An often confused aspect of Indiana dui law involves dui prosecutions centered around allegations of drugs as opposed to alcohol within the driver’s bloodstream at the time of a traffic stop. Unlike the presence of alcohol that can be more readily uncovered through initial portable breath testing at the scene and later certified breath testing within the jail or police station, detecting drugs and relating it to a dui prosecution can be slightly more complex.
In the present state of the art of legally recognized test procedure, the presence of drugs will be analyzed through blood testing either through the consent of the investigated driver or through search warrant requesting a court order for a blood draw.
Unlike the presence of alcohol that can leave the body’s bloodstream in a far more rapid fashion, the presence of drugs within the bloodstream can last far longer. In the case of Marijuana up to a month after initial inhalation. A consistent dilemma for law enforcement had been how to enforce Indiana dui laws where drugs have been detected within a driver’s bloodstream, yet unable to pinpoint a time within which the drugs were ingested.
In some cases this analysis is not so difficult. For example, obvious evidence of drug impairment is detected, with the consequences of such impairment resulting in accident and/or endangerment to others on the roadway. However, what to make of cases where Marijuana has been detected within the driver’s bloodstream through what has been determined to be a valid police stop and search with no obvious sign of impairment.
Such cases could include accidents where a driver causes injury to another yet does not evidence signs of impairment. Under present Indiana law, accidents involving injury require testing whether signs of driver impairment are evident or not. In such circumstances the driver may have inhaled THC three weeks earlier yet still be charged with a crime called Operating a Motor Vehicle With a Metabolite in the system. Such an offense carries the same mandatory license suspensions as a conventional dui with additional potential imprisonment.
As a result, the lesson to be learned before considering driving within the state of Indiana, is that event the most alert of drivers can still find themselves as a target of law enforcement for the out of mind canabbis inhaled weeks ago.
As laws related to liberalizing use of Marijuana are ever changing in this area both within Indiana and across the nation, please keep updated with Indiana OWI Attorney Gregg J. Stark as to how such developments may impact future arrest procedures within the state of Indiana in years to come.