A DUI marijuana charge is a new issue, and it’s already one of the most complex charges in the state of New Jersey. If you use medical marijuana and face a DUI charge, you will need an attorney to protect your rights. There is very little precedent available to influence cases, which is why it’s so important to secure expert legal assistance. Alcohol DUI charges may be similar, but there are enough differences to put DUI marijuana charges in a class of their own.
How Marijuana is Similar to Alcohol
Both alcohol and medical marijuana are legal in New Jersey. However, driving while under the influence of either can lead to DUI charges. Even though marijuana is legal to use medically and recreationally in New Jersey, it will still impair your ability to operate vehicles, and it’s the police force’s responsibility to protect all drivers from these hazards. The fines for a DUI rise with multiple offenses. Potential fines, jail time, and license suspension all increase with a second or third arrest.
How Marijuana is Different from Alcohol
Although the guiding principles of a DUI are the same for both alcohol and marijuana, alcohol has much clearer and more effective testing methods. These tests measure the alcohol still in the tested individual’s system. Marijuana testing relies on tests that look for TCH, a chemical that can stay in your system for days, or even weeks after consumption. This leads to inaccurate and misleading test results that paint a driver as guilty of a DUI even if he or she did not drive while under the influence of marijuana.
Marijuana users should also know that a DUI marijuana charge may not give police the right to take blood or urine samples in the first place. According to the law, only those suspected of consuming alcohol must surrender samples under implied consent. The fine print that technically allows marijuana users to refuse these tests isn’t particularly well known, and police may force the issue.
Understanding Faults in the System
At present, DUI marijuana laws are still in development. Since marijuana was only recently legalized, there is still plenty of confusion over enforcement policies, legal restrictions, and even testing methods. Marijuana chemical testing techniques often provide what is essentially a false positive, and unfortunately, there are still many officers and prosecutors who are happy to levy charges based on those falsehoods. Legality has not erased bias. It hasn’t necessarily led to a greater understanding of how marijuana works, either.
Citizens should expect law enforcement officers to be a little overeager and err on the side of caution during this transition. That does not mean, however, that they should accept injustices. If you are facing a DUI marijuana charge, you need an attorney. While an attorney is always useful in a court case, he or she is invaluable for situations like these where the laws seem nebulous. It’s easy to accuse innocent patients.
Sometimes following common sense and obeying the law aren’t enough to prove your innocence. Look for an attorney willing to set precedents rather than to just follow them. Medical marijuana is legal, but you may need to go the extra mile to protect your rights.