Illinois residents do not have to be impaired to be guilty of DUI. Use of marijuana days, or even weeks, before an arrest could be enough to constitute the offense.
Under Illinois law, a person is guilty of DUI if he or she drives under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving, or if there is any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in the person’s breath, blood, or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis.
For first offenders, potential penalties include the loss of your driver’s license for one year, imprisonment for up to one year, and a fine of up to $2,500. This applies to all members of the public except those licensed under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, which allows individuals who have been diagnosed by a physician as having a “debilitating medical condition” to possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis during a 14-day period that is derived solely from an intrastate source.
Because cannabis metabolites can be detected in a person’s body up to one month after use, actual impairment is not an element of the offense of drugged driving. Under Illinois law, police can order chemical testing under the “implied consent” law, providing that if you drive on Illinois roads, you imply to the state that you automatically consent to such a test as a privilege of driving, and refusal can result in an automatic license suspension.
After alcohol, marijuana is the second-most common chemical under the influence of which people drive in Illinois. The state has taken a strong stance against impaired driving, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates accounts for nearly 50% of all Illinois motor vehicle fatalities. The strict liability aspect of having a trace amount of drugs in the body and driving (even if that drug was marijuana consumed weeks before), can lead to life-changing ramifications. An experienced attorney can guide an individual through the legal process and ensure that his or her rights are protected.