Attitudes on marijuana use are changing in the United States, with more and more jurisdictions legalizing marijuana for medicinal and even recreational use. Alabama has not yet legalized marijuana in any form, although HB 104 is pending before the House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary. HB 104 would introduce medical necessity as a defense to the crime of marijuana use.
As the laws change on marijuana throughout the country, new evidence has indicated that fatal car crashes involving the use of pot have tripled in the United States. Drivers on marijuana who cause an accident face serious criminal penalties, especially if injury or death results. Alabama law also makes it a crime to drive when impaired by drugs, or a combination of drugs and alcohol, even if no accident occurs. Drugged driving can result in jail time and other penalties. Those accused of drugged driving should contact a DUI defense attorney in Birmingham. Barclay Law represents drivers accused of driving while drunk or driving while on drugs.
Alabama Drugged Driving Cases
In Alabama, a motorist can be charged with a DUI for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of any controlled substance that renders him or her incapable of driving safely. The fact that someone charged with a DUI was legally entitled to use a controlled substance is not a defense against driving while impaired.
In order for a driver to be convicted, the prosecutor has to prove that the motorist was under the influence of an illegal substance that affected his ability to operate the vehicle safely. However, while implied consent laws require an Alabama motorist to provide a sample of blood, urine or breath to test for alcohol, implied consent laws do not extend to drugged driving cases. This means outside of situations when a serious accident occurs, you are not required to submit to a chemical test for drugs in your system. You cannot face criminal sanctions for refusal to submit to a drug test, as you can for a test of your blood-alcohol content.
If you have submitted to a drug test and the test showed marijuana in your system, this does not necessarily mean you will be convicted of drugged driving. Evidence of marijuana use can remain in the blood stream for 30 days or longer after the drug is used. A drug test showing you have used marijuana in the past does not mean you were impaired at the time you drove your vehicle. In fact, since marijuana use is now legal in some states, it does not even necessarily mean you broke the law.
An attorney can defend you against drugged driving charges for marijuana use by showing that a prosecutor failed to meet the burden of proving that you were impaired. In the case of a fatal accident when marijuana is discovered in your system, the prosecutor must prove that your actions in using the drug caused the collision in order to charge you with vehicular manslaughter or related crimes. An attorney should also represent you in these cases as well.
Contact Barclay Law at 866-584-1023 or visit http://www.jmbarclaylaw.com to schedule a consultation with a DUI defense attorney in Birmingham. Serving South Side, Titusville, Red Mountain, Woodlawn, Ensley and surrounding areas.