Pot DUI Cases Remain a Hazy Area for Law Enforcement
Pot, marijuana, alcohol, DUI, enforcement issues, Norfolk injury lawyer, VA, John Cooper, impaired driving, Cooper Hurley
There are clear rules in Virginia and elsewhere as to what constitutes drunken driving after you have been consuming alcohol.
But marijuana is another issue entirely and it’s one that is causing a headache for state legislatures as pot possession is legalized in some states.
Recently the Wall Street Journal reported on how lawmakers are “struggling to create rules” for how to identify drivers who are under the influence of pot.
It seems identifying pot impairment is not as easy as testing for alcohol. “There is no broad agreement over what blood level of THC – marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient – impairs driving,” stated the Wall Street Journal.
The breathalyzers that police use to detect alcohol are unable to detect marijuana levels. The issues inherent in pot-DUI cases are important in states that have legalized the use of marijuana.
In Washington State which legalized recreational marijuana use last year, voters decreed that drivers with five nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of blood are driving under the influence.
Colorado has the same limit but provides a chance for drivers to prove they are not impaired while there is a similar test in Montana, which allows medical marijuana use.
R. Andrew Sewell, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine was quoted as saying the chemical compound may quickly leave the system and regular users of marijuana may not be impaired due to their higher tolerance levels. It raises the potential problem of a lot of impaired drivers being missed and innocent people being arrested, he said.
The ambiguity of testing for marijuana raises a number of troubling questions to me as a Virginia car crash accident lawyer.
What is, however, less ambiguous is the potential of drivers under the influence of pot to kill and maim.
At the end of 2012 CBS pointed out how five of the eight deadly car crashes in Santa Cruz County in California involved drivers who had smoked pot before getting into their cars.
If you have been injured by a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a family member has been killed, call our Norfolk DUI injury lawyers for a free consultation.
The Norfolk, VA based personal injury law firm, Cooper Hurley with client meeting locations in Virginia Beach and Hampton, handles automobile, truck, and motorcycle injuries as well as wrongful death, railroad injury cases and medical malpractice. John Cooper and Jim Hurley have over 40 years of combined experience in handling auto injury accident claims. Attorney John Cooper has been named to Virginia “Super Lawyers” since 2010. Cooper Hurley represents people hurt in accidents in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News and throughout VA. If you need help or advice about a serious injury, please call us at (757) 455 -0077 or see the Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers’ website.