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If you find yourself facing a marijuana DUI charge, you might wonder what to do. There are multiple different ways that you can prepare your defenses. The defenses that you choose to assert should depend on the circumstances of the case and the specific weaknesses in the state’s case.
Attacking the validity of the test result
You might argue to the jury that the state’s blood test for marijuana doesn’t give a clear picture of whether you were under the influence of marijuana at the time you drove the vehicle. There’s no bright line test where a certain amount of marijuana necessarily influences a person’s ability to drive. Marijuana might influence one person’s ability to drive at very low levels, while another person might be able to drive well with relatively large amounts of marijuana in their system.
There are multiple types of evidence that might appear in a marijuana blood test result. Some of these results might not be helpful in order to show your levels of intoxication at the time you were driving. Marijuana has active ingredients, but it also has metabolites. These metabolites can stay in a person’s system long after they are no longer under the influence of marijuana.
At your trial for marijuana DUI, you have the opportunity to call an expert witness. This person can explain to the jury what the blood test results mean. They can explain to the jury how the test results don’t answer the question of whether you were too under the influence of marijuana to drive the vehicle.
Evidence of poor driving
To show that you’re under the influence of marijuana, law enforcement needs to show that your consumption of marijuana impacted your ability to drive a motor vehicle. They often do this by admitting evidence of poor driving. However, your driving ability is open to interpretation.
You can raise the issue of potential bias on the part of the law enforcement officer. The law enforcement officer that testifies that your driving was poor wants to see that you’re convicted in the case. You may be able to argue that this impacts their ability to see the situation clearly. The jury might have a different interpretation of your driving. After all, they’re drivers too, and they know that even sober drivers make the occasional driving error.
Addressing the vehicle stop
You can defend the charges against you by bringing a pretrial motion. This is a motion that the judge decides before a jury trial. In a pretrial motion, you can ask the judge to throw out some of the evidence against you. If the judge agrees with you, the state can’t tell the jury about certain pieces of evidence. In some cases, this can dispose of chemical evidence against you.
Law enforcement can’t just randomly stop vehicles that they see on the road. The U.S. and state constitutions have protections that prevent the police from interfering in people’s lives without a legal reason to do so. That means that law enforcement must prove that they have a good reason to believe that you’re committing a traffic violation or that you’re a drunk driver in order to stop your vehicle.
The police can’t base a traffic stop on their intuition. Instead, they have to be able to tell the judge what specifically in your case made them think that you were breaking the law. If law enforcement isn’t able to do this, the state may not be able to tell the jury about anything they see or hear after the stop.
Evaluating your options
Defending yourself well doesn’t always mean taking your case to the jury. It might mean making the wise decision to accept a plea offer in your case. It may also mean preparing the case in order to convince the state’s attorney to offer you a fair plea deal.
This might mean preparing statements to show the state’s attorney that you’re a person who contributes to the good of society through your work, volunteering or community interests. It might mean showing the state that you’ve begun rehabilitative programs such as alcohol treatment. Defending yourself can mean showing the state that you deserve leniency. Ultimately, this can be a successful result in your case.