Most everyone knows what to expect when dealing with an Alcohol related DUI. You will be asked to perform field sobriety tests like the one-leg stand test and the walk-and-turn test, and a breathalyzer test. However, police officers’ procedures and tests for marijuana-related DUIs are not as well known.
This leads to people asking, how do cops test for a weed DUI?
Chemical Tests for a Marijuana DUI
In order to be formally charged with a cannabis-related DUI, the police officer must prove the presence of marijuana in your bloodstream. Field sobriety tests, even the most commonly used ones like the walk-and-turn test and the horizontal-gaze-nystagmus test, will not properly demonstrate the presence of marijuana in your bloodstream. Therefore, a chemical test administered by the authorities is necessary.
There are 3 major types of chemical tests for weed in your system in the state of California. Law enforcement officers may request that you perform one of the three or even all three. These three tests pertain to a urine sample, a blood sample, and a saliva sample.
Marijuana will stay in your urine the longest. It will usually stay for about a month, and then after that, the chemical test will, most likely, not be able to detect the presence of marijuana. Cannabis will typically stay in your blood for about a week, while it will only stay in your saliva for about a day. Some other states allow their law enforcement officers also to test hair samples because marijuana stays in your hair for the longest amount of time (up to 3 months).
What Do These Tests Even Measure?
With a breathalyzer test for alcohol-related DUIs, we know that it is testing for a person’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Yet, marijuana chemical exams are testing for something different, even though they are still searching for the presence of cannabis in your system. These urine, saliva, and blood tests measure cannabinoid metabolites.
These metabolites are molecular substances that are first formed when your body is breaking down any type of drug. According to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia, cannabis produces over a hundred of those metabolites, yet only a few are measured in marijuana chemical testing. Delta-9-THC is one cannabinoid metabolite that is often tested for because Delta-9-THC is the primary psychoactive metabolite in marijuana.
Cannabidiol (CBD) can also be measured, yet less frequently than THC. You can be charged for a marijuana-related violation, including a drug DUI if you were tested for marijuana and they found these metabolites in your system. The best way to avoid this type of situation from happening is to not get behind the wheel at all when you have partaken in smoking weed.
Regardless, a Los Angeles DUI lawyer is at your disposal to help minimize or even drop the DUI charges against you.
At-Home Tests for Marijuana Drug Use
Being able to test if there is still marijuana in your system before you get behind the wheel of a car would be a great way to avoid DUIs and disasters. This is especially true considering that 2 in 5 drivers who self-reported their alcohol and marijuana use in the latest year of recorded data admitted to driving while impaired. This staggering statistic comes from a Columbia University study, and they also mention that of those 40% self-reported DUIs, 34% of them were directly linked to cannabis use.
At-home testing kits for marijuana would help bring down the number of cannabis-related DUIs. At-home tests for marijuana in your system do, in fact, exist. They serve as an initial drug screening and not as confirmation testing, so if your at-home tests produce positive results, then do not get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle because you are too inebriated to drive.
However, after a positive test result from a home test, you will need to send a sample to a laboratory to get more of a definitive conclusion.
An officer of the law is going to make some educated assumptions about you and the way you are behaving if they suspect you might have been driving impaired. There is good reason to believe that you might have been driving high on marijuana if your eyes are red and watery with dilated pupils, your breathing is really fast, along with a rapid heart rate, and your car smells like cannabis. However, it is important to understand that this is not enough information for police to go off of to charge you with a drug-related DUI.
There needs to be formal chemical testing performed before they can officially arrest you. Otherwise, you have grounds to hire a criminal defense lawyer and sue them.
How a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Can Help You
A Los Angeles DUI Lawyer is a criminal defense lawyer that specializes in cases dealing with alcohol and drug-related DUIs. We intend to work tirelessly to either have the DUI charges dropped altogether or, at the very least, have the penalties minimized.
We can argue that the tests were conducted properly by the law enforcement officers. We can defend you by saying that the prosecution’s evidence against you is either incredibly weak or illegally obtained. Along with those two arguments, we can build it off of the fact that you might have tested positive for marijuana with a urine sample test.
This evidence can be easily misconstrued by the prosecution because cannabis stays in your urine for about a month. You could have last smoked weed 3 weeks prior to being pulled over and yet, still fail the urine drug test. Having experienced legal counsel with these types of cases can be the difference between walking out of the courthouse with your head held high and smiling or being handcuffed and frowning for your future.
Contact a Los Angeles DUI Attorney Today
Getting hit with a marijuana-related DUI charge should not have to feel like the end of the word. Hiring a Los Angeles DUI attorney today would be the best plan of action moving forward. This is because we can build a defense case where your DUI charges are either dropped or penalties minimized.
At the very least, you still have constitutional rights that need to be upheld. Get ahold of us today and receive a free and confidential case evaluation.