Howard County Marijuana DUI Lawyer
When marijuana is involved in a driving under the influence (DUI) case, a person will have blood drawn to see if there is any amount of marijuana found in their system. The issue with this is that marijuana itself can stay in a person’s system for up to 30 days.
It becomes a little bit of a conundrum for law enforcement as well as attorneys—both state and defense—to figure out what exactly that line is, and how reliable an officer’s simple impression can be. However, if a blood draw shows an overwhelming number, then perhaps that becomes where marijuana is the immediate issue that puts a person under the influence or impaired in that present moment.
Due to theses numerous factors that frequently come into play in Howard County marijuana DUID cases, it is very important to have a Howard County DUI drug lawyer to help. A Howard County marijuana DUI lawyer can help guide a person through their case and can help build a strong defense to combat the charges.
Marijuana v. Alcohol DUIs
The similarity between marijuana DUIs and alcohol DUIs is that there has to be a substantive basis for an assertion that a person is driving under the influence. An officer has to prove that a person is driving, operating, and in control of the motor vehicle, and they would have to prove that the person is under the influence or impaired by a substance.
Where this changes, however, is with regards to alcohol. An alcohol DUI stop will generally involve standard field sobriety tests, such as the walk and turn, the one-legged stand, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. These tests are more suited to alcohol, but not so much marijuana.
For a marijuana DUI, it digresses into general observations of an individual, however, there are drug recognition experts. These are officers that have gone through a specific training that can testify with regards to their training, experience, and knowledge base that an individual may be under the influence of drugs. An officer can then request that a person submits to a blood test. The blood test is really the most important piece in a marijuana DUI and can prove that there is a drug in a person’s system.
With the decriminalization of marijuana, if an officer were to stop someone in Howard County and ask to search their vehicle, they would have no immediate right to search because marijuana is not illegal in the area anymore. Currently, for less than 10 grams, a person would get a civil citation. Therefore from a defense perspective, the argument is that there would need to be more substantive investigative work done by an officer to get in a vehicle and find out if a person actually has less than 10 grams.
Since decriminalization is recent in Maryland, Howard County marijuana DUI attorneys will rely on laws from Massachusetts and other states who have had this law in place for a longer period of time, where that search is not legal. So, a person may have it in their vehicle, but unless there is some way to prove that the person has been smoking while driving or just before, they may very well not be under the influence and driving.
Charges and Penalties
All the driving under the influence charges in the state of Maryland are under the transportation articles 21-902. TA 21-902 would be the first thing that you would see on any citation written by an officer in Howard County. Underneath that, someone charged would see driving under the influence, then there are the letters at the end. “A” would mean driving under the influence; “C” would mean driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs; and “D” is driving under the influence of drugs—there is driving under the influence and there is driving while impaired.
All those charges carry variances of one year in jail or 60 days in jail and the fines, depending on the charge, can range from $500.00 and upwards to $1,000.00 dollars making it important a marijuana DUI lawyer in Howard County is contacted immediately.
Contacting an Attorney
It is important to contact a marijuana DUI attorney in Howard County who is familiar with DUIDs because there is a distinct difference between prosecuting alcohol and drugs based on the way that the laws are written.
Alcohol is a drug, but driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of marijuana can be proven in distinct, different ways. That comes down to the tests and if a person is brought into custody. This could be as a result of a submitted breath test or a warrant forcing a person to submit to a test.