Over the past several years, marijuana use has become more and more accepted throughout the United States, and multiple states, including Illinois, have made this drug legal for people to buy and use for both medical and recreational purposes. As of January 1, 2020, Illinois residents who are over the age of 21 can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis plants, 5 grams of concentrated cannabis, or 500 milligrams of products containing THC, and visitors to the state can possess half of these amounts. However, while marijuana users may no longer face drug possession charges, they may still be charged with DUI if they are found to be operating a vehicle while under the influence of this drug.
Marijuana DUI and Related Charges
In addition to prohibiting driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more, Illinois law also includes a legal limit that defines intoxication by marijuana. A driver who is arrested on suspicion of DUI may be asked to take a chemical test that measures the level of THC, the chemical that causes marijuana users to experience a “high,” that is in their system. If a driver is asked to provide a blood sample, the legal limit is five nanograms of THC per milliliter. For other bodily fluids, such as a urine sample or saliva collected through a cheek swab, the legal limit is 10 nanograms of THC per milliliter. A driver who refuses to submit to chemical testing will face an automatic suspension of their driver’s license for at least one year.
A conviction for marijuana DUI charges will result in the same penalties as a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol. A first-time DUI is a Class A misdemeanor that will result in the revocation of a person’s driver’s license for one year, and it also carries a possible jail sentence of up to one year and a maximum fine of $2,500. Repeat DUI offenses after being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana will result in more serious consequences, including mandatory prison sentences and longer periods of license revocation.
Drivers should also be aware that just as it is illegal to drive with an open container of alcohol in their vehicle, they could face charges for the illegal transportation of recreational or medical marijuana. Cannabis must be transported in a sealed, child-proof, odor-proof container when it is in the passenger area of a vehicle. A violation of this law is a Class A misdemeanor. In addition to criminal penalties, a conviction will also result in a driver’s license suspension of six months for a first offense or one year for a second offense.
Contact Our Aurora Marijuana DUI Defense Attorney
If you are facing DUI charges based on the use of marijuana, you will need strong representation from an attorney who is experienced in these types of cases. At the Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, we represent clients charged with a wide variety of criminal offenses, including cases involving drunk driving, drug possession, and driver’s license suspension or revocation. To arrange a free consultation and learn how we can help with your case, contact our Elgin criminal defense lawyer today by calling 847-488-0889.