Here’s What You Should Know If You’re Caught Driving While High
It is common knowledge that "driving while high" is one of the major arguments of lawmakers and policy makers against the legalization of cannabis around the world. They believe that legalizing cannabis will result in more people driving around while under the influence of marijuana; although there is no fact to back up the claims.
Sadly, In the cannabis world, driving while high is a topic that many do not truly understand. Is it wrong to drive while high? What are the punishments meted out if you are caught driving while high? All of that will be discussed in this article. Read on!
Is It Okay To Drive While High?
The legalization of cannabis has left a lot of marijuana enthusiasts confused about if it is okay to drive while high. The only correct answer is no. Driving while under the influence of marijuana is not okay, and is illegal. While the laws vary from state to state, you will be sure to face some form of punishment if you are caught driving while high.
Driving under the influence covers all activities that driving or being in control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol and other drugs. Cannabis belongs to the group of other drugs. This is because cannabis has the potency to impair your ability to drive. You can therefore get a DUI for driving under the influence of cannabis. The laws guiding DUI when it comes to cannabis however vary from one state to another. In Arizona for example, marijuana users that are taking it on prescription can not be convicted for driving under the influence, unless it can be proven beyond doubt that they were impaired while driving. This rule also applies in some other states. On the other hand, there is a "per se drugged driving ", which operates in a host of other states. Using this law, if a previously stipulated amount of marijuana is found in your system, you will be convicted.
How Do The Authorities Determine If You Are Driving Under The Influence?
The police are the law enforcement agency charged with determining if a driver is traveling under the influence of cannabis. Unless you are caught in possession of marijuana or say a bong, it is a very difficult task for the police to determine if you are really under the influence of cannabis. They rely mostly on physical symptoms to check the driver. These symptoms include:
While this helps them in spotting drivers driving under the influence of cannabis, it is usually not enough. They, therefore, carry out a sobriety test which involves making the driver walk in a straight line or stand on one leg. There is however still a loophole in the sobriety test, study has shown that chronic smokers are most likely to pass the test, as they are usually coordinated in such situations. This means that only novice smokers are most likely to be detected using this test.
If after passing these tests, the suspicion of the police officers is not satisfied, they can take you into custody for a blood or urine test.
Utilizing Road Testing Devices
As a result of the inaccuracy of the physical check carried out by police officers, efforts have been made to invent road testing devices that will produce more accurate results. Using these devices, swabs of saliva are taken from the driver and tested for THC. But just like with a physical check, road testing devices also have some loopholes which can bring about inaccurate results. For example, if a driver has been exposed to cannabis on a second-hand level, this device will produce a positive result for THC, even though the driver is most likely not even high. Also, the road testing devices can spot THC that has been stored in the driver's body for days and weeks, and return a positive test. So even if you are not high, a swab test could indicate that you are.
Is It Dangerous To Drive While High?
Yes, it is dangerous to drive while high and there are studies to back it up. On driving while under the influence of marijuana, the National Institute on Drug Abuse had this to say "Marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination and reaction time." These are three actions that are very important for safe driving.
Can You Beat The Test When Driving While High?
Ideally, you should not drive while high but if you find yourself in a situation where you have to take the test, there are ways to get off the hook.
Be Coherent: The first thing to do is to ensure that you are not driving with cannabis in your car. You must also not make the mistake of driving in the same shirt you had on while smoking. The police look out for bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and cannabis odor. Your bloodshot eyes can be explained away as some kind of irritation, so that leaves your speech. Be coherent and focused. Do not say too much, only answering any questions that you are asked.
Refuse The Sobriety Test: You can refuse to take the sobriety and breathalyzer test if you do not feel up to it. The penalty for this is usually turning in your driver's license for some time. You can however get it back with the help of an experienced lawyer, as long as the test was not taken to confirm that you were driving while high.
You must prioritize your safety at all times, so it is important to always avoid driving while high. If you need to get somewhere urgently, order an Uber or ride with a friend. You can also wait for the effect of the cannabis to wear out before taking the trip. Along with the risk to your safety, you can also face a heavy penalty that will set you back.