naperville dui defense lawyerSince 2021, adults over the age of 21 have been able to legally use marijuana in Illinois. However, while it is legal to purchase and consume marijuana and cannabis products such as oils and edibles, certain restrictions apply to marijuana users. Because the use of marijuana can affect a person’s mental faculties, it is treated similarly to alcohol, and people who “drive while high” can face the same penalties as those who drive drunk. By understanding the potential DUI charges that may apply when a person has been using marijuana, drivers can avoid dangerous behaviors. Those who are arrested and charged with driving under the influence of marijuana can work with a criminal defense attorney to determine their legal options.

What Is the Legal Limit for Marijuana?

Determining whether a person is intoxicated by alcohol is fairly simple. Alcohol is quickly absorbed into the blood, and a test of a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) can usually be performed by taking a breath, blood, or urine sample. In Illinois, as in most other states, the legal BAC limit is .08 percent, and if a chemical test finds that a person exceeded this limit while operating a vehicle, they may be charged with DUI.

Determining whether marijuana use has caused intoxication is somewhat more difficult. Marijuana is not absorbed into the body as quickly, and in some cases, it may remain in a person’s system for an extended period of time, even after they no longer feel its effects. However, to address the use of marijuana by drivers, the state of Illinois has established a legal limit that can be used to determine whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana.

The legal limit in Illinois is based on the amount of THC (the active component in marijuana) that is in a person’s system. If THC levels are measured through a blood sample, the legal limit is five nanograms per milliliter. If THC is measured in another bodily fluid, such as saliva or urine, the legal limit is 10 nanograms per milliliter.

When Can a Driver Be Arrested for Using Marijuana?

When a police officer pulls a person over because they suspect that the driver is intoxicated, they may use a number of different methods to determine whether the driver has been drinking or using marijuana or other drugs. However, in many cases, the methods of gauging intoxication by marijuana are less conclusive than those used to determine whether a person is under the influence of alcohol. While roadside breathalyzer tests may provide an estimate of a person’s BAC, there are no equivalent tests for marijuana.

To determine whether a person is under the influence of marijuana, an officer may ask them to perform field sobriety tests. In most DUI cases, field sobriety tests are not mandatory, and drivers can decline to take them when asked. However, the state of Illinois has made these tests mandatory in situations where officers suspect that a driver is intoxicated due to the use of marijuana. A driver who refuses to take field sobriety tests in this situation will face an automatic driver’s license suspension for one year, and they will not be eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit that would allow them to use an ignition interlock device. If field sobriety tests disclose that a driver is impaired, their driver’s license will be suspended for six months. These types of suspensions will apply in addition to a statutory summary suspension based on chemical tests performed after a person is arrested.

What Are the Penalties for Marijuana DUI?

DUI charges related to marijuana use will result in the same penalties as DUI charges involving alcohol. For a first-time DUI, a conviction may result in a sentence of up to one year in jail, fines of up to $2,500, along with other fees and court costs, and a one-year driver’s license revocation. Penalties will increase for a second or subsequent DUI or in situations where aggravating factors were involved in a case.

Contact Our Naperville Marijuana DUI Lawyer

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana, it is important to take these charges seriously, since they could lead to large fines, time spent in prison, a lengthy period of probation, the requirement to undergo treatment for substance abuse, the loss of your driver’s license, and other issues that could affect your life. At [[title]], our DuPage County DUI defense attorney can help you understand your options for defending against these charges. We will advocate for solutions that will minimize the impact on your life. Contact us at [[phone]] to arrange a free consultation today.


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