I was recently pulled over for speeding, but then was given a DUI?

Asked about 2 years ago - Seattle, WA

The case is still kind of up the air for me. I was recently stopped for going 72 on a 60 zone, but the officer had mention I smelled of alcohol. I informed him that was not alcohol he was smelling and it was marijuana which I do have proper documentation to possess(green card). He then gave me a sobriety test and breathalizer which I blew .02. He impounded my car, sent me to a hospital to have my blood drawn and I was released shortly after. This incident took place 5/24/12 at 1:30am. I had a beer around midnight and last time I smoked was at 9pm (4 hrs prior). Should I be expecting anymore charges from the state patrol or should this be it?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Scott Weymouth Lawrence

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

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    Answered . Blood test results can take months to be processed. Medical marijuana is a valid defense to possession and use of marijuana. It is not a defence to driving under the influence. When your blood draw results are returned the officer will forward that information along with the police reports to the proper prosecuting attorney. Prosecutor will then decide whether to initiate charges. If you have active thc in your system there is a high probability you will be charged. Do not need to retain an attorney today, but you should start shopping around so that you know who you're going to hire when the charges are filed.

    Scott. Lawrence
    Law Office of Scott Lawrence

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  2. Linda Medeiros Callahan

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

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    Answered . Unfortunately, you will just have to wait and see. I can tell you that the state toxicology lab, which will be doing the blood analysis, usually takes a couple of months to issue a report of the analysis. They send it to the cop, who in turn sends it to the prosecutor.

    The prosecutor will evaluate your case based upon the quantity of THC in the sample, the fact that you also consumed some alcohol, the results of field sobriety tests, and on your driving 12 mph over the limit.

    The results from the lab will show both the active metabolite (delta 9) and the inactive metabolite (carboxy). Unfortunately, most rookie prosecutors, and even some seasoned prosecutors, aren't aware that the inactive metabolite does not indicate impairment. So when they see a large number there, in the hundreds of nano grams, they think you were hammered.

    In this event, you will need a good DUI attorney who can educate the prosecutor handling the case.

    Since you have a green card, I'm guessing that you consume THC on a frequent basis. If so, that means you will have a high quantity of the inactive metabolite of THC in your blood. It is inactive, which means that its presence does mean you are still "stoned" only the active metabolite is a measure of that.

    If the prosecutor is misled by the inactive metabolite result, you almost certainly will receive a summons in the mail indicating you are charged with a DUI.

    But if the prosecutor looks only at the active delta 9 result, and it is under 5 nano grams, it is less likely that they will charge you.

    In my opinion, due to budget issues that are challenging state, city, and county governments, more "weak" cases are being filed than ever before so that the government can collect more fines, fees and costs from people charged with crimes. This tends to make it more likely that they will file charges against you.

    Be sure that you have your address current with DOL so that the summons, if any, may be mailed to your current address. Also, you should take the time to write a detailed account of the incident. I have a Questionnaire that I send to clients by which I gather from them important details legally relevant to their case and from this, I develop the strategy for defending the client. I would be happy to send it to you free of charge if you would like just so that you can document now, while it is still fresh in your mind, all the relevant details.

    This answer is my personal opinion, offered for informational purposes only. It is not a legal opinion, nor is it... more
  3. Michael F. Morgan

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . The protocols established to admit blood tests in evidence in DUI prosecutions is not always the protocols followed by hospitals when they administer blood tests. If the blood test results in your case are unfavorable, suppressing those results are definitely in your legal interests but does not guarantee a favorable outcome. The surrounding facts of your case--such as your demeanor at the time of arrest, your observed driving, any other drills or tests you took, any statements you made, etc--will have a bearing on the outcome of your case.

    There are also certain license revocation issues you should consider right now.

  4. Hriste Stojanovski

    Contributor Level 4

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    Answered . I agree with my fellow attorneys above concerning whether you will be charged. If you are charged, the prosecutor’s case will turn on whether he/she can prove you were impaired at the time of driving. Unlike alcohol DUI (BAC of .08 or higher) drug DUI’s have no bright line level of drugs in your system that a jury can base guilt upon. Thus, your performance on the field sobriety tests (FSTs) will be very important to your case as will the officer’s observations of you noted in his report. Hopefully, the officer/Trooper had a camera in his vehicle and actually recorded the FSTs. Shop around for an attorney and hope the prosecutor does not file charges. If charges are filed, pull the trigger and hire an attorney you're comfortable with because DUI prosecutions generally take months to resolve.

    FYI, next time you’re stopped by law enforcement invoke your Right to Remain Silent and refuse the FSTs because they are voluntary in WA. In a prosecution for DUI the prosecutor can tell the jury that you didn’t take the FSTs, but so what—they’re voluntary.

  5. Robert Ricci

    Contributor Level 17

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Medical marijuana deals with possession and use, not driving while impaired thereby. If it was in your system, you can expect to be charged.

    Legal disclaimer: In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal... more

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