To most people, “driving under the influence” means driving while drunk. But the truth is that there are other substances that can impair your ability to drive a car, and result in an arrest. And, with a handful of states making the choice to legalize marijuana, the debate has begun on whether driving while high should be considered the new DUI. Of course there are arguments on both sides of the issue, but until a definitive move is made on the part of the legislature it remains a difficult legal concept to grasp.

An article looking to distinguish differences between driving while under the influence of alcohol vs. driving while high made the following interesting conclusions:

  • Driving while high is no more likely to result in an accident than driving sober and without having smoked marijuana. Simply put, the existence of marijuana in a driver’s system had no impact on whether an accident was likely.
  • It is difficult for law enforcement to detect the existence of marijuana in a driver’s system while in the field.
  • The time frame alcohol remains in your system vs. how long marijuana can be detected upon testing is hugely disparate. Alcohol tends to leave the system in a matter of hours, but marijuana is more likely to remain traceable for days after smoking. This makes it hard to come up with a reliable conclusion about whether smoking and driving is hazardous, because a driver may not have smoked for a few days when an incident occurs.

The key in these types of cases is to make the prosecution prove that the driver was “impaired”. Because this is different with every person who smokes, given the different chemical make-up of each individual and the effect smoking has on a particular person, this legal standard may be nearly impossible for the prosecution to meet. If you have been charged with driving while high, call us to learn your options.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, call our office today. Contact us today schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. The first visit is a free initial consultation.