To sustain a conviction for a DUI-Drug charge prosecutors must show that a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely is diminished or impaired in the slightest degree. 23 VSA 1201(h)
With the expectation of recreational marijuana becoming legal in the State of Vermont on July 1, 2018, law enforcement are now turning towards figuring out how to detect whether motorists are under the influence of marijuana while driving.
Some interesting legal developments have arisen recently with regards to DUI-Drug investigations and arrests. A 2017 NHTSA report to Congress has shed some significant light on the challenges facing law enforcement in being able to establish that a motorist is in fact under the influence of marijuana while driving.
THC per-se intoxication levels have not been defined by the Vermont legislature at this time. In fact, as shown in the NHTSA report, THC levels in the blood alone are not a reliable indicator of impairment.
Prescription Drugs DUI
This standard means that if a driver shows any signs of impairment and a blood test confirms the presence of drugs in the driver’s system, that they can face the same penalties of those who are prosecuted for an alcohol based charge.
Even if a driver has only taken their prescribed medication, a single officer’s opinion as to impairment may lead to a DUI charge. If the officer also happens to be a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), their opinion of impairment can hold further weight, as they are considered to be an expert in detecting impairment by drugs other than alcohol.