I am getting charged with a DUI for a Schedule 1 controlled substance (marijuana). I was parked because I was lost and needed to use my GPS. A cop knocked on my window. My passenger had weed on her body, and he picked up the smell. I did not want to rat my friend out, so when the cop asked when I had last smoked marijuana, I answered truthfully and told him it was several hours before I started operating. He made me get out of the car, asked my name. I told him and offered him my license which was in my car. He refused to let me back in my car to retrieve it. He then conducted a field sobriety test, and failed me for my left eye not crossing in when he moved the pen towards my nose (after taking my glasses off). I was then arrested and taken for blood where i had residual THC
There are some clear issues in your case. Most often the probable cause to stop or arrest are indicated. The fact that you were parked is not determinative, there is law that cuts both ways in those types of cases and I would have to know more about the case to determine if that was an issue. HGN, the test you are referring to is an excellent indicator of impairment, perhaps the best, but it is something that can be challenged in PA courts. The issue is did the officer have other facts which pointed to impairment. Its likeky that he did not as the inactive metabolites of marijuana do not cause impairment. finally, and worst for you, driving a vehicle even with the inactive metabolites merely oresent in your system is sufficient for DUI in Pennsylvania.
The nature of your DUI, drug related, places it in the highest tier with mandatory fines, jail time and license suspensions. Your best bet is to hire an attorney who is familiar with DUI litigation and disucuss what your best strategy is. You may very well have issues to litigate that a DUI lawyer will be familiar with. Importantly, if you cant prevail on your issues, they may also know alternati e resolutions that can keep you out of jail. DUIs are serious, its not a good time for self help. Sit down with an attorney ASAP.
In many states you can get a DUI for having marijuana in your system. You should contact a criminal defense lawyer in your state.
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Mr. Hyde has covered this matter thoroughly and correctly. I reaffirm that because of the nature of their practice, public defenders are often the most experienced attorney in the courtroom. I add only that it is a good idea to look to family to help out financially in these situations. Good luck.
The blood test results will be a problem if they indicate TCH. Having any THC in your blood within 2 hours of driving a car is enough to meet the requirements of the DUI statute. While it seems unfair that you may have ingested marijuana two, three or four weeks prior to the blood test, and the metabolites have remained in your system, it is currently the law. I am not sure in your county, but in Allegheny, the lab tests for nano grams and there was discussion that the DA was considering not prosecuting cases where the nano gram reading was minuscule. I know that has nothing to do with your county if your lab is not using nano technology or the DA will not deviate from prosecution with lower amounts. You could always have your attorney file a motion to have the blood independently tested by another lab if that lab can distinguish nano grams and your results are so small that a jury may not convict you. Secondly, your statement will hurt you. If it was blurted out by you, and not a result of custodial interrogation without Miranda warnings, then you are stuck with it and it can and will be used against you as no one would normally make such an incriminating statement if not true. Lastly, lack of probable cause to stop a vehicle, or ask a citizen to step out of the vehicle, or seize the person's blood, is always a challenge to prove, but a wonderful defense if you the right facts. I would have an attorney not only look at the blood tests but especially the facts to determine if there is a lack of probable cause to stop your vehicle and get you out of the car. Just sitting on the side of the road generally may not be sufficient probable cause to stop you. However, stopped on the berm of a busy road at 3 am, may be sufficient for the police to inquire as to your situation. There was a great case I used in the past on this probable cause issue, Commonwealth v. Dewitt (1992) , but I would need to research to see if it is still valid law. The other thing I would mention is that if this is your first offense, you may be eligible for ARD, which if you complete the program there will only be a 60 day license suspension, but more importantly, no jail time and no conviction on your record.
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