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DUI Attorneys Eugene – Cannabis

If you are looking for Oregon DUI Attorneys, Eugene is not a bad place to start. Home to a burgeoning cannabis industry, Eugene is a natural proving ground for all manner of cannabis law cases. In a brand new legal landscape, real-world experience counts. Every new cannabis law case creates new precedents, and those precedents gradually establish settled law.  Veralrud and Fowler work constantly to stay on top of the ever-changing Oregon recreational cannabis law landscape. They tirelessly study every new law, statute, and regulation established in Oregon to make sure their clients have the representation they deserve. With their expert knowledge, you can be sure you are receiving the most competent, effective defense in your DUI/DUII case.

DUI Attorneys Eugene – Cannabis DUI Laws

Developing a legal framework to deal with driving under the influence of cannabis has been a long, circuitous process. Even now, set law is constantly coming under scrutiny and new law is being developed to handle the unique challenges that come with ending cannabis prohibition. Working with lawmakers from other states which have initiated legalization, Oregon elected officials, policy-makers, and bureaucrats have tried to make sure both the recreational cannabis user and seller are properly served with every new regulation. At the same time, law enforcement agencies have been forced to reckon with the reality of legal pot in creative (and sometimes questionable) ways. The novelty of the situation, combined with the often difficult-to-detect effects of the drug, has made creating diagnostic tests for cannabis intoxication a high priority. Knowing the state of the art when it comes to cannabis can help you avoid a costly DUI.

Cannabis Breathalyzer Test

Currently, there is no breathalyzer test for cannabis in Oregon or anyone else. THC, the intoxicating chemical substance cannabis contains is not water-soluble like alcohol is. Instead, it bonds to fats and lipids. This is because the class of chemicals that THC belongs to are resinous like pine sap. They only leave the body through a long decay process. Many people assume that THC is eliminated by urination. This is simply not true. The urinanalysis tests demanded by many workplaces detect only the metabolites of THC, the compounds left over after THC has broken down.

THC does not volatilize like alcohol either; rather it stays deep within the body. This makes it impossible to test for using a breathalyzer-style test similar to the one used to test suspects for DUI. Those tests “sniff” for alcohol which has evaporated out of the blood through the mucous membranes. Though it may be possible to detect recent marijuana use through a smell on the breath, this is not the same thing as an actual chemical analysis.

Not that this will stop a law enforcement officer who suspects you of driving under the influence of cannabis. The commonly-heard phrase “I can smell the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle” is familiar to anyone who has been accused of cannabis DUI. Even if the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle is as a result not of smoking cannabis but merely having been in the presence of cannabis being smoked, they is a good chance that if you are pulled over reeking of pot, a police officer might feel justified booking you for driving under the influence of cannabis. Be smart! Don’t go into public reeking of marijuana, even if that means your own car. And certainly don’t push the legal limits while driving smelling of cannabis. It is very rare for a police officer to pull over a motorist for merely looking stoned. Almost always, the drivers pulled over for marijuana DUI are pulled over because they forgot to be cautious while driving, not because they displayed overt signs of marijuana intoxication. Follow the speed limit, accelerate and decelerate like a normal person, maintain safe stopping distances, and obey traffic signals. 90% of the time, that will keep you from an embarrassing cannabis DUI charge.

Cannabis Blood Test

Some other states use a blood draw to test for THC in cannabis DUI suspects. Oregon has elected not to use this test, citing concerns about accuracy that may very well lead to wrongful convictions. The half-lives of cannabinoid compounds are long and the process of letting all cannabis byproducts leave the body naturally strenuous and time-consuming. Anyone who has used legal recreational cannabis risks having cannabinoid compounds in their blood for up to two weeks after each use, and perhaps longer depending on frequency of use and individual differences in physiological make-up.

Cannabinoids are naturally-occurring compounds in the human body. They regulate all sorts of biological signaling systems, helping the body adjust to changes in its environment. The effects of altering these systems through recreational cannabis use creates a plethora of effects, all dependent on countless factors, from the specific strain of cannabis being smoked to the experience level of the smoker to aggravating factors like being pulled over by a police officers for a cannabis DUI. At the same time, the chemical compounds that cause marijuana intoxication remain in the blood long after the effects of those compounds have worn off. Though some states like Texas have no problem taking a blood draw at the drop of a ten-gallon hat, Oregon law enforcement has not been given such broad powers by the much more civilly-libertarian Oregon legislature. Officers instead rely on observations and classic DUI diagnostic tests.

How Can Police Find a Stoned Driver?

The process for identifying possible cannabis DUI suspects is similar to the process for identifying possible alcohol DUI suspect. An officer will pull over any vehicle they suspect might be being driven by an intoxicated driver. More often than not, this works out practically to mean that an officer will pull over any driver whatsoever if that driver is violating the law. Again, the first step to avoiding a cannabis DUI is not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. The second step is to not violate the law or drive strangely behind the wheel. The third step is not reeking of pot in public. These three steps combined will almost always protect you from a Oregon cannabis DUI conviction.

Signs of intoxication include swerving, excessive or insufficient speed, and the violation of traffic laws. A driver might also be pulled over due to an outstanding warrant revealed by a license plate check. After the driver is pulled over, officers are trained to look for the signs of possible drug use. These include glossy, blood-shot eyes, bulging veins on the neck, inappropriate laughter, pallor, evidence of recent snack food consumption, and a general giddiness or slowness. Of course, some of these signs could come from the use of other intoxicating substances.

Obviously, an officer who has pulled you over for driving poorly smells the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle, they might be tempted to take further action. This is when you should really start considering a Eugene, Oregon DUI lawyer like Veralrud and Fowler. Have their number on-hand so you can begin building your defense from the moment you are pulled over. There is a good chance that if you have followed the steps to avoid cannabis DUI outlined above, your DUI attorney can help you escape the worst consequences of DUI arrest.

If an officer suspects intoxication, they may detain you, impound your car, and bring you down to the station for further evaluations. Don’t let this happen to you. If it does, have Veralrud and Fowler on speed-dial. As expert defense attorneys who specialize in DUI cases, they will walk you through every step of the process from your arrest to your acquittal.

Does Cannabis Impair Driving? An Open Question

Cannabis legalization advocates have pointed to studies showing cannabis users perform as well or better than their sober counterparts when negotiating traffic maneuvers and navigating in traffic. This tends to fly in the face of a narrative that says cannabis presents a growing threat to road safety. Nonetheless, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis remains illegal under Oregon law. Perhaps in the future laws will change or evaluative procedures will become more accurate and standardized, but until then all cannabis users must exercise caution.

If you are forced into a situation where driving after having recently consumed marijuana, do not panic. It is very likely that enough time has passed that you are no longer within the effective threshold for intoxication. If you do still feel effected, just wait until the effects wear off. This might effect your schedule, but a slight effect on your punctuality now will save you a severe effect on your punctuality that might occur as a result of losing your license under Oregon cannabis law.

DUI Attorneys Eugene – Cannabis Defense

Do not be caught on the wrong side of these new and confusing laws. If you run into a cannabis DUI problem, give Eugene, Oregon defense lawyers Veralrud and Fowler a call today for a free consultation.


Give Us a Call at 541-345-3333 for a Free Consultation About Your Case or Send Us an Email Below

975 Oak Street, Suite 798

Eugene, OR 97401

Phone  (541) 345-3333
Fax  (541) 342-1908

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