Can I Be Charged With DUI When Using Cannabis in Illinois?

St. Charles cannabis DUI attorney

Many people do not realize it, but alcohol intoxication is not the only way a person can face driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Illinois. Illinois law states that an individual can also be charged with DUI for driving or being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of any controlled substance or drug – even prescription medications and cannabis. Because recreational marijuana is now legal in Illinois for residents aged 21 and older, many people are wondering whether or not they could receive a DUI for driving while under the influence of cannabis.

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana Laws in Illinois

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical compound that is responsible for the psychological effects caused by marijuana use. THC can affect a person’s coordination, concentration, perception of time, memory, reflexes, and more. Having THC in your system can significantly decrease your ability to drive safely if it reduces your reaction time or your ability to drive safely. For these reasons, Illinois DUI laws still include restrictions against driving under the influence of THC.

You can be charged with DUI for driving with a THC blood concentration of 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of any other bodily substance. Registered medical cannabis users in Illinois are exempt from the 5 nanogram maximum. However, it is still possible for medical marijuana users to receive a DUI for driving under the influence of cannabis if their use of the substance causes them to be too intoxicated to drive safely.  

Other Restrictions Regarding Cannabis Use

Following the legalization of marijuana Illinois residents are allowed to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, 500 milligrams of THC in cannabis-infused products, and 5 grams of cannabis concentrate. Users are prohibited from smoking or consuming cannabis in any public place, such as a public sidewalk or park, in a motor vehicle, on school grounds (unless the person is a registered medical marijuana user), around someone under the age of 21, or near on-duty police officers, corrections officers, firefighters, or school bus drivers. As with alcohol, it is illegal to drive with an "open container" of marijuana in a vehicle.

Contact an Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

The legalization of cannabis in Illinois does not change the current laws prohibiting driving under the influence. You can still be charged with a DUI for being impaired due to cannabis use. If you or a loved one have been charged with a marijuana-related DUI or another criminal offense, contact the Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC. We have extensive experience successfully helping Illinois residents fight DUI and drug-related criminal charges. Call us today at 630-232-1780 for a free, confidential consultation with a St. Charles DUI defense lawyer.