When you are stopped by law enforcement and an officer believes that you may be under the influence of alcohol, they can perform a breathalyzer test right there on the side of the road. The breathalyzer will then indicate the level of alcohol in your breath so the officer knows whether they have probable cause to arrest you for driving while intoxicated (DWI). However, as of now, there has been no similar roadside test if an officer believes that you were driving under the influence of marijuana. Keep in mind that even though marijuana use is now legal in New Jersey, driving under the influence of marijuana is still illegal.
If an officer thinks you may be stoned behind the wheel, they now have to base their arrest on certain observations, which commonly include:
- Odor of marijuana in the car
- Red or watery eyes
- Delayed response or reflexes
If you are arrested on suspicion of driving after smoking marijuana, you may be asked for consent to give a urine sample at the police station. This sample can then be used to detect marijuana in your system and prove your DWI. The problem with urine tests is that marijuana can be detected from days or even weeks prior. This can result in convictions of DWI when you had not even used marijuana that day.
Now, new technology may allow police officers to perform a roadside test to detect recent marijuana use in drivers. This technology comes from researchers and developers out of Stanford University and may be on the market for police departments in the near future. The device would test a sample of your saliva and send it to the officer’s smartphone, which would prevent the need to return to the police station to have the lab test the sample. The test would detect traces of THC in saliva to inform an officer whether a driver has recently used marijuana.
If this test starts being used by New Jersey officer, DWI defense attorneys will need to begin looking for potential errors in the test and/or device to help defend against false accusations. In addition, officers may not be properly trained to use a device and misuse may lead to inaccurate test results.
Call 732-662-7658 today for a free consultation.
DWI defense lawyers should always be adapting their strategies based on new technology in the law enforcement field. At the Law Offices of Leon Matchin in New Jersey, we have defended against DWI charges for many clients and can help you with your case. Please call today for more information about how we can help you.