Imagine you pick up a friend so that both of you can grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant. Your friend's clothing smells like marijuana. However, you think nothing of it until you see the flashing blue and red lights in your rearview mirror. As the cop walks up to the door and smells the marijuana smoke on your friend's clothing, you know this situation isn't going to end well. After nearly an hour of answering questions and a field sobriety test, you find yourself being arrested and charged with a DWI.
Being Charged with a DWI for Marijuana Use
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws in Fort Worth, Texas doesn't just affect people who have had too much to drink and then decide to get behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. You can also be arrested if you have taken a controlled substance or a drug that is deemed to negatively impact your physical or mental abilities such as coordination, perception, judgment or mental focus. This law includes marijuana even though studies have not yet determined whether cannabis has any impact on motor vehicle driving performance.
There is a very low bar set for what constitutes an arrest for marijuana DWI. Obviously, if they find marijuana in the vehicle or on your person, then they have enough probable cause for some type of arrest. Yet you can also be arrested on the suspicion of driving while being high due to circumstantial evidence. If they smell marijuana in the vehicle, or a Drug Recognition Expert (a specially trained officer) tests your pupils to see if there is nystagmus or the involuntary jerking of the eyes, they may suspect that you are driving while intoxicated.
Are There Tests Used for Marijuana DWI?
Yes. Police officers may want to run a blood or urine test to detect whether there is any presence of marijuana (THC) in your body. Unfortunately, due to how marijuana can linger in the blood system for several hours, and up to 12 to 24 hours for chronic smokers, a person may test positive.
These toxicology examinations can also provide a false positive. However, since there are no established minimum limits regarding the amount of marijuana in your system that would warrant an arrest, you could still find yourself taken down to the police station for very low concentrations of metabolites in your system.
If you find yourself or a loved one being arrested for marijuana DWI, contact Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC. We are criminal defense attorneys as we can review your case and provide options on how to protect your rights.