A marijuana breathalyzer developed by Hound Labs in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley finished field testing in California. The breathalyzer, which detects concentrations of THC in a person’s breath, is the latest in cannabis detecting technology to stop drivers from driving high. The device works like the alcohol breathalyzer test. The suspected driver blows air into the device, which then records the concentration of THC in his or her breath. However, it has not yet been decided what amount of marijuana detected in the driver’s breath can be used to establish impairment. The current law states the amount an alcohol breathalyzer can detect before being considered impaired, but not for marijuana. Further, the current blood and urine tests being used reveal whether there is some marijuana in your system. Not how much marijuana is sufficient to impair one’s ability to drive.
Working with California law enforcement, Hound Labs tested the device on driver’s suspected of driving while high. Officers would pull over the suspect and, if the driver failed their field sobriety tests, he or she would then be asked if they would voluntarily blow into the prototype breathalyzer. After recording the driver’s breath, the information would then be relayed to the research team to collect and compare with other results. According to Hound Labs, the device performed well, and they did find a correlation in the amount of THC recorded in comparison to how recently the driver has smoked marijuana. The drivers who failed their sobriety tests were not arrested but rather educated in the dangers of driving high. The drivers were also found alternative transportation to make it home safely.
Due to the promising results, Hound Labs now focuses on improving the size and durability of their breathalyzer. They hope these improvements will make the device easier to handle. At this time, the marijuana breathalyzer is not in use by California police officers. However, this does not mean officers are not on the lookout for driver who may be driving under the influence of cannabis. If you have been charged with a marijuana DUI, the Law Office at Louis G. Goodman can help. Our lawyers have years of experience handling Californian’s changing marijuana laws. We can help protect your rights and defend yourself to the fullest extent of the law.
Although medical marijuana is now legal in California, it’s still illegal to drive under the influence of any drug or alcohol. For alcohol cases, this is usually a simple question. A person is either over the legal limit of a .08, or they’re not. Although a person can be charged when alcohol influences their ability to drive when they’re under a .08 blood alcohol content, this rarely happens.
No legal limit for Marijuana
For marijuana DUI, the line isn’t so bright. The State of California doesn’t have a legal limit for marijuana. They also don’t have a way to test a person’s marijuana levels on the side of the road.
Alcohol is measurable in a person’s breath, so law enforcement can test a person’s alcohol levels using a breathalyzer test. However, marijuana doesn’t appear in the breath, so law enforcement has no way to test your marijuana levels without drawing your blood. For now, a marijuana DUI is hard to detect, and it’s even harder for law enforcement to prove your guilt to the satisfaction of a jury.
Promising New Research
Researchers in California are working on trying to establish a legal limit for driving under the influence of marijuana. To do this, they’re having volunteers smoke marijuana and then use a driving simulator. They’re testing the participants at different strengths of marijuana use and at different intervals between smoking and driving. They’re also having participants take other cognitive tests to determine their ability to think and reason after smoking.
As marijuana use continues to grow, this research becomes more important than ever. Early research shows that drivers aren’t much more likely to be in an accident if they have only moderate levels of marijuana in their system. Ultimately, researchers hope to establish a legal limit for marijuana DUI. They hope that this legal limit, in turn, helps law enforcement create new techniques for detecting drugged driving and fairly enforcing California laws.
We Can Help
If you’re facing a marijuana DUI, the Law Office of Louis J. Goodman can help. Their team of legal professionals has years of experience helping clients navigate California’s complex and changing marijuana and drunk driving laws. If you’re facing any kind of marijuana or drunk driving charge, you should contact our office as soon as possible. The Law Office of Louis J. Goodman can help you protect your rights and defend yourself to the fullest extent of the law.