New Police Device to nab drivers under the influence of marijuana or drugs in California

March 23, 2017

Device to nab drivers under the influence of marijuana

Drager 5000: New Police Device to Check the Sings of Drug Intoxication

San Diego law enforcement officers started using new devices to check if the motorists are driving under the influence of drugs.  The new machine is called Drager Drug Test 5000.  It checks saliva for seven different narcotic substances including marijuana, cocaine, opiates, methamphetamine, amphetamine, methadone and benzodiazepines.  The suspected driver will be asked to provide a small sample of saliva from inside his or her mouth.  The saliva is collected on the sampler by moving it between cheek and gum for a few minutes.  The saliva sample is then placed into the Drager machine which prints out the results of the test.  The results of the test can be used in court as evidence.  The driver may not be required to submit to this test by some expert’s opinion.  The police can, however, be very insistent and in some cases can ask a judge to issue a search warrant for a forced blood test.

How machine works to testing marijuana or drugs

The machines are easy to handle, quick (just takes around 10 minutes), and, according to the manufacturer, it provided reliable results.  Currently, this device is used by police in more than 12 states.  It’s also very popular in Europe and Australia with law enforcement.  However, it does not show the actual level of intoxication.  If the results are positive, the driver will be taken to a police department for a blood or urine test to measure the exact level of drug intoxication.  If the results are negative but the police still suspect the presence of drugs in a motorist’s body, the police officer might still place the driver under arrest.

If it comes to testing marijuana, the device is only sensitive to delta 9 THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana. This can stay in a body for a few hours, depending on how it was consumed and the individual abilities of the body to process THC.  Drager 5000 does not define other inactive components, which can be present in the body for weeks.  Therefore, old usage of marijuana will not be presented to police as evidence.   

Driving Under the Influence, Law and Legal Definition

According to California Vehicle Code (VC 23152 (e)) it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs.  Legislature defines “drugs” as any substance other than alcohol that can affect the person’s ability to drive by interfering his movement, reaction times, information processing etc.  The “drugs” can even be prescription medication, or illicit narcotics or even over the counter medication.  Effects of marijuana on driving ability:

  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Incorrect perception of time and place
  • Loss of speed control
  • Memory impairment
  • Low attentiveness

Visible signs of impairment: high nervousness, bloodshot or glassy eyes, weak arms, strong odor in breath or clothes, etc.

But actually, there is no method to define if the person is too intoxicated to drive. All drugs have different effect on people and symptoms can be subjective. Several states passed laws, trying to set the legal level for driving while under drug intoxication, like with drunk driving. For example, Colorado and Washington define THC maximum of 5 nanograms per millimeter.

Driving under the influence of drugs is considered a misdemeanor in most cases. Penalties for this offense are the same as for drunk driving:

  • probation for 3 to 5 years
  • fines around $2000
  • suspension of driving license
  • DUI school
  • possible jail sentence

What you need to know about marijuana use and driving

The number of self-reported marijuana users is increasing. In 2014 there were 7000 new users every day

During the weekend and especially at night the number of drivers who tested positive for THC increased from 8 to almost 13% during past seven years. That’s the real consequences of legalization of marijuana in many states, California in particular 38% of drivers died in car crashes in California because they were driving under the intoxication of drugs in 2014.

The recent poll showed that 70% of Americans believe motorists who drive while impaired by marijuana are not dangerous.

After alcohol, marijuana is the drug most often linked to impaired driving

The first hour after ingestion of marijuana is more risky for driving because the concentration of THC is the highest

 

Los Angeles DUI Attorney


If you have been accused of Marijuana DUI and you are not sure what to do, please call our office and talk to a professional!

 

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