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Driving while using prescription marijuana could result in DUI

Medical marijuana can be a lifesaver for peoples suffering from certain conditions. But with its use comes certain legal issues to be aware of.

You may already be aware that driving while under the influence of narcotics is illegal in Illinois. But you may not realize that you can still receive a DUI charge even if you have a medical marijuana card. Such a card is not a legal license for you to drive while high or impaired.

A medical marijuana card does not prevent a DUI charge

Your medical marijuana card gives you the right to have the substance in your system. However, it does not give you the permission to drive recklessly or in a manner that endangers the lives of others. If you operate any motor or marine vehicle with marijuana in your system, even if you are not under its influence, you could end up with a marijuana DUI charge.

How law enforcement handles medical marijuana card holders

You may not feel intoxicated when you are behind the wheel. You may not even be driving recklessly. However, if you have marijuana in your system and are in an accident, the officers who arrive on the scene may ask you to perform sobriety tests if they suspect impairment is a factor. Bear in mind that possessing a medical marijuana card requires you to submit to field sobriety testing. Refusing the test can lead to the immediate suspension of your driver’s license. You are also subject to regular DUI impairment arrest and detainment procedures. 

Drivers who use medical marijuana and are arrested for reckless driving face the same penalties as motorists who drive while impaired by other substances. Most people who have medical marijuana cards suffer from serious conditions that significantly impact their health. They may also be on medication that can lead to impairment.

Take steps to avoid these legal complications. If you use medical marijuana and you must travel somewhere, consider having a trusted friend or relative drive you or use a ride share service, taxi or public transportation.

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