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How testing can fail in a crash involving marijuana use

On Behalf of | Aug 1, 2019 | Firm News |

Let us say that law enforcement arrested you on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, specifically marijuana, after you T-boned another vehicle at an intersection.

You are a college student, and this is your first offense. You do not know what to expect or how a conviction will affect your future.

Issues with driving skills

Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in the crash, but it is not difficult to see how the use of marijuana can impair your driving skills. Studies indicate that it affects concentration as well as your ability to judge time and distance correctly. Drivers under the influence of marijuana may experience drowsiness, become distracted and use excessive speed. Research also shows that when absorbed into the bloodstream, the psychoactive chemical called THC, which is present in marijuana, is a factor in driving performance impairment

Increased risk of a crash

According to a 2015 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, THC in the bloodstream of a driver increases the chance of a vehicle crash by 1.25 times. The age group most at risk includes young men whose ages range from the late teens to the 20s.

Marijuana plus alcohol

When a driver mixes alcohol with marijuana, the chances of having a vehicle crash increases significantly. The adverse effect on driving skills multiplies. In fact, NHTSA research shows that when accidents become fatalities, the combination of alcohol and drugs is a factor in about 11% of the accidents.

Testing issues and your defense

No doubt you worry about a conviction and the effect on your future, but remember that you have rights. A thorough investigation by your defense team is likely to reveal discrepancies and errors that will help your case. For example, drugs may not have impaired you at the time of the crash. While current testing procedures can pick up traces of marijuana, those traces may come from the marijuana you smoked yesterday, or the day before that. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that if both alcohol and drugs were present in your system when tested, it will be difficult to ascertain what exactly contributed to the vehicle crash.