The primary method of determining if someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol is through saliva, blood, or urine tests, which is known as the bodily fluid test. These tests can detect both alcohol and marijuana in one’s system. So if you are concerned about getting a DUI from alcohol or marijuana, you should understand the difference between each charge.
According to the DMV, all 50 states have now set .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as the legal limit for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI). For commercial drivers, a BAC of .04% can result in a DUI or DWI conviction nationwide. For those under 21 years old, there is a zero-tolerance limit; even the smallest amount of alcohol is grounds for a DUI or DWI arrest. DUI attorneys and DWI lawyers know the DUI and DWI laws of their state. Often they can lessen their clients’ fines or penalties.
A marijuana DUI charge will potentially be more severe than an alcohol DUI. The person accused will receive charges of drug use and possibly possession charges as well. The charges add up when there is drug charge involved. A marijuana DUI case could be tried as a felony if the defendant is accused of causing an accident that injures or kills someone.
Supporters of marijuana believe blood tests lead to wrongful convictions since the drug stays in your system longer than its effects last. The drug affects people in different ways. THC sticks to the fatty cells in the body. So it is easier for a smaller person to clean out his or her system than it is for someone larger. An officer trained in the Drug Recognition Expert program uses a 12-step test that includes questions and physical tests. One telling test: Officers put the suspect in a dark room and turn on the lights. If the person’s pupils don’t shrink, drug use is likely.
The consequences of a marijuana DUI could be probation, fines, license suspension, or even jail, depending on the state you live in. In Washington and Colorado, the legal limit of marijuana is 5-nanograms. But Oregon has no limit and instead relies on the officer’s observations.
Beware of offers such as a free drug and alcohol test. Nothing related to DUIs is free, except for maybe time spent in prison. A DUI conviction can affect your life in ways you may not be aware of, including loss or prevention of employment, higher insurance rates, serious financial setbacks, personal and family embarrassment, and having that conviction on your driving records for years―if not forever. You can find information on this issue at the Governors Highway Safety Association or at the DMV.
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