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Zero-tolerance policy for marijuana smokers in Illinois DUI cases

An effort is underway in Illinois to reduce penalties for individuals with traces of marijuana in their system that do not seem to be impaired.  Currently, Illinois law enforcement authorities can charge anyone for DUI or aggravated DUI who have in their system any amount of marijuana.  Many attorneys claim that this policy could result in punishments for individuals who used marijuana quite some time before they got in the driver seat and who are not impaired.

The difference between marijuana and a number of other substances including alcohol is that traces of the marijuana can remain in the blood for several weeks.  Compared to users of these other substances, marijuana users appear to be treated differently.  Individuals who have no apparent signs of intoxication can still be arrested and convicted for DUI after submitting to a urine or blood test.

One state senator has proposed legislation that would exempt medical marijuana users from this system of zero-tolerance. However, this bill was opposed by the state attorney's office for one particular Illinois County. "We need to continue to deter people from driving drugged, and right now, the zero-tolerance law accomplishes that," stated a state attorney.

Unfortunately, individuals pulled over for suspected DUI will be required to submit to a chemical test and may be convicted on blood or urine tests that provide inaccurate results. Attorneys can sometimes get these results thrown out. Still, a zero-tolerance policy creates additional difficulties for attorneys because proof of a drug being in the system can be enough to convict.

Whatever the circumstance, DUI defense attorneys can still advise individuals concerning their legal options if an arrest does take place. These attorneys will look at one's individual circumstances and provide aggressive representation in court.

Source: Rockford Register Star, "A joint smoked a week ago can get you an Illinois DUI - some want that to change," Kevin Haas, March 21, 2014

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