Seattle Times article suggests WSP putting more emphasis on marijuana DUIs
I recently came across a Seattle Times article titled, “WSP puts more emphasis on high drivers.” Since the legalization of marijuana in my opinion it seems like there are more and more DUI marijuana arrests in Seattle. And this article helps confirm that. Here is my concern.
Alcohol DUI investigations and Marijuana DUI investigations are completely different in terms of evidence that can be gathered. Yes they both share some commonalities. For example a driver can admit to drinking alcohol just the same as a driver can admit to using marijuana. Additionally they both carry some sort of odor that can be identified by law enforcement. But that is really it.
And in my opinion as a Seattle DUI Attorney I see more and more people who get arrested for a marijuana DUI and those are the only two “clues” or “observations” the police officer. Unlike an alcohol related DUI there are no standardized field sobriety test that can be used to investigate whether a driver is impaired or affected by alcohol. Also unlike an alcohol related DUI there is no portable breath test used to determine whether a driver is over the legal limit for marijuana.
So most times when people get arrested for a marijuana DUI in Seattle it is because they admitted to the police officer that they used marijuana at some point earlier or the police officer smells the odor, or there is some kind of paraphernalia in plain view. Unfortunately it is my opinion that is not enough evidence to arrest someone for a marijuana DUI but that is what happens.
The Seattle Times article mentions three questions that the police are asking people when it comes to marijuana DUI investigations. Basically have you used, how long ago, and how much weed do you have on your person. Those questions just goes to show you how inadequate the investigations are for marijuana DUI cases and the conclusions that the police jump to in deciding whether to make an arrest.
Here is the article if you want to check it out. Linky
About the author: Matthew Leyba is the firm owner of Leyba Defense PLLC, a DUI law firm located in Seattle, WA. He has been repeatedly recognized as one of the best Seattle DUI Attorneys by both Avvo.com, and the Seattle Met Magazine.