In the state of New Jersey marijuana was recently legalized for adults over 21 to possess up to 6 ounces. Whether marijuana use is legal or illegal or for medical or recreational purposes, it is always and will always be illegal to drive under the influence of any substance. However, the police procedure for marijuana DUI differs from other forms of DUI. As a medical marijuana user, it is essential that you understand the process for probable cause with a marijuana DUI.
Current Field Tests
When there is probable cause for driving under the influence of alcohol, the legal authorities have ways to determine the truth. For example, they may administer a breathalyzer test or have you walk in a straight line. However, there is currently no reliable field test to administer to determine if you are under the influence of marijuana. Police officers use probable cause to determine your intoxication. They simply use observation of the environment you are in and your personal behavior to determine your intoxication.
Police officers are trained to take in the environment around them. As a result, it often leads to questions about you that they can use as evidence against you in court. It is your word against theirs in an environment that considers them the expert. Consider the things that would be in plain view of your vehicle if you are stopped at a checkpoint or pulled over while driving. Visible signs of marijuana use can trigger a warrant for a blood or urinalysis drug test. That probable cause can trigger an arrest for further questioning or testing.
Police Officers can choose to administer field sobriety tests based on questioning your behavior. They can even use your behavior against you in a court of law. For example, wild, erratic movements make officers question your stability. Moreover, acting ashamed or upset shows signs of some type of guilt. Police Officers are trained to read your body language before your actual language. It is possible for them to use your actions as probable cause for arrest in a marijuana DUI. Of course, physical characteristics play the foremost role in a probable cause. These include bloodshot eyes and slurred or slow speech.
Understand you have the right to an attorney anytime these events begin to unfold. You do not have to wait until they arrest you to claim that right. Likewise, don’t wait until after an arrest to exercise your right to remain silent. They can always use your words and actions against you in a court of law, not just your words and actions after your arrest. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of facing a marijuana DUI, give Leon Matchin a call immediately at 732-887-2479 or email him at [email protected].