Can Cannabis Use Lead to a DUI Charge in Illinois?

St. Charles DUI marijuana attorney

If you are like most people, you probably assume that driving under the influence (DUI) only refers to driving while intoxicated from alcohol use. However, this is not the only way that a person can be charged with DUI in Illinois. According to Illinois statutes, it is against the law to drive while under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Even medical marijuana users or individuals taking prescription medications can be at risk of receiving a DUI if the drug hinders their ability to drive safely.

How Will the Legalization of Marijuana Affect Illinois DUI Laws?

Illinois will soon be the 11th U.S. state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. House Bill 1438 was signed into law by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker in June 2019, and it will take effect on January 1, 2020. After this date, adults 21 years old or older will be able to legally purchase marijuana, THC-containing edibles, and cannabis concentrate products. However, it is critical for Illinois residents to understand that they are still subject to DUI laws regarding driving under the influence of cannabis even after legalization takes effect. Illinois law prohibits driving under the influence of “any drug or combination of drugs to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving.” If you are driving under the influence of marijuana and are stopped by a police officer, you could be arrested for DUI.

How Is Bodily Cannabis Concentration Measured?

In all 50 U.S. states, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Most police officers use a portable BAC test like a Breathalyzer to determine a potential drunk driver’s BAC. However, there is no equivalent test for marijuana intoxication. If you are arrested for driving under the influence of cannabis, you may be required to submit to a blood or urine testing. According to Illinois law, a person is presumed to be under the influence of cannabis when he or she has a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of 5 nanograms or more in his or her blood or 10 nanograms or more in another bodily substance. Depending on the circumstances, penalties for driving while under the influence of marijuana can range from fines to loss of driving privileges to prison time. 

Contact a St. Charles DUI Defense Attorney

The legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois takes effect in January 2020. This new law can lead to criminal charges if a person uses any form of marijuana before operating a vehicle. If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you need the guidance of a diligent Illinois criminal defense lawyer. The Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC can help defend your rights to avoid a criminal record. Call our office at 630-232-1780 to schedule a free, confidential consultation today.