O.U.I. and Cannabis | PotSaver
O.U.I. and Cannabis
Imagine this – You’re in your car with the windows down, the air blowing your hair all around, sun blaring down on the windshield with your friends next to you… All of you are screaming along to the hottest summer playlist. The best part? The blunt going around and the good times to be had – you are on your way to the beach. That’s my favorite thing to do in the summer, anyways.
I love going to fun places, like the beach and the board walk, or bowling or even to the mall. I especially love doing all those things with one of my lovely and most loyal besties… Mary J. The only way it could be ruined was if I had gotten into an accident or if I had gotten pulled over.
O.U.I.’s and What They Do?
An O.U.I. is Operating While Under the Influence of alcohol or other chemical substances. In many states, a first offense O.U.I. is a misdemeanor. This O.U.I. can stay on your record for up to a decade or more. If you get pulled over after contact and the officer asks for a sobriety test, you should comply. If you fail, that means they can charge you with O.U.I. and arrest you.
A Rise in False Accusations
Because there isn’t a way yet to measure cannabis compounds amount in the body system and impairment, some law enforcement has resorted to an O.U.I. charge for smoking weed when there are no other explanations for someone. In Cobb County, Georgia, there have been reports of false charges from an event that happened in April of 2016. A woman, Katelyn Ebner, was pulled over on her way home from waitressing. She was tired, but happy to be going home. She was accused of pulling to the center of the road and slightly crossing the double yellow lines into the other lane. This seems like only a little.
Officer Carroll witnessed this and quickly went to action, pulling Ebner over and asking for a sobriety test. Carroll is a highly esteemed “drug recognition expert” (DRE) and had a high amount of 90 D.U.I. arrests for his 2016 year. They didn’t all go according to plan. Carroll had Ebner do a few tests, including staring into his flashlight for minutes at a time. He then asks her to perform a breathalyzer test, which results in a complete negative result. It listed that there was no alcohol in her system. Carroll, finding no evidence of failure, continues more tests. These included walking heel to toe, looking specific ways as he looks at her eye movements, touching her nose, and other extremities. This is subconsciously done so she is aware of where to move correctly.
When Ebner performs all tests without failure, he then says she shows signs of having smoked Marijuana and arrests her. While this is Ebner’s first time being pulled over, she pleads with the Officer that she will take a urinalysis or anything she can do to prove that she has not consumed cannabis recently. She also wanted to prove that she is not under any influence. Ebner spent that night in jail for O.U.I. and because of that, she lost her alcohol servers permit that she had for her job waitressing. This has now affected her abilities at her job, and lastly after spending thousands for legality fees.
Four months later her urinalysis test came back negative and the charges were all dropped. The memory of being treated like a suspect, on the other hand, when nothing was of evidence and the money she had to spend won’t be forgotten.
Along with Ebner’s case, 2 others were convicted of the same charge as Ebner. Without evidence, as they too got negative test results back, the charges were dropped but all convicted by the same Officer Carroll.
What’s the Deal with Smoking and Driving?
We all are aware that any amount of THC does impair the consumer. To what extent… we have yet to find out. THC amount or impairment amount isn’t as easily calculated as alcohol impairment or blood alcohol content. There are no breathalyzers or anything measurable that works for cannabis compounds. There is no way at the time of contact with an officer while pulled over for driving for them to prove much of anything since they have no way of knowing for sure.
As stated above, if they want to charge you, they have the ability to. It does not matter whether or not you have even consumed cannabis in any amount.
What Law Enforcement is Looking For
When someone is pulled over, at first contact with an officer, they are vigilant and looking for any evidence you’re impaired. At first contact when they ask for your information, they keep an eye and ear out for any of the following:
- Slurred or sluggish speaking
- Fast and fumbly speech
- If you’re slouched low in your seat
- Slumped shoulders
- Any fast body movements
- If you’re falling over yourself while trying to complete a task/fumbling hands
- Bloodshot or strained eyes
- Agitated or bouncy movements such as leg bouncing
- Hand tapping
The best way in any situation to act when talking to an Officer is to do the following:
- Eye contact,
- Don’t talk so fast you can’t think before you speak,
- Make sure you sound confident in what you say and stand your ground,
- Don’t fight back or argue loudly but try to firmly insist that if you’re not under any influence that you can show them you’re fully capable of performing any tests they might ask for
I am in no way saying to consume cannabis and drive. My goal is just to educate. I do want to note that there is no sure evidence so far that links consumption with a higher risk for driving complications. A year after Washington legalized cannabis, about 25% more drivers had tested positive for cannabis. There was no increase in arrest amounts or driving accidents statistics. Sadly, law enforcement has no way of measuring the amount of cannabis inside the body at the point of contact. This leads to cases like Ebner’s potentially continuing to happen. A few different companies are working on prototypes of machines that test the saliva from a person and may work similarly to a breathalyzer at point of contact. Just remember to always be aware while driving, and always be an advocate for your own safety.