Law Office of Paul W. Hamilton

What Is The Law In Your State For Driving Under The Influence Of Marijuana?


In Georgia, the state would have to prove that the marijuana was causing an impairment in driving for a DUI conviction, and that can be difficult for the state to prove in some cases. So there has to be some proof that the marijuana was in your system and caused an impairment to drive. There is no measurement of how much marijuana has to be in your system, essentially, that the state could show. If the state could show an amount of marijuana in your system, along with some type of impairment, then perhaps you could be convicted, but unlike alcohol, there is no matchstick number, if you will, of marijuana that has to be in your system in order to be convicted.

What Is The General Protocol Employed By Law Enforcement In A Marijuana DUI Investigation?

When law enforcement is investigating a marijuana DUI case, they look at a few things that are different from a normal intoxication case. To test for alcohol, law enforcement would perform a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, which is where a suspect would follow the officer’s finger from left to right to check for nystagmus of the eyes. Another standard test is having someone walk nine steps, turn and walk nine steps back, as well as perform a one-legged stand. In terms of checking for marijuana, the officer would examine the color of the tongue and see if there are raised taste buds; this test, however, has come under fire regarding the science behind it.

Another test performed in a marijuana DUI case is how your eyes look. Are they dilated or are they constricted? For most people under the influence of marijuana, their eyes would be dilated. The officer may also try to measure your internal clock by administering the modified Rhomberg test where you will be asked to stand still, tilt your head back then try to estimate the passage of 30 seconds. If you are under the influence of marijuana, generally, you’ll go past the 30-second mark because your clock will be slow.

Another thing that law enforcement is looking for, when your head is tilted back, is if your eyelids are trembling, which is another side effect of marijuana impairment. Those are just a few additional things that law enforcement may look for in a marijuana DUI case.

What Is Going To Happen To My License On A Marijuana DUI Charge?

The license suspensions for marijuana DUI and alcohol DUI are essentially the same. If you are convicted on your first offense of DUI marijuana, your license will be suspended if you either plead guilty or are found guilty, and you are going to lose your driving privileges for a period of 120 days. Unless it’s a refusal case, you will be allowed to obtain a temporary permit that will allow you to drive to work or for school purposes, but the punishment is generally nearer to the alcohol suspensions in marijuana DUI cases.

What Is A Drug Recognition Expert? What Training Does Someone With This Title Generally Have?

A drug recognition expert (DRE) is a law enforcement officer who has been trained in impairment cases involving drugs, both legal and illegal. Most of the people that have had this training in Georgia tend to be state troopers. There are some officers from large metropolitan police agencies and sheriffs’ departments that are trained in this. There has been an uptick in Georgia in the number of people that are trained in DRE. Essentially, the training consists of a 40-hour class that shows a number of methods to determine whether someone is under the influence of drugs. This training focuses on physical symptoms, including blood pressure, eye movement and appearance, physical characteristics of the mouth and whether the person is swaying.

There is the argument whether someone is truly an expert after attending a 40-hour class in one week. This training tends to ignore the physiological reasons that individuals exhibit certain symptoms. But with the national increase in prescription drug abuse in the country, along with illegal drugs, this type of training has grown in the past few years.

For more information on Marijuana DUI Charges In Georgia, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (229) 207-0850 today.

Paul W. Hamilton, Esq.

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