According to a report published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, two studies recently indicated that states with legalized recreational marijuana have higher incidence rates of car crash claims. Although neither study offers a clear explanation of why this link exists, it's becoming apparent to lawmakers around the country that there does exist a connection between car accidents and marijuana legalization.
At the Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC, I've dedicated myself to defending those who have been accused of driving under the influence, whether that influence takes the form of marijuana or alcohol. I know firsthand how costly and stressful DUI proceedings can be, and as an experienced Snohomish marijuana DUI defense lawyer, I can give you the fair and well-reasoned defense you need in this difficult time. In this post, I'll touch on the role of marijuana in car accidents, and how you can defend yourself if accused.
The Elusive Link Between Car Accidents and Recreational Marijuana
The recent study by the IIHS found that insurance claim rates have increased by nearly 6% in states like Washington, Colorado, and Oregon, as compared to similar states in the region that have not legalized marijuana. While this evidence is mostly correlative, it does underscore an alarming trend: That marijuana-related car crashes are on the rise, without a solid explanation for the increases.
In the case of drunk driving, the existing testing procedures and scientific methods for determining blood alcohol level (BAC) are extremely well-established, which makes it easier to determine just how many people are involved in DUI-related accidents annually. However, when a driver under the influence of marijuana is stopped for a suspected DUI, proving culpability or impairment is less clear, as the amount of THC in their bloodstream is not a reliable indicator of impairment.
This presents an uneasy dilemma for the criminal court systems in states like Washington. While data shows that crash rates are increasing, it's difficult for officials to use a legal, rational basis to test drivers for marijuana. In Washington, Intiative 502 previously attempted to restrict the levels of “active” THC in drivers to 5 nanograms per milliliter, but this is an incredibly low threshold, and it doesn't truly demonstrate that the driver is impaired.
Get the Effective, Scientific DUI Defense You Need
Regardless of the specifics, one thing is clear when it comes to legalized marijuana. The rules, legal limits, and procedures are still very much in flux, whether you live in Washington or California. And if you're accused of a marijuana DUI, the murky and ever-changing nature of these laws can present serious problems for your defense.
As a dedicated marijuana DUI defense attorney serving Snohomish County and Bothell, I can help you navigate the complex and difficult world of marijuana legislation. From looking at the quality of the scientific evidence that was submitted, to questioning the correlation between your impairment and your car accident, I can provide the solid defense you need in a crisis.
Don't just accept a guilty plea. Contact me at (888) 252-1961 to see what your options are in Snohomish County.