It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. This is true regardless of where that marijuana was purchased or why it is being used. Someone who is impaired by this substance should not be behind the wheel of a vehicle, the same way that someone should not drive after drinking alcohol.
But how do the police know if someone is high while they’re driving their car? How is marijuana going to affect that driver, and what are some of the signs that the police are going to look for in order to spot someone who is impaired? After all, they do need to have reasonable suspicion to pull over the car.
Potential impacts of marijuana
Marijuana affects your brain, specifically the areas that control things like judgment, coordination, balance and movement.
One problem that it creates for drivers is that it slows down their reactions. So the police may look for a driver who hits the brakes far too late, as if they didn’t see traffic stop ahead of them, or a driver who doesn’t go forward immediately when a light turns green because they haven’t realized that it’s their turn.
Marijuana can also distort perceptions and the ability to make decisions. A driver who is impaired may think that it’s their turn at a four-way stop when it actually is not their turn, for example. They may think that they’re driving the correct direction down a one-way street when they’re really going the wrong way.
Finally, marijuana can affect motor skills and coordination. If the police see a driver who is drifting back and forth on the road and doesn’t seem to be in control of their vehicle, they may pull over that car on suspicion that the driver is under the influence.
Have you been arrested?
Are you facing charges for driving under the influence of drugs? If so, they can have a major impact on your future so you need to know what legal defense options you have.