In Illinois, there are several ways of charging you with driving under the influence of marijuana or cannabis. With one exception, however, the state may have difficulty proving you were actually impaired.
If you were driving after smoking pot you can be charged with:
1) Driving under the influence of an intoxicating compound.
2) Driving under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs.
3) Driving under the combined influence of alcohol and another drug.
4) Driving while there was any unlawfully consumed drug such as cannabis or methamphetamine in your system.
Except for the last charge, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your driving was impaired and unsafe. Unlike a DUI based on alcohol, however, there are no hard and fast rules, such as the .08 breathalyzer, to demonstrate impairment. For this reason, the state must rely on an officer’s experience and any evidence of impairment such as the field sobriety tests. In many cases, that may be tough. If you didn’t perform the one-legged stand and walk-and-turn tests, it may be tougher. Plus, in order to give an opinion on your impairment, the officer must have enough experience and training to be qualified as an expert.
The last charge mentioned above, however, requires no proof of impairment. If you are charged under 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(6), then the state need only show that you had some trace of an unlawfully consumed substance in your system. When a serious accident is involved, any trace of cannabis or other drug in your system is enough to convict you, even if you actually took it days before. See our related blog: Illinois Supreme Court Case Toughens Driving While Under the Influence of Drugs.
If you are charged with driving under the influence of cannabis, another drug or a combination of drugs and alcohol, contact an experienced DUI lawyer immediately. An experienced attorney can review your case to determine the best possible defense. Did the officer have probable cause to stop you? How strong is the evidence of impairment? Even if the evidence is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.
If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)