Marijuana use is legal now legal in the state of New Jersey, but users may be at significant risk for a DUI marijuana charge, even if they drive sober. Although legalizations is a historic milestone for proponents of medical and/or recreational marijuana use, the law hasn’t finished adapting to meet citizens’ new needs. It’s up to users to know their rights in advance.
Using Medical Marijuana Safely
First, it’s important to understand how to safely use medical marijuana. Listen to your doctor’s instructions carefully and follow dosages exactly. Although prescription drug abuse has always been a problem, there are plenty of political entities with their own agendas who will push any case of medical marijuana abuse into the limelight. Marijuana is much less dangerous than many other prescription medications, but it gets far more attention.
Make sure you base your consumption on your schedule, so you don’t have to operate any motorized vehicles while under your medication’s influence. It’s your right to take your medicine, but it’s your responsibility to drive safely. Taking doses in the evenings, after work, or on days off are usually the best choices for patients employed outside of their homes.
DUI Marijuana Laws
Unlike alcohol-related DUIs, there is still some debate over the specific rights and requirements involved in a DUI marijuana case. This is why it’s especially important to hire an attorney if a prosecutor tries to press charges. A lot of the confusion over marijuana-related DUIs stems from implied consent. If you drive a vehicle in New Jersey, you automatically give implied consent to be tested for alcohol by any officer that pulls you over. You don’t have the right to refuse these tests. However, there is technically no legislation explicitly stating that marijuana users have given implied consent.
There is not enough of a precedent yet for easy court cases, but a good attorney can still use these facts to your advantage. If an officer forces you to take a blood or urine test that shows marijuana in your system, your attorney can validly argue that you did not give consent for the tests, making the tests inadmissible in court.
Addressing Problems in the System
Even though is it now legal, marijuana is still a highly controversial issue. You must understand that local law enforcement and political entities may have agendas of their own when handling your case. Many have open biases against marijuana users, and this could constitute a breach of your rights.
The problems don’t end there, however. Tests to determine if drivers are under the influence of marijuana are critically flawed. The chemicals they test for remain in the system for days or even weeks after marijuana use. This means that even if you are not high when operating a vehicle, you could still test positive. Paired with the problems in the system we discussed earlier, this puts people who use marijuana at a distinct disadvantage.
Your best defense will always involve an attorney. In complex DUI marijuana cases, attorneys are even more valuable, and the best will be ready to help make new precedents in New Jersey. Defend your rights, use your medicine, and stay safe.