Arrested For Operating A Vehicle While Impaired By Marijuana?
It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle with any amount of marijuana in the bloodstream, regardless of whether the driver is affected by the marijuana.
This means a person could be guilty of operating while under the influence of drugs, even though the person used marijuana a week before getting in the car and did not drive while impaired.
Operating while impaired charges are very serious and, if you are charged, you may be subject to severe penalties. After a driving while impaired or a drunk driving arrest, contact an experienced defense lawyer from the Plymouth and Ann Arbor law firm of Aldrich Legal Services.
Michigan's Operating While Intoxicated Or Impaired Laws
Michigan's laws apply differently to drivers who are registered medical marijuana patients than it is to drivers who are not patients. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act protects registered patients from these laws. A driver who is a patient must be actually "under the influence" of marijuana to be in violation of the law. Simply driving with marijuana in the system is not illegal for a patient.
Rather, the prosecution has to prove that the patient's ability to handle and control a motor vehicle was visibly impaired due to the consumption of marijuana. For a couple reasons this is difficult to prove.
- First, marijuana does not impair drivers in the same manner that alcohol does. Government studies have found that concentrated levels of THC, the main ingredient in marijuana, do not correlate with impairment in the same way that concentrated levels of alcohol correlates with impairment.
- Second, the rate at which marijuana is absorbed in the bloodstream is not as predictable as the absorption rates for alcohol. Individual absorption rates can vary widely among people.
Michigan police officers have recently begun training as "drug recognition experts." These officers seek to detect and evaluate whether a driver is under the influence of drugs, including marijuana.
As Michigan voters legalized marijuana in the 2016 election, we can expect that some type of specific marijuana-impaired driving law will soon follow. That law will attempt to provide an objective measure for impairment caused by marijuana.
Call The Experienced Attorneys At Aldrich Legal Services
We stay up to date on the law and science of OWI defense. We will use our experience to represent you, whether you wish to proactively challenge the case against you or negotiate a plea deal. Contact Aldrich Legal Services for a free initial consultation today.