In Alabama, it is a crime to drive while high on weed.
So, what happens if you're busted for this?
The prosecution has to prove three elements to convict somebody of driving under the influence of weed.
First, they have to prove that you're driving.
This usually is not hard since the officer typically pulls over a person while they are driving.
Second, they have to prove the person was under the influence of marijuana.
Sometimes this is difficult for a prosecutor to establish.
So how does the prosecutor try to prove it?
It depends on the facts of the specific case:
Sometimes the accused person supplies the evidence by saying something dumb: “Man, I was just smoking some high-grade weed before you pulled me over. “
Sometimes people are caught in the act. There might be a still smoldering joint in the ashtray. The prosecutor can also try to prove that someone was driving while high through blood or urine tests
By the way, they have invented a weed breathalyzer but as the date of this writing, it's not yet being used in Alabama
Proving a person was under the influence can be difficult for prosecutors. In other words, just because somebody has been arrested doesn't always mean the prosecutors can make their case; if they can't, the accused should be acquitted.
The third element required for a conviction is for the prosecution to prove the person was impaired by the marijuana to the extent that they could not safely operate a vehicle in Alabama.
The prosecution will try to establish this in a variety of ways.
The officer may testify that the accused displayed difficulty in their driving or had poor coordination.
They may bring to the scene a police officer who has training as a drug recognition expert. This officer may later testify, based on their training and experience their opinion that the accused was too impaired to drive.
Whether this is effective depends on the facts of the case, the skill of the officer and the skill of the defense lawyer cross-examining the officer.
What Alabama does not have is any specific legal guidelines as to how much THC in a person system makes a person dangerous behind the wheel. So, unlike a driving into the influence of alcohol case where a specific level of blood in a person system constitutes a presumption that they are under the influence, in weed cases, there is no specific number or amount of THC concentration in the blood that means you are too impaired to drives.
So, what do you do if you're charged with driving under the influence of marijuana?
If you're smart you'll get a lawyer as quickly as he possibly can. Of course, if you want our help, just give us a call here at Segal and Segal.