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What happens if you drive while under the influence of marijuana?

When a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating a vehicle, he or she is facing a higher chance of an accident. Drunk driving is a serious safety concern, as is drugged driving, and the penalties for either one of these can be steep. With the legalization of certain uses of marijuana, drugged driving may become more prevalent. It may be helpful to know what to expect if charged with drugged driving in Illinois. 

Even with a valid prescription for medical cannabis, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana. Intoxicated driving of any kind can result in significant penalties, including loss of driving privileges, time behind bars and more. If charged with drugged driving, you would be wise to begin developing a defense strategy suited to your individual needs and objectives. 

What does Illinois law say? 

In Illinois, a driver can face DUI charges if he or she drives under the influence of drugs or any combination of drugs and alcohol to the point where the driver is unable to safely operate the vehicle. A driver may also face DUI charges if there is any amount of drug found in his or her system from the unlawful consumption of cannabis, unless it is THC less than 5ng/ml. Individuals suspected of drugged driving may require chemical testing by law enforcement. 

You may have a valid prescription for marijuana for the treatment and management of certain types of medical conditions. While you may have a valid reason to possess and consume marijuana, this does not constitute a valid defense in a DUI case. In fact, you could face the same penalties you may face if convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. In Illinois, even a first offense could result in penalties of as much as $2,500. 

Defending your future 

Even with a valid prescription, drugged driving can have a significant negative impact on your future. It is in your interests to pursue a beneficial outcome to your case by developing a practical and effective defense strategy by which you can confront the prosecution’s case. With the right approach, you may be able to avoid a conviction for drugged driving and preserve your future interests. 

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