Protocol For Non-Alcohol-Related DUI Arrests
The following article will cover:
- General protocol followed by law enforcement when suspecting non-alcohol-related impairment in a driver.
- Methods used by law enforcement to determine marijuana-related impairment in a DUI stop.
- The role of drug recognition experts and consequences of refusing chemical tests in marijuana DUI cases.
What Is The General Protocol Followed When Police Suspect Non-Alcohol Related Impairment In A Driver?
The protocol for non-alcohol related impairment, such as marijuana, is similar to that for alcohol. Officers may:
- Ask the driver to exit the vehicle
- Examine the driver’s eyes
- Conduct field sobriety tests
- Modify investigative questions for marijuana use
- Call a drug recognition expert (DRE) for further investigation, if available
Does Law Enforcement Request The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests In Marijuana Related DUI Investigations? Would You Be Required To Perform Them?
Yes, law enforcement may request standardized field sobriety tests in marijuana-related DUI investigations. However, these tests are voluntary, and you have the right to refuse them in California. Field sobriety tests are often considered unreliable indicators of impairment due to the stressful circumstances and unfamiliarity with the tests.
Are There Other Methods That Law Enforcement Would Use To Determine Whether Or Not A Driver Is Impaired By Marijuana In California During A DUI Stop?
In addition to the methods mentioned above, officers may request a blood test to detect the presence of cannabis, specifically THC. However, it is difficult to correlate THC levels in the blood with actual impairment, as THC can remain in the system long after marijuana consumption. There is no specific level of THC that equates to presumed impairment, unlike the 0.08 blood alcohol concentration for alcohol.
What Is A Drug Recognition Expert? Do They Have A Role In A Marijuana DUI Case Or Investigation?
A drug recognition expert (DRE) is an officer with specialized training in detecting drug-related impairment. They may be called to the scene if available and can conduct a more detailed investigation, including examining the eyes and asking additional questions. DREs are trained to recognize specific signs of marijuana use and assess whether the driver is impaired.
Can I Refuse A Request For A Blood Draw Or A Chemical Test In A Marijuana DUI Case? What Are The Consequences If I Do?
In a misdemeanor DUI case, if you refuse a blood test, the officer can obtain a warrant for a blood sample based on probable cause. If the officer does not obtain a warrant and you refuse the blood test, it becomes extremely difficult to convict you of DUI marijuana without a blood sample. However, refusing a test can still result in arrest.
Does The Chemical Testing For Marijuana In A DUI Investigation Show The Level Of Impairment?
Chemical testing for marijuana in a DUI investigation can only show the presence of THC in the system, not the level of impairment. No specific level of THC automatically indicates impairment, making it difficult to convict someone of DUI marijuana in California.
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