Darien Marijuana DUI Lawyer
An individual can still be charged for a marijuana DUI like they would for a normal drug DUI. An experienced defense attorney would take the defendant through the Court process and make sure that strategically and procedurally all the right steps are taken.
Are There Any Drug Laws in Darien?
There are two different laws. There is marijuana DUI (the same statute as the normal DUI) and then there is a violation law. Meaning, possession of a small amount of marijuana is not a true crime if someone is being charged for less than half an ounce of marijuana. If a person has between half an ounce and four ounces, that is a misdemeanor. If the person has more than that, it is a felony. There is a whole range of charges, and all of it is dependent upon the amount of marijuana the person has in their possession.
Role of Marijuana Decriminalization
A small amount of marijuana is not a crime, but is a violation. Even though possession laws are no longer criminal, in some cases, driving under the influence is still criminal. It is still the same DUI charge, regardless of whether the person only had a small amount of marijuana on them.
Impact of Marijuana Legalization
It does not mitigate a drug DUI charge at all. It is not a defense. If anything, the Darien Police are probably more on the lookout for clues that someone might be under the influence of marijuana when they are driving.
This would fall under the Connecticut DUI §14-227a. If the person still has marijuana on them, it may be coupled with a possession of marijuana charge, depending on the amount. The charge could be a misdemeanor, felony or a violation ticket.
What Are The Penalties For Marijuana DUIs?
For the first arrest, the person might be eligible for a Pre-Trial Program. In Connecticut, it is a Diversionary Program called the Pre-Trial Alcohol Education Program. It is meant for DUIs, but people that are charged with drug DUIs could be eligible for that program as well. Often the defense attorney will argue as to why the person, with their first arrest, should get that program.
If the defendant has already used the Pre-Trial Alcohol Education Program program they are ineligible, and would likely have to plea to a first time DUI, and they could face up to six months in jail, up to two years of probation, and a fine of $500 to $1,000. During the probationary period, the defendant usually participates in community service. If they do not want to participate with community service, they will have to do a mandatory two days minimum in jail.
Difference to Alcohol Cases
The difference between marijuana DUI cases and alcohol cases is what the State has to prove. Urine, blood, alcohol and breathalyzer tests can be used as proof. The charge relies on the proof because a Prosecutor is trying to prove that someone is impaired, or possibly had a Blood Alcohol Content (“BAC”) of a 0.08. In a marijuana DUI case, there is no specific number that the State has to prove. The State is just looking at different kinds of evidence.
Often in marijuana cases, evidence is based on the Police Officer’s, or any other witnesses’, observation that the person in question is impaired. Most of the time it ends up being more scientific because a medical professional or toxicologist is necessary to present evidence as to what those marijuana levels mean. It is not as common knowledge as the 0.08 threshold as on alcohol-based case.
Role of the Prosecution
The prosecution will need to prove that the person operated the motor vehicle. In Connecticut, that could be something as simple putting the key in the ignition. They also need to prove that someone was impaired by drugs.
Importance of Hiring a Lawyer
Because marijuana is a lot different than alcohol, it may be critical to retain an experienced defense attorney who has defended marijuana DUIs before. An experienced defense attorney has likely consulted previously with the toxicologist and understands the strengths and weaknesses of the tests and reports. Hiring an attorney can ensure you have a strong case before beginning trial.