Defenses to Charges for Driving While High on Weed

Defenses to Charges for Driving While High on WeedEver since our neighboring states started decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana, Tennessee’s law enforcement has been on a tear trying to crack down on alleged drugged drivers. If you have been pulled over and then charged with driving while high on weed (or any other controlled substance), you want to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer ASAP.

Remember: a marijuana DUI arrest does not mean that you have been convicted. You still have time to work with an experienced and skilled Franklin drug crimes attorney from our firm who will fight to protect you. .

Potential defenses if you’re arrested for driving on weed

There are several different defenses to driving while high on marijuana:

  1. The traffic stop was illegal: The first thing we look at is the initial traffic stop made by the officer. Was there reasonable suspicion to pull you over? Did the officer pull you over because he recognized you, and you have a criminal record? Were you pulled over for one thing and then detained unlawfully so a drug-sniffing dog could be called in? Did they receive an “anonymous” tip? Was your car searched without a warrant? Did the officer use excessive force? If the stop was unlawful, then any alleged evidence found during that stop can be suppressed.
  2. The arrest was illegal: Were you arrested even though no marijuana was visible on your person or in your car? Was there another probable cause? Were you read your Miranda Rights when you were arrested? Were you denied access to your lawyer? Was the arrest based on field sobriety tests, which were not designed to test for marijuana? If the arrest itself was invalid, we will argue to have the charges dropped and the case thrown out.
  3. You may have had weed in your system, but you were not intoxicated: Although your urine or blood test showed that you had weed in your system, that doesn’t mean you were high while you were driving. The prosecutor will need to show valuable evidence that you were intoxicated and that it impaired your ability to drive. If there is no evidence showing that you were driving recklessly, the prosecutor may not have a successful case against you.
  4. The tests were faulty: One of the most common defenses used in these types of cases is stating that the urine or blood test was likely contaminated, which led to positive results. False positives are possible and lab technicians make mistakes, and we may argue this point if applicable to your case. If we learn there was any break in the chain of custody, we may be able to have the test results suppressed or thrown out, and that can make it much harder to prove the case against you.
  5. The DRE’s assessment was wrong: Drug Recognition Experts, or DREs, are officers who are trained to detect if a person is on drugs. They are not medical professionals, and the 12-step evaluation system is not perfect. If a case hinges on a DRE’s assessment, we will argue that this assessment is incorrect or unverifiable. If a non-DRE runs the assessment, we will work to have that “evidence” and corresponding testimony thrown out.
  6. You have a medical condition or illness that is similar to the effects of drug intoxication: There are several illnesses or health conditions that can have similar symptoms to drug intoxication, such as diabetes, severe fatigue, strokes, Alzheimer’s, a traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, and more. Doctor’s notes and medical records may be able to support these facts and prove that you have a medical condition or illness that mimics drug intoxication. Note: if you are on a medication that can mimic these effects, we can present that as evidence in your defense.

Does Tennessee have a “drugged” driving law?

According to TN Code § 55-10-401, it is against the law to operate any type of motor vehicle on any type of roadway while:

under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance, controlled substance analogue, drug, substance affecting the central nervous system, or combination thereof that impairs the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle by depriving the driver of the clearness of mind and control of oneself that the driver would otherwise possess.

This means that in Franklin and other Tennessee cities, drivers can be charged with DUI if they are caught driving while high on weed. However, unlike alcohol, there is currently no percentage given for how much THC found in the driver’s body is considered “high” or intoxicated.

Are you dealing with a marijuana DUI charge in Franklin, TN? If so, the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates is here to help you fight this charge. All you have to do is call our office or submit our  contact form to schedule a consultation today. At this case review meeting, we will sit down with you and learn about your traffic stop, arrest, and DUI weed charges to give us a better understanding of what happened and how we can legally assist you. Our criminal defense lawyers are located in Franklin, Brentwood, and Columbia for your convenience.