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Tallahassee Criminal Attorney > Blog > Criminal > Scientists Have No Reliable Test For Marijuana But Prosecutions Continue

Scientists Have No Reliable Test For Marijuana But Prosecutions Continue


Depending on what state you live in, you can legally possess and use marijuana but still face prosecutions for DUI. While this is not surprising, there is no accurate scientific test to determine if someone is inebriated and unlike heroin or alcohol, marijuana will stay in your system for days or months if you are a regular user. It is therefore possible to cause an accident a week after the last time you smoked marijuana, get blood tested at the hospital, and show a positive tox screen for marijuana. It doesn’t prove that you’re high, but in states that have per se marijuana DUI, it can be used to convict you nonetheless.

Today, scientists are scurrying to develop a reliable test for marijuana inebriation. While some states have implemented such tests, the prevailing science states that there is no reliable test to determine if someone is “too high” to drive.

Today, such testing is underway, but marijuana is trickier than alcohol. Those tested showed varying levels of inebriation and no reliable determination could be made. Nonetheless, you may not drive while high on marijuana in Florida or any other state.

How much marijuana is too much? 

Can you smoke 1 joint in 1 hour and then go drive? How about 1 joint in 2 hours? We have a great deal of knowledge of how alcohol is processed by your system and how long it takes to absorb. The information is good enough to work across multiple body weights and produce standardized results. This makes alcohol DUIs easy to prosecute. All a prosecutor needs is evidence that your BAC is over .08 and you are likely facing DUI charges.

There is no such standard for marijuana use and attempts to develop one are failing. This has resulted in some states forestalling legalization until there is a useful measure in place. However, there may never be a useful method to determine how high someone is other than by interacting with them.

Meanwhile, prosecutors did not always have breathalyzer tests and science to determine if someone is drunk. Instead, they used circumstantial evidence to establish that an individual was too drunk to drive. However, this could result in juries coming up with different results given the same information, and it often does. Often, an individual’s ability to beat a marijuana DUI comes down only to their willingness to fight the charge.

Marijuana DUIs have created a problem for law enforcement in states that do not have per se marijuana DUI laws. In those states, the convictions could end up vacated since lawfully-abiding citizens are facing DUIs with no real evidence or means of defense.

Still, a lawfully abiding citizen in a bad accident could end up getting their blood drawn and face a DUI charge because of marijuana they smoked over the weekend.

Talk to a Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney 

Facing a marijuana-related DUI charge? Call Tallahassee criminal lawyer Luke Newman, P.A. immediately before accepting a plea or saying a word.



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