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Marijuana, Driving and Breath Testing Needs

Nov. 14, 2016

Florida motorists may be extremely familiar with the concept of blood alcohol content, which can be quickly evaluated during a stop on the state’s roadways. BAC levels and testing methods have become rather uniform throughout the nation although the consequences for driving over the legal BAC may vary from one state to another. With many states addressing marijuana use through legislation and public votes on medical and recreational use, the need for intoxication standards is becoming more urgent. Unfortunately, THC levels in marijuana users may not be as easy to monitor.

Minimum THC levels have been designated in numerous states, but some criticize them because they are reportedly arbitrary. THC metabolites can remain in the system for weeks, which could create a presumption of impairment in an individual who is no longer experiencing psychological or behavioral symptoms of impairment. AAA suggests that an evaluation of these behavioral issues would be more appropriate for identifying impairment. The creation of a breath test for marijuana could aid authorities with assessing those suspected of impaired driving, and a California company reporting its development of such a device may soon fill that gap after theproduct is tested.

Even with a viable option for testing THC through breath samples, states will need to establish standards similar to those used in filing drunk driving charges. Further, those legally using marijuana for recreational or medical purposes in one state could face legal consequences in another because of strict metabolite restrictions.

If an individual is charged with DUI related to drug use, legal assistance could be crucial for contesting the matter. A lawyer might address issues such as the type of testing used to make a determination of impairment. Factors such as a client’s lack of prior offenses might be used to support an argument for the reduction or dismissal of charges in some cases.