The number of individuals who are arrested for driving while high on illegal drugs has risen by 20% in the state of Georgia in the past five years. Georgia does not track arrests for driving while impaired by specific substances. Law enforcement officers are trained to look for both a driver’s physical symptoms and the odor of drugs emanating from the driver’s vehicle.
Law enforcement in Georgia does not have a roadside breath test for drugs like it does for alcohol. While charges related to driving under the influence of all drugs is on the rise in the state of Georgia, this article will specifically examine some key details about driving under the influence of marijuana. If you’re facing criminal charges for driving under the influence, call our DUI law firm today for assistance.
Applicable Georgia Law
Georgia law narrowly defines marijuana as a green leafy substance and a substance with 15% or less THC by weight. Many individuals mistakenly believe that they can receive driving under the influence of marijuana charge for merely having marijuana in their system. Under applicable Georgia law, however, individuals can only receive a driving under the influence of marijuana charge if law enforcement can demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that marijuana made the individual incapable of driving safely.
This standard means that there must be at least an act of unsafe driving or other types of evidence through which it could be argued that marijuana usage impaired an individual’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.
Law enforcement might conduct a field sobriety test of an individual who is believed to be under the influence of marijuana. If the individual performs poorly on these tests, law enforcement could potentially arrest the individual on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana and order a blood test to confirm the amount of THC within the individual’s system.
Tests Used By Georgia Law Enforcement
Law enforcement in Georgia lacks a standardized test for marijuana usage in the same way that Breathalyzers are used to determine that an individual was driving under the influence of alcohol. If a law enforcement officer suspects that an individual is operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana, a blood test will be conducted to determine whether the individual is impaired. Blood tests will look for the presence of THC metabolites that form in an individual’s body after using the drug.
The consequences of driving under the influence of marijuana charge can include:
- License suspension,
- Community service,
- Substantial fines,
- Jail time,
- Clinical drug evaluation, and
- Completion of a drug program.
Defending a Marijuana DUI Charge
The good news is that in many cases it is nearly impossible to prove that an individual was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. Three of the reasons why marijuana driving under the influence charges are difficult to prove include:
- Unreliable testing,
- Misunderstanding of chemistry by legislators and judges, and
- The lack of a particularly strict applicable law in the state of Georgia.
Contact a Knowledgeable DUI Attorney
If you are a motorist charged with driving under the influence of any type of drug, you need the very best legal representation. Do not hesitate to contact an attorney at Yeargan & Kert, LLC today.