Someone else speaks out about “not high but DUI”

I have used this space a few times before to discuss the little known part of Illinois’ DUI law that makes it a DUI even if you are not under the influence, because a blood or urine test revealed that you had some amount of a narcotic in your system.  (If you want to read more, look here and here).

This morning, I saw an opinion piece by E.J. Montini in USA Today, which had originally run in a slightly different form in the Arizona Republic entitled “Not High but DUI.”

Mr. Montini states, “What if you could get a DUI for having had a few drinks two weeks ago?  Crazy, right? Except it’s happening. Not with alcohol, but with marijuana. Drivers from Arizona and at least nine other states, including Utah, Iowa, Indiana, Delaware and Rhode Island, are going to jail, paying big fines and losing their licenses after having gotten driving-under-the-influence citations when blood tests prove they were not high.”

He adds that Illinois is one of those states “where even the state Supreme [Court has] upheld DUI convictions of people not under the influence of anything.”

He sums it up by stating, “The risk of getting busted for a DUI charge when they are not impaired might cause some medical marijuana patients not to use the drug, no matter how much it helps them.  Of course, it’s probably just a coincidence that the politicians who could revise the DUI statute hate the medical marijuana law. As does the county attorney.  Coincidence. Yeah, that must be it.”

I am glad to see that a national publication like USA Today thought that this piece was worthy of a bigger audience.

What do you think?

4 thoughts on “Someone else speaks out about “not high but DUI”

  1. I think it is a back door way to punish “potheads”. I was recently convicted in St.Clair County of an Aggravated DUI Under the Cannabis Act stemming from a car accident that happened last year and sentenced to 18 months DOC. The officer that arrived on scene said because I was incoherent and had slurred speech and a thick tongue that I must be on drugs because there was no scent of alcohol. I was incoherent as a matter of fact I do not remember anything because of the severe injuries I had such as; a shattered hand (to the point there was a bone sticking out), bleeding on the brain, fractured cheek bone, broken ribs and a shattered ankle, so I was out of it from injuries. I was flown in a helicopter to SLU in Missouri so yes it is safe to say I was indeed incoherent when the officer arrived who wouldn’t be? I had went to a birthday party two days prior to the accident and had smoked marijuana. I never imagined I would be going to prison for having pot in my system while rapists and repeat offenders just get a slap on the hand. I plead not guilty and chose a jury trial. I was never allowed my day in court so to speak the state said it is a strict liability offense and they did not have to prove anything except I was driving and I had marijuana in my system. This law needs to be changed this is America and I have the right to a defense in a court of law at least I thought so anyway. I was not allowed to have any witnesses or evidence to show that I was not under the influence the day of the accident. In the past year I quit smoking and found out it takes 45 days to leave my system and I am a small person at 5’5 and 120 pounds. My life has been forever changed because I smoked marijuana and a few days later drove. I am lucky they are allowing me to finish my school semester before I have to surrender myself to go to DOC for about four and a half months. I am 32 years old no criminal record and now I am a felon and can kiss my career goodbye that I have been going to college and working so hard to achieve. This law is bogus and needs to be fixed because even though marijuana stays in your system for a long period of time you are not “high” the whole time only a couple of hours. Quit destroying peoples lives and wasting tax payer money to punish someone for smoking pot. Legalize, educate and tax it, help our state with some of our huge debt we have here in Illinois!

    • Thanks for your comment. There is some movement in Springfield to create a “legal limit” of cannabis in your blood system for a DUI, as opposed to the current zero tolerance law. If you agree, I would like to highlight your comment by putting it into a new blog post. Let me know if you approve.

      • I would be happy if you would do that I would like to spread the word about this problem. Anything you do approved by me and encouraged thank you.

  2. Pingback: 18 months in jail for smoking weed? Thats what happened to a reader of my blog | illinoisduilawyer

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