I got pulled over for not using my turn signal. I had not been smoking, but the friends I had just picked up from a party were. I smoked earlier that day and up until then I smoked every day.
I know this sounds like a generic answer, but you should really consult an attorney in person right away. The conversation with the attorney would be confidential unlike this forum. You will be able to tell the attorney all the details without risking making admissions, and that attorney could best consult or advise you if retained. Sorry to hear about your misfortune and I wish you the best of luck.
You need a lawyer. With I-502's passage, if you had five or more nanograms of THC in your blood, you're presumed under the influence (much like someone with an alcohol concentration of .08 or more is presumed under the influence).
Did you submit to a blood test? If so, it will be a couple of weeks/months before those results are available because the state toxicology lab has to run your blood. In the meantime, you need to start preparing a defense and the first step in that is hiring a lawyer in your area.
We may all sound like a broken record, but the first thing you should do is consult with an attorney, and attorney who specializes in DUI defense and who is also well trained in DUI defense, because DUI means Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs AND/OR Alcohol. So you need someone who can defend against their evidence that may be in the form of Drug Recognition Evaluation (DRE), or Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE), a blood sample analyses, the DoL procedures triggered by this arrest, as well as being well-regarded and respected in the local courts where your case is filed.
Take your time, evaluate your choices and make sure you are aware of the things you are required to do, such as the DoL 20 day deadline.
You should contact an attorney. Some facts you may want to tell your attorney regarding this matter are: Was there any marijuana being smoked in the car when the traffic stop occurred? Were you driving erratically?
Just because you have THC in your system does not necessarily mean you were under the influence. If you are a regular user, it may take 60+ days to cleanse your system.
As everybody keeps telling you, the sooner you speak to a lawyer the sooner you can begin preparing a defense. With the passage of I-502, there is now a presumptive blood THC level at which you will be considered "per se" impaired. Prior to this, the government had to prove that the MJ in your system was adversely affecting your ability to drive.
With that in mind, the focus of defending a post-I-502 MJ DUI will be to attack the blood results, and hopefully get them suppressed. Please do yourself a favor and interview some lawyers. It can take some time to find the right attorney for you, but it is worth the effort. Best of luck.
Receiving a DUI is a frightening experience and should be taken seriously, but if handled properly by an experienced local attorney, there is every reason to believe that your case can be resolved in a way that will allow you to move forward with your life plans. Each court and each prosecutor's office will handle DUIs differently, so you'll want to seek an attorney who is local and practices in the Ellensburg courts on a regular basis.
As an Ellensburg Attorney myself, I can tell you that one of the most important things you can do for yourself at this point is to make sure you are represented at every stage of the court process. Having an attorney with you from the beginning will give you numerous advantages.
First, you will have someone to explain every step of the process, what is likely to happen and what you can expect moving forward. Dealing with a criminal charge is bound to be one of the most stressful times you will experience. Having an attorney there to stand by your side through this process can give you immense peace and confidence.
Second, by retaining an attorney early, you give your attorney more time to understand your case and to work on a resolution that will be manageable for you. Each and every DUI case is unique, just like each and every person is unique. What one person considers a good resolution for one case may not be a good resolution in your case, so it helps to have an attorney who can understand your particular situation and present your case in a convincing and persuasive manner.
Third, arriving at court with your own attorney can mean less time spent in court, which equals more time getting on with your life. Having an experienced, local attorney with you sends a message to the judge and prosecutor that your case is important to you and that you are taking these proceedings seriously. An attorney can make arguments for you to prosecutors and judges, presenting you in the best light possible. When the judge and prosecutor have a positive view of you as a person, they are more willing to work around your needs. A local attorney will also know the judges and prosecutors and what they are most likely to be persuaded by.
Ultimately, it is your decision how to move forward, but hopefully this gives you a bit more information on which to base you decision.
I agree with the other counsel's advice. I would also add that since I-502's passage, it is actually easier to prove a DUI. The presumptive amount of nanograms is an absurdly low number at this stage. If you smoked earlier in the day or are a regular user, you will probably register at above the presumptive level any time the test is administered. You need an attorney to help suppress the test results.
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