LOW PERCENTAGE OF MARIJUANA DUI ARRESTS IN COLORADO
Could Washington’s numbers tell the same story about marijuana DUI arrests?
A recent report in the state of Colorado, covered by the Durango Herald, explained the
actual ratio of DUI arrests that are marijuana DUIs. According to the numbers, 1,028 DUI arrests have had some involvement with marijuana in some way. That includes either marijuana being one contributing factor to drivers being convicted of marijuana DUI only (that is, being under the influence of marijuana ONLY being the reason for the DUI).
While the numbers themselves are Colorado’s, can we expect a similar ratio in Washington? Possibly, due to one theory behind what the numbers are telling us: marijuana DUI laws are still in their infancy, and aren’t as established as alcohol DUI laws. Alcohol DUI laws are pretty clear cut: if your blood alcohol content is over a certain amount, regardless if you appear under the influence or not, you are in fact subject to a DUI conviction. Alcohol intoxication is universally accepted as a serious driving issue, regardless of the driver, when the BAC limit is approached or reached.
A marijuana DUI has the same blood content threshold, but measures THC per milliliter of blood. Currently in Washington, the magic number is five nanograms. This amount is astonishingly low, and some say arbitrarily decided by legislators when writing the I-502. Therefore, it’s been habitually contested and refuted by courts, leading to a lower amount of marijuana DUI convictions at the court level as well. Simply put, marijuana DUI convictions are easier to fight – even the courts recognize the unstable nature of these laws.
This might sound like good news to you, if you do use marijuana. However, historically, when there is a need for improved practices to make a system more efficient, that need is met. Another issue in this argument: breathalyzers are developed to be much more accurate in a field sobriety test to detect the alcohol content in your body, much less so for THC. Future products, for example an improved breathalyzer that makes it easier to pinpoint THC levels in the blood, may make it harder for defense attorneys to argue a marijuana DUI case.
If and when that happens, Eric Johnson Insurance will be there for you.