Marijuana is becoming more problematic as well as prescription medications because people are freely operating under the assumption that they are allowed to legally take them. In reality, they are allowed to take their prescriptions. They are allowed to take marijuana if they have the medical marijuana card.
That’s not going to stop them from being charged with DUI. People don’t seem to understand that. We are seeing a lot more medical marijuana cases. We are seeing a lot more medication cases.
The Defense Is Different for a Drug-Related Charge
It’s the problem with people that are doing what they are supposed to do, they are doing what they are allowed to do, but they can still get pulled over if they do anything wrong.
If there is any sort of weaving or swerving when they are driving, the officer will always attribute that to marijuana as opposed to a pothole in the road, or someone looking at their cellphone or changing the radio station.
They are always going to attribute it to whatever medication you are taking and that’s where the problem comes in. Now all of a sudden you are charged with a DUI.
What is difficult both for the clients and their attorneys is that there is no complete safe harbor. Impairment from a drug is a different defense than a charge of impairment from alcohol.
A Drug-Related DUI Will Result in Two Charges
If you have any drug or metabolite in your system, you are charged with two counts. It’s two or more ways that a prosecutor can try to prove the person guilty at trial.
Under count one they will allege that the person was driving and that their ability to drive was impaired to the slightest degrees by the consumption of illegal drugs or use of prescription medications.
Under count two, they will allege that someone was driving with a drug or medication that was not being taken as prescribed or was not prescribed at all.
Having a prescription and using it as prescribed, is a defense only to count two of DUI. The count one of being impaired to the slightest degree can still go forward even though the person was taking their medications as prescribed.