As of January 1, 2014, medical marijuana became legal in Illinois provided you are a registered user with a diagnosis for one of the specified medical conditions, and you purchased your pot from a licensed dispensary. So what happens if the police stop you for DUI and all you’ve taken is your medicine?

As with other legally prescribed drugs, you can still be found guilty of DUI under the new law, but only if your driving was impaired. Before the law changed, you could be convicted for having any amount of marijuana in your system.

After you are charged with DUI, the Secretary of State will issue an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. Under the new law, your license should not be suspended if you were not impaired.

Under the new law, an officer must have a reasonable suspicion of your DUI based on an independent cannabis-related rationale before asking you to take field sobriety tests. Your possession of a medical marijuana registry card is not by itself a sufficient basis.

The new law permits the police to use field sobriety tests to determine impairment. However, you may get your own chemical testing, and you may present evidence that you lacked the physical capacity to perform the tests.

The laws are subject to interpretation to some degree, and it is is highly likely that different judges will construe them differently. While the medical marijuana law may legalize some use under limited circumstances, it hardly creates a perfect defense to allegations of driving under the influence.

If you are charged with a marijuana-related DUI, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for the best possible defense. Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to obtain a better plea agreement than you can 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

(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.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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