How do police enforce Marijuana DUI cases in South Carolina?

Hi, my name is Dale Savage and I’m a criminal defense attorney here in Charleston, South Carolina. Today we’re going to talk about DUI based on marijuana usage, and what you need to know. When we’re talking about these types of cases it’s important that you understand how the State prosecutes them, so you know how to defend them. So how do they do that in this state?

In South Carolina, the prosecutor has to prove that you were driving a motor vehicle in the State of South Carolina while under the influence, and that your faculties were materially and appreciably impaired.

So how do they do this? A marijuana DUI typically starts off just like an alcohol-related DUI. There’ll be a traffic stop. The officer will ask you to get out of the vehicle. They will often ask you to perform the standard field sobriety test and following that you’ll be placed under arrest and charged with driving under the influence. You’ll then be required to provide a breath sample, and many times when you do provide that breath sample, it will come back as 0.00.

Urine/Blood Sample

So what does the State do to prove that you were driving under the influence of marijuana? They do this in one of two ways. They’ll request either a urine sample or a blood sample. If you do provide a sample, the test results will come back and either be positive or negative for the marijuana metabolites. A good defense attorney knows that, just because you tested positive for the marijuana metabolites, doesn’t necessarily mean that you were driving under the influence of those metabolites at the time of your arrest. This is important because this is one of the elements that the State must prove to get a conviction at trial.

Marijuana DUI Defense

So how do we assert this defense? If the State hasn’t already done so, we need to request a comprehensive tox screen called a quantitative analysis. This test will show what type of marijuana metabolites were in your system, and how much of those metabolites are measuring nanograms per milliliters. What we need to see is how much of the Delta-9-THC was in your system at the time of your arrest and how much of the Carboxy-THC was in your system. This is important because the Delta-9-THC is the psychoactive element of marijuana, which gets you high, and that’s the part that the State is going to use to show impairment. This is important because the Carboxy-THC element is not psychoactive and this will not contribute to impairment, so it’s important that we look at the difference between these two, and see which one is present.

Charleston, SC DUI Lawyer

Another factor that makes these cases difficult for prosecutors to get a conviction in is, when you’re talking with marijuana DUIs, there isn’t a direct number correlating with those nanograms per milliliters of the Delta-9-THC to establish impairment. What I mean by that is, if you look at alcohol-related DUIs in the State of South Carolina, if you provide a breath sample of 0.08 or greater, the State can use that as an inference that you were under the influence at the time of the test. However, when it comes to marijuana DUIs, there is no number correlated. Earlier we talked about the Delta-9-THC, and that was measured by nanograms per milliliters. There is no number correlated with that to establish what impairment is. So, if you have a marijuana DUI case and would like to know more about it, please give me a call at (843) 530-7813. I hope this video was helpful and thanks for watching.

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