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Three Things You Need to Know About Marijuana and DUI in Illinois

 Posted on June 15, 2022 in DUI

Joliet drugged driving defense lawyerWhile Illinois has legalized recreational marijuana, there are still boundaries around when and where it can be safely used. Like alcohol, marijuana is an intoxicant that muddles the body and brain’s typical responses to stimuli. Although many people feel as though they can safely drive after ingesting cannabis, research shows that a high driver’s chances of getting into a car accident increase dramatically. However, unlike alcohol, getting a ticket for driving with cannabis in a driver’s bloodstream is complicated because THC can remain in your system for many days after the last time it is used. If you have been pulled over and charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, here are three things you should know before you call an Illinois DUI defense attorney who can help you fight the charges.

Even If an Officer Smells Marijuana, They Cannot Search You Without a Warrant

Previously, Illinois used the so-called “plain smell” rule that allowed officers to search a vehicle without a warrant if he or she claimed to smell marijuana. But after a 2021 circuit court ruling, the smell of marijuana is no longer a probable cause for a warrantless vehicle search. If a police officer says he smells marijuana, you do not need to let him search your car. You also do not need to consent to chemical testing, although refusing a chemical test still might lead to your immediate arrest.

You Can Fail a Drug Test Even If You Are Not High

Because frequent users of cannabis can test positive for THC in their system long after they last used it, chemical tests can suggest a driver was high even if he or she was not. More than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood can result in a DUI conviction unless the driver is a medical marijuana user, and it can be difficult to fight the prosecutor’s case by claiming you were not high at the time of arrest. 

Punishments for Driving Under the Influence in Illinois 

Driving under the influence of marijuana has punishments that range in severity depending on the number of previous DUI offenses and whether driving under the influence resulted in a serious accident. 

For a first DUI conviction, the punishment is six to 12 months of license suspension, up to a year in prison, and up to $2,500 in fines. Repeat DUIs or aggravated DUIs carry penalties that gradually increase until convictions can result in many years of driver’s license suspensions, prison time, and expensive fines, to say nothing of the expensive personal injury lawsuits that can be brought if driving high resulted in a car crash that caused someone else to be hurt.

Contact a Will County Drug DUI Defense Lawyer

A conviction for a cannabis DUI charge can have serious consequences that may affect you for the rest of your life. If you are facing a DUI in Illinois, get help from the experienced Joliet, IL marijuana DUI defense lawyers with McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC. We will work hard to build a vigorous defense, protect your constitutional rights, and undermine the prosecutor’s case against you. Call us today at 815-727-0100 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your options under Illinois law. 





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