While marijuana laws are changing all over the United States, the facts remain unchanged in Georgia: have it in your possession or drive under the influence, and law enforcement will not be happy. For an example, let’s examine this edition of my Case of the Month series featuring underage DUI involving marijuana.
An underage client of mine was stopped by a police officer for making an illegal left turn. When the officer approached the car, he smelled the telltale odor of marijuana drifting from inside. My client admitted to smoking marijuana prior to being stopped with his girlfriend, a passenger in the car.
After performing field sobriety evaluations, my client was arrested for DUI for being under the influence of marijuana. When the officer requested a urine test, my client consented. The urine test came back positive for marijuana. Georgia law states that a person is guilty of a DUI if that person “drives a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana to the extent that person is rendered incapable of driving safely.” Since marijuana is detectable in urine even a month after use, it is possible to be convicted of this type of DUI weeks after it was last used, if the State can prove, through physical appearance, driving, and field sobriety evaluations, that you were incapable of driving safely. This is part of what makes marijuana DUIs so tricky.
Because of my client’s age, even a plea to reckless driving would have resulted in a 6-month suspension. The key to a urine test is that by the time marijuana (or its inactive ingredient) gets into your urine, you are no longer under the influence of the effects of the marijuana. In this case, I was able to resolve the case as follows: the DUI was reduced entirely, and the client pled to a city ordinance violation, which did not go on his driving record or on his criminal history.
There are hundreds of ways to win a DUI case, especially when you consult an experienced DUI and traffic lawyer in your area. We just need to be open and creative enough to find the way for each particular case. To contact a reputable lawyer in Georgia, contact me, Mickey Roberts. Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for traffic law updates and news.