The Science Behind Stoned-Driving Laws Makes Absolutely No Sense

By Jonathan Blecher on February 7, 2022

Recreational marijuana is legal in many parts of the country, but the laws for “driving while baked,” have not yet caught up to the driving under the influence (DUI) laws that apply to alcohol consumption. Unlike alcohol-related DUIs, which apply when you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, drug DUIs are more difficult to test for.

In a Wired article, for example, one man describes getting a DUI almost one full day after getting high. At the time of his arrest, the man did not feel impaired, but when officers drew his blood at the hospital, he was at almost twice the legal limit (in Washington, the legal limit is 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood).

Unlike breathalyzers and other BAC tests, THC tests have no way of determining whether someone is impaired by cannabis at the time of testing. As Wired puts it:

“the science behind stoned-driving laws makes absolutely no sense.”

Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal in every state, but there is no reliable way to determine who is stoned and who is sober at the time of an arrest. This problem is one reason why recreational marijuana has not been legalized nationwide. In Florida, for instance, marijuana is only permitted for individuals with certain medical conditions.

Why Is Driving While High Illegal?

Driving high is illegal because marijuana can interfere with the skills you need to drive safely. Marijuana use can decrease reaction time and processing speed and affect visuospatial perception.

Stoned driving is a problem, but authorities aren’t sure how to fix it. Enforcement often comes down to a flawed toxicity report and the judgement of an officer. Considering the consequences of a DUI, these enforcement tools are unreliable at best. An individual could lose their job, go to jail, or face exorbitant fines simply because they smoked a joint last week and the officer who pulled them over was in a bad mood.

Advocates are calling for a scientifically backed field sobriety test designed specifically for marijuana. Police officers, prosecutors, toxicologists, social justice activists, and cannabis users all agree that the current systems for enforcing marijuana-related drug DUIs are not working.

What If I Get Arrested for Driving While High?

If you get arrested for driving while high, contact a defense attorney near you as soon as possible. Your lawyer should be familiar with the local laws surrounding marijuana and know that “objective” evidence of a marijuana-related DUI is nearly impossible to achieve.

Although some police departments in the United States are experimenting with new testing technologies, Florida still relies on an officer’s judgement, which can be unreliable. To convict you of a crime, the prosecution needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty.

Defense attorneys like Jonathan Blecher, P.A. highlight the reasonable doubt that jeopardize convictions and help protect you from harmful consequences. Your fight is our fight, and we put over 40 years of legal experience toward finding the best possible solution in every case. Don’t settle for anything less than the best.

Instead, call our firm at 305-321-3237 or contact us online to discuss your defense during a free, confidential consultation.

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