As I mentioned in my last post, Illinois recently passed a new law that changed the punishment for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana. That law, Public Act 99-697, also changed how Illinois will look at DUIs relating to marijuana use.
Before Public Act 99-697, Illinois had a zero tolerance policy when it came to marijuana use and driving. THC is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana's psychological effects. If you had any amount of THC in your system when you were operating a vehicle, then you were in violation of Illinois' DUI laws. Because THC can stay in a person's body for an extended amount of time, this meant that individuals could be arrested for DUI because they smoked or ingested marijuana many hours ago.
Thanks to Public Act 99-697, there is a new standard for the amount of THC that may be in your blood system. If you have 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms of THC per milliliter of other bodily substances (ex. urine sample), then it is automatically presumed that you are under the influence of cannabis. But even if you are under these numbers, you may still be under the influence of cannabis. If you have less than the legal limit of THC in your blood or bodily substance, it is not presumed that you are under the influence of cannabis, but this information can be considered alongside other evidence, such as sobriety field tests, when determining if you are under the influence while driving.
It is extremely hard to predict how much marijuana you will have to smoke or ingest to reach legal limit of THC in your body. Much like how many beers it will take to hit the legal blood alcohol concentration depends on how strong the beer is, how much you weigh, whether you have food in your stomach, and how quickly you drink, among other things, a variety of factors will also influence how much THC is in your body. For example, the strength of the marijuana, how long you inhaled, and how long you held in the smoke will all influence how much THC is in your body.
If you face a DUI under the new marijuana law, contact the attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. for representation. We have years of experience handling marijuana DUI cases and we will be able to find the best defense available for you.
–Posted by John W. Callahan, DUI attorney