Is Driving High Considered DUI?

February 16, 2022
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For many years we have focused our attention on client’s who have been pulled over for driving under the influence of alcohol.  These clients needed a New Haven DUI attorney to work with them to insure that their rights were being preserved and that they would get a fair shake under the law.  Since the Connecticut General Assembly made recreational marijuana legal in the state we have been getting a lot of questions about whether or not getting high and then getting behind the wheel is considered driving under the influence.

The short answer is YES.

In much the same way that you can drink alcohol, but not get behind the wheel of your car, the new marijuana law holds the same expectation.  In fact, the new marijuana law has given police officers more training on how to detect whether someone is high behind the wheel and this can be charged in much the same way as a more “traditional” DUI.

So what can you do if you like to smoke marijuana recreationally and need to get to and from your destination?  When you are planning on getting high you should always have a plan on how you are going to get to and from your destination for the evening.  You can designate a driver who will not get high for the evening and can drive home sober without causing any problems.  You can plan to use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft to get to and from your destination while allowing all of the people in your party to participate in the recreational use of marijuana.  You can plan to spend the night at your destination so you don’t have to worry about a ride until the morning.  Anything that allows you to participate in the use of recreational drugs and keeps you from behind the wheel while under the influence of drug will be a much better choice then getting behind the wheel and being pulled over or worse, getting into an accident while high is a better choice.

While law enforcement does not have any tests that are currently used to determine if you are behind the wheel and have been doing drugs, the police department has access to drug recognition experts (DRE) who are trained to detect whether you are under the influence of marijuana and their testimony can be used as evidence against you in a criminal case.

If you are pulled over and are suspected of being under the influence of drugs, you will not be given a test, per se, but you will be evaluated by an officer, an evaluation that you must comply with as there may be penalties for refusing to do so.  While currently your license cannot be suspended based on these evaluations, new legislation which takes effect in April of 2022 will allow your license to be suspended based on “evidence of behavioral impairment.”

Whether you’re an occasional user  of recreational marijuana or you smoke regularly you may need to consult with a New Haven DUI attorney in the event that you get pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence.  If you find yourself in this situation contact our office and one of our experienced attorneys can review your case.