Pitt Develops THC Breathalyzer – More Marijuana DUIs are Coming
A handheld breathalyzer device that can detect THC has been developed at the University of Pittsburgh. While the device is not yet ready for mass production, it could be coming within a few months. This means the police will soon have a powerful tool to charge people with marijuana-related DUI.
The consequences of a DUI involving marijuana conviction can be severe, but you do not have to face your charges alone. Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC represents people across the Pittsburgh area who are facing DUI charges whether they involve alcohol, marijuana, or any other substance. With knowledge and experience, we will fight for your rights and make sure you get the best possible result.
New Technology Brings New Questions
The THC breathalyzer uses nanotechnology to detect the presence of several breath compounds, including THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. While the technology appears to be able to accurately determine the presence of THC, it cannot correlate the amount of THC to the level of impairment. In other words, scientists do not know what concentration of THC in the blood would reliably indicate that the driver is impaired.
Marijuana DUI in Pennsylvania
The question of how much THC is safe for drivers may be moot in Pennsylvania. Under Pennsylvania law, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle with any amount of a Schedule I or Schedule II drug in your system. While Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous with the highest potential for abuse, you should be aware that marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug. This means that you may be found guilty of DUI if you have any amount of marijuana in your bloodstream. This would typically require a blood test, but the device under development could change that.
Understanding The Prosecution’s Marijuana DUI Case
If you get pulled over, the officer may suspect that you are impaired. This may be because they smell marijuana, your eyes are dilated, and you are unable to speak clearly. At that point, they will require you to perform various field sobriety tests. Based on the officer’s observations, you may then be charged with DUI for marijuana. You may then requested to undergo chemical testing via a blood or urine test.
You should be aware that under Pennsylvania’s “implied consent law,” refusing to comply with the blood or urine test carries serious consequences. If you refuse, your license will be automatically suspended for 12 months, and you will have to pay significant fines to have your license reinstated. Furthermore, the prosecution can still charge you with DUI and rely upon the officer’s observations and other circumstances to get a conviction.
Potential Penalties of a Marijuana DUI
Marijuana DUIs are aggressively prosecuted, and the consequences are severe. If convicted for a first offense, you face the following punishment:
- Mandatory six-month probation
- License suspension of 12 months
- Fines up to $300
- Mandatory traffic school and possible drug treatment program
The consequences become more severe if you have prior DUI convictions. For example, if this is your second DUI, you could be facing up to six months in jail.
Contact a Pittsburgh Marijuana DUI Lawyer
A marijuana DUI or drug possession charge can have life-changing consequences if you are convicted. The best thing you can do is to get someone on your side to fight for your rights. The marijuana DUI lawyers at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC know what it takes to get you a fair result.