The dangers of drinking and driving are well known. Most drivers in Michigan know that the legal limit for alcohol is a 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) and that a BAC of 0.17% or more means that you can be charged with the offense of “Operating with a High BAC,” commonly known as a “super drunk.” While drinking and driving is and continues to be a major concern for Michigan citizens, the good news is that drinking and driving is actually on the decrease. According to a NHTSA Roadside Survey from February 2015, only 1.5% of weekend nighttime drivers had a BAC of 0.08 or above. This is a decrease of a nearly one-third since 2007. However, the number of drivers with THC—one of the active ingredients in marijuana—and other drugs, including legal prescription drugs, is on the rise.
With medical and adult use (recreational) cannabis now legal in Michigan, common question that is asked is “how much marijuana can I use before I drive or how long do I have to wait after using before I can drive?”
The Truth About People v. Koon
In 2013, the Michigan Supreme Court decided People v. Koon, which ruled that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act offers protection from arrest and conviction for a crime of Operating with the Presence of any THC in a person’s bloodstream but does not protect those who operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. This decision largely acknowledges the fact that THC often stays in a person’s bloodstream long after the effects of the marijuana have worn off. The State of Michigan also recently published a report that confirmed these findings.
While the Michigan Supreme Court only considered the context of medical marijuana, due to the almost identical nature of the language in the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (which legalized medical marijuana in Michigan) and the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (which legalized recreational marijuana in Michigan), it is very likely that the Koon decision also extends to adults age 21 and over in Michigan.
Taking Action with Our DUI Marijuana Attorney
As a result, if you are a medical marijuana patient or are over the age of 21, you cannot be convicted of a drugged driving offense just for having THC in your system; instead, the prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your ability to drive was visibly impaired or that the marijuana substantially affected your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. This can be a very difficult burden for prosecutors to meet and will depend on the unique facts and circumstances of your case.
If you are facing a drugged driving charge, you need an experienced OWI marijuana attorney who knows and understands cannabis fighting on your side. At Grewal Law PLLC, we have a dedicated cannabis law division with attorneys that regularly handle both cannabis law and criminal defense matters. You should also be prepared for a fight. The prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were stoned or that your ability to drive was visibly impaired. This very well could mean taking your case to a jury trial. Schedule your initial consultation today for the legal help you need!