved medical professional (e.g. registered nurse, EMT, etc.). The law states that “[i]f there was a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of 5 nanograms or more in whole blood or 10 nanograms or more in an other bodily substance as defined in this Section, it shall be presumed that the person was under the influence of cannabis.” However, even if tetrahydrocannabinol is under these limits but still present in the blood, it “may be considered with other competent evidence in determining whether the person was under the influence of cannabis.”
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
Those charged with a first or second offense of DUI of Drugs face a Class A misdemeanor, up to one year in jail, and a fine of up to $2,500. Three time offenders face a more severe charge of up to three years in jail and $25,000 in fines. A third offense is also considered a Class 2 felony.
These penalties can also become more severe if you are transporting individuals under the age of 16 at the time of the offense or if you injure another person while using your vehicle.
Strategies to Fight DUI of Marijuana Charge
In the past, when representing clients charged with Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, we have examined the details of their cases to ensure that law enforcement followed the proper procedures every step of the way. If a client was not given the right to refuse a drug test or the test was administered by a person not authorized to do so, it could be a detail used to defend you in court.
If you or a loved one is charged with Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, including marijuana, you are encouraged to contact an experienced defense attorney who can represent you in court. Contact Richard at Fenbert & Associates, LLC for a free consultation.