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Managing driving issues related to pot legalization

California residents will have a chance to vote in November on a proposition dealing with legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Some might be concerned about the potential legal problems they could face because of blood or urine testing in a DUI case. While standards for alcohol limits are clear, few states have developed standards related to driving and THC intoxication levels. A Stanford University team may change this situation with a new technology that is in development.

Drunk driving charges are typically contingent on BAC levels, which can be measured quickly and accurately with breath testing equipment. A saliva test is believed to be an effective way to accurately assess marijuana intoxication levels in a similarly prompt manner. A swab provides the sample needed while being minimally invasive. The THC antibodies used in the testing system attach to THC in the sample, and the number of antibodies activated can be computed and transmitted to a computer or smartphone. This same technology has the potential for providing information about drug intoxication with morphine and other controlled substances.

States are still left with the task of determining how much THC will be considered acceptable for driving. As these issues are considered, inconsistencies from state to state could create legal challenges. Additionally, those using traditional methods of drug testing might face challenges from defendants showing residual traces of THC after legally using marijuana for medical purposes. A lawyer defending a client in a case of driving under the influence might address inconsistent testing standards as a reason for having charges dismissed.

People who are facing charges for driving under the influence of controlled substances might seek a plea arrangement with the assistance of their defense attorneys if there is compelling evidence against them. However, questionable evidence such as tainted test samples might provide an avenue for having charges dismissed. Improper sobriety testing protocol could provide another avenue for challenging such allegations.

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John Patrick Ryan has been practicing law for over 20 years. Experienced in criminal law. U.S. Navy Veteran.