Alcohol and Marijuana DUI's have a presumptive level of impairment, other drugs do not. This means that regardless of the level of drugs in the persons system, the prosecutor must show that the level effected their driving. This standard applies to both legal and illegal drugs, prescribed and non-prescribed. The State has studies and toxicologists that have written many papers about what levels start to impair someone's driving, but they rarely take into account tolerance. Similarly there are many Doctors that dispute the State relied upon research.
Because there is no presumptive level of impairment, these case are often complex. They boil down research vs. research, expert vs. expert, and lawyer vs. lawyer. To successfully fight a drug DUI you must have a lawyer familiar with DUI law, court procedure, and the science behind the State's case. There are many possible resolutions to a DUI allegation, but you have to have a skilled DUI attorney on your side to get those resolutions.
Being charged with a DUI is a serious allegation that requires the best defense. Whether this is a first time DUI charge, or you have multiple DUI's, the State is going to use its vast resources to prosecute you. Unlike many other crimes, DUI is extremely complicated, both legally and the requirements outside the legal system. You need a DUI attorney representing you from day one to navigate the court system, the Department of Licensing, and treatment centers.
Here at the Law Firm of Lucas D. McWethy we are a full service DUI firm. We represent you for the criminal charge of DUI, the Department of Licensing hearing should there be one, and we assist you in finding the right treatment center for your required evaluation. Having the right lawyer with you from day one can save you money, time, and give you the best chance at fighting you DUI.
With the legalization of Marijuana also came a legal limit for the THC in your system while driving. The legal limit for THC is 5 nanograms. Unlike alcohol, it is very difficult to determine how much consumption will equal 5 nanograms. It is highly dependent on your body type, metabolism, how you consumed the product, and the strain/potency of the product. Despite all this uncertainty, if the Officer draws your blood and the content is greater the 5 nanograms, the prosecutor can and will proceed with a DUI.
The law allows the prosecutor to charge you with DUI and provide evidence that you drove with a THC level of over 5 nanograms as shown by the testing that was done. The prosecutor does not have to show that you were high, driving awful, or otherwise under the influence; only that your blood test results were greater the 5 nanograms. If found guilty (and you have no prior DUI's), the law requires at least 1 day in jail (and up to 364), a 90 day license suspension, 1 year ignition interlock requirement, an alcohol and drug evaluation, and follow-up treatment. Marijuana DUI's are an area of the law that continues to develop. The State's understanding of the effects of different stains of marijuana, medical marijuana, and the actual level when driving is effected is extremely behind (especial when compared to alcohol). But the law stands, that 5 nanograms is all the state has to prove. This is why it is so important to not only have skilled DUI lawyer, but also a DUI lawyer that understands the nuance of marijuana law.
There are typically three types of alcohol DUI. All still equate to a charge of DUI, but have different requirements that the prosecutor must prove and different effects at a potential sentence. It is important to know the specifics of your charge in order to best fight it.
The first type is for when someone provides a breath or blood test over 0.08. The law allows the prosecutor to charge you with DUI and provide evidence that you drove with a breath or blood alcohol level over 0.08 as shown by the testing that was done. The prosecutor does not have to show that you were drunk, driving awful, or otherwise intoxicate; only that your breath or blood test results were greater the 0.08. If found guilty (and you have no prior DUI's), the law requires at least 1 day in jail (and up to 364), a 90 day license suspension, 1 year ignition interlock requirement, an alcohol and drug evaluation, and follow-up treatment. The best way to fight these allegations is with a skilled DUI lawyer who knows the law, the system, and how to get the best results.
The second type is for when someone provides a breath or blood test over 0.15. This allegation is similar to the 0.08 allegation in everything except that if you are found guilty or plead guilty, the penalties are worse. If found guilty (and you have no prior DUI's), the law requires at least 2 day in jail (and up to 364), a 1 year license suspension, 1 year ignition interlock requirement, an alcohol and drug evaluation, and follow-up treatment. If you have prior DUI's within a 7 year period, the penalties are considerably worse. The higher the breath or blood test results are, the more important it is to have a skilled attorney with you to protect your rights in the courtroom and to help you take the best steps outside the courtroom to put you in the best position.
The third type is for when someone refuses a breath or blood test. In these cases the prosecutor must show that your driving was effected by alcohol (or drugs, or a combination of both) to an appreciable degree. While refusing all test provides less evidence for the prosecutor to use at any potential trial, it also means the potential penalties are worse. The penalties are the same as a breath test over 0.15 (see above) except the license suspension is for 2 years.
In addition to the criminal allegation of DUI detailed above, there may also be a Department of Licensing action against your license. If you have been arrested for DUI you have 20 days from the date of arrest to contest the suspension of your license or will be automatically suspended for a duration determined by the DOL based on the allegation and your driving record. This 20 day time limit is typically set in stone and it is one of the many reasons it so important to contact a DUI attorney right away. You can find the form to contest your suspension here.