Can sobriety tests be used to determine weed impairment?

Jan 31, 2017 | drunk driving

Ohio motorists are often well aware of the field sobriety tests that authorities may use to determine if a driver is operating a vehicle while impaired. However, defense attorneys have argued that these tests should not be used to determine if someone is high from smoking marijuana.

The argument is that science has not proven that a driver who fails a field sobriety test is high. As such, defense attorneys argue that the tests should not be allowed to be considered evidence of impairment. On the other hand, prosecutors argue that science is advancing very quickly.

It can be very difficult to determine if a driver is high. Part of the problem is that THC can show up in a person’s blood long after they are no longer feeling the effects of marijuana as the body stores it differently than alcohol. Now that medical marijuana is legal in Ohio, the authorities can no longer play it safe by charging a person with possession. While researchers are working to create tests that may be able to determine if someone is driving while high, they may only be admitted as evidence if there is a biological test that backs up the accusation.

If a driver is accused of drunk driving or operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana, a criminal defense attorney may challenge the charges. For example, if a person is accused of being high on marijuana while driving, the attorney may argue that any field sobriety tests should not be admissible as these tests have not been scientifically proven. Further, the attorney may also argue that the authorities did not have sufficient cause to stop the vehicle in the first place.