Driving While High is Still a Crime in Illinois
Medical marijuana became legal in the State of Illinois on January 1, 2014. However, it is important to note that Illinois law applies strict regulations for using medical marijuana, especially when it comes to driving under the influence of marijuana.
Driving while drunk or drugged can significantly alter the driver’s perceptions and reaction times, leading to serious accidents and catastrophic injuries. If you have sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drugged driver, a lawyer can determine whether or not you are eligible to recover monetary compensation. The personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. may be able to represent you in your case and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Driving While Under the Influence of Medical Marijuana in Illinois
While an individual with trace amounts of medical marijuana technically can drive, it is best not to do so. Specifically, a medical marijuana card does not prevent the police from arresting the driver for operating the vehicle in a reckless or careless manner.
If a driver is operating their vehicle recklessly with marijuana in his or her system, Illinois DUI laws will still apply. Illinois had adopted a set of roadside tests designed to determine if the driver is impaired by marijuana, as well as threshold limits for blood and saliva levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Drivers who need to be taken somewhere while they are still under the influence of their marijuana prescription should consider letting a friend or neighbor drive them, or grabbing an Uber or Lyft. Another option is to take public transportation.
Medical Marijuana DUIs in Chicago
Chicago and the whole State of Illinois considers a medical marijuana card an automatic authorization to submit to field sobriety testing. If the officer reasonably believes that the driver is impaired, the test will go forward. If the driver refuses, the State may suspend or revoke the driver’s license. Moreover, if the State suspects that the cause of the DUI was medical marijuana, the State can prosecute the driver under the State’s normal DUI laws.
A police officer is also allowed to testify against the offending driver in court – and to confirm the driver’s level of impairment at the time the driver was pulled over. The offending driver may also be subject to the State’s reckless driving laws, and a conviction can result in criminal fines or penalties.
Reckless Driving while Driving on Marijuana
Drugs, including medical marijuana, can seriously impact a driver’s abilities while behind the wheel of a car. Drugs and alcohol can cause blurry vision and may also affect a person’s perception – including depth perception – while on the roadway. Other common symptoms associated with drugged driving include bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, slurred speech, and a dazed look.
Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs can result in collisions with roadway objects, including guardrails, walls, or buildings. Pedestrian collisions are also possible, as are collisions with other motor vehicles on the roadway.
Proving Reckless or Impaired Driving in Illinois
Reckless driving is one form of negligent driving. In reckless driving cases, the injured accident victim has the burden of proving negligence and damages. The injured accident victim must be able to show that, as a result of the presence of drugs in the driver’s system, the driver operated a vehicle in a careless or reckless manner. A driver must ordinarily operate a motor vehicle as a “reasonable” driver would under the same or similar circumstances.
Arguably, if the driver operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, including medical marijuana, it violates the “reasonable person” standard of care. This is because an impaired driver poses a potential hazard to all other motor vehicle drivers on the roadway at that time.
The injured accident victim must also be able to show that the impaired driver’s violation of the standard of care directly resulted in certain injuries and damages. Available damages may include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those types of damages that can readily be calculated in dollars and cents – such as medical bills and lost wages. On the other hand, non-economic damages, such as pain, suffering, inconvenience, and permanency, are more subjective and do not have a hard-and-fast number associated with them.
What should I do if a person who was high or on drugs caused my car accident?
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and suspect that the other driver was impaired by medical marijuana, there are several steps you can take. Immediately call the police and tell them that you were involved in an accident with a suspected drugged driver. When the police officer arrives on-scene, he or she may be able to administer the necessary tests and should also be able to compose a police report or incident report.
Moreover, if you have sustained an injury in the accident, it is best to travel in an ambulance to the nearest hospital. In the alternative, you should have someone drive you to an emergency room or urgent care facility. You should seek emergency medical care even if you do not believe that you sustained a serious injury in the accident. This is because many injuries do not come to light immediately, and it is usually best to have a medical professional diagnose your condition.
Contact a Chicago, Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Discuss the Facts and Circumstances of Your Case
Even though a driver may carry a medical marijuana card, that driver can still cause an accident if he or she drives while impaired. Motor vehicle accidents can produce serious injuries and damages, including soft tissue injuries, fractures, spinal cord injuries, head injuries, and even death.