In Michigan, there has been an increase in the amount of people being arrested for driving with the presence of drugs or under the influence of marijuana or drugs. This charge is also called is called “drugged driving” or an OWPD.
Increasingly, drivers who are pulled over are asked to step out of the car and perform field sobriety tests not as a result of drinking (though sometimes that is the case), but because of the odor of marijuana or suspicion stemming from red eyes and poor driving. In many of these instances, drivers are being charged with driving with marijuana, cocaine or other drugs in their system based on the results of a field sobriety test. After the field sobriety tests are conducted, many times arrests are made and blood will then be drawn and shipped to the crime lab to confirm that there is some presence of THC or other drug in your blood.
What Amount of Drugs in Your System Make it Illegal to Drive in Michigan?
Under Michigan law, if there is any amount of active THC, cocaine, or other drug in your blood, you can be convicted of driving with the presence of a controlled substance in your blood (OWPD). The problem is that the phrase “any amount” is not defined in the statute, and thus Michigan Police and crime labs are free to decide what they believe constitutes “any amount”.
In almost every case, the police crime lab will conduct a blood test that measures the amount of THC down to the nanogram. A nanogram is one billionth of a gram. So even .0000000001 grams of THC in your blood sample can be enough for the prosecutor to uphold the charges and convict you. However, in some instances, the tests that the crime lab performs on the marijuana called GC/MS or gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer come out wrong or the machine is improperly calibrated or no active THC or other active drug is found. Also, the police may have improperly stopped your vehicle or improperly conducted the field sobriety tests or failed to get probable cause to test your blood. For these reasons, if you have been arrested or ticked for driving with the presence of or under the influence marijuana, cocaine, or other drugs, it is extremely important to hire an experienced Michigan attorney to help defend you and your rights.
What About For Michigan Medical Marijuana Patients?
Many medical marijuana patients are starting to be charged for drugged driving despite being legal to use marijuana under Michigan law. This issue is being heatedly debated and will be soon be heard by the Michigan Court of Appeals in a case called the People v. Koon. The MMMA states that in order to be convicted for driving and using marijuana; the driver must be “under the influence” and not just have “any amount” of THC in their blood. The standard of “under the influence” is a much greater burden for the prosecution to bear as “under the influence” means that you’re driving would have had to of been substantialy impaired or that your ability to drive would have had to of been substantially lessoned by the use of marijuana. This can be difficult prove and tolerances play a large role. For this reason, if you are a medical marijuana patient and have been charged with driving with the presence of drugs or under the influence of marijuana, you need a Michigan drug lawyer with experience to defend your rights as a citizen and as a patient.
What Are The Corresponding Penalties For Drugged Driving in Michigan?
1st Offense – Up to 93 days in jail; $100-$500 fine and court costs; 180 day suspended licenses with restrictions available after 30 days; possible interlock & immobilization of vehicle; 6 points; $500 Driver Responsibility fees for 2 years
2nd Offense – 5 days to 1 year in jail and 60-180 days of community service; $200-$1000 fine and court costs; minimum1 to 5 years license revocation; license plate confiscation; possible interlock and required immobilization of vehicle for 90 to 180 days unless forfeited. 6pts. and $1000 Driver Responsibility fees for 2 years
3rd Offense – 1 year to 5 years in prison and 60-180 days community service; $500-$5000 fine and court costs; minimum 1 to 5 years license revocation; license plate confiscation; required immobilization of vehicle for 1 to 3 years unless forfeited. 6pts. and $1000 Driver Responsibility fees for 2 years