Think you can’t get DUI when you’re driving under the influence of marijuana? Think again, because everything is about to change. Hound Labs, a leader in the field of breath diagnostics, has created the world’s first marijuana breathalyzer – a handheld device that allegedly has the sensitivity required to determine recent marijuana use. Prior to this technology, blood tests and urine tests were the predominant forms of testing for THC. Proving a DUI solely through THC in an individual’s urine or blood is difficult because THC can generally remain in one’s system up to a month after use. While the weed breathalyzer is not currently used in the State of Florida, it could be at some time in the future. South Florida DUI Attorney, E.J. Hubbs shares more about this new product and what it could mean here in Miami.
New Weed Breathalyzer
The effectiveness of the breathalyzer was proven in a recent University of California San Francisco (UCSF) study that teamed with Hound Labs. In the trial, the breath of 20 participants who had just smoked marijuana was measured over the course of three hours, sampling each participant’s breath a total of nine times. Participants included both men and women, frequent and infrequent marijuana smokers.
Results showed that the Hound Labs breathalyzer has the ultra-low sensitivity needed to measure THC in breath that can indicate recent marijuana use throughout the peak impairment window of two to three hours after smoking.
“In our trials, we discovered that THC rapidly moves from blood into breath and consistently appears in breath in very low concentrations for two to three hours,” stated Dr. Lynch, co-director of the Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology Laboratory at San Francisco General Hospital and Associate Professor of Laboratory Medicine at UCSF. “The ability to capture breath and measure such low concentrations of molecules represents a significant breakthrough and we hope to continue to collaborate with Hound Labs on clinical studies to advance the field of breath diagnostics.”
DUI for Weed?
Yes, you can be charged with driving under the influence of marijuana (or other drugs). As more and more states legalize marijuana, both for medical and recreational use, South Florida police are increasingly dealing with people who might be driving under the influence of pot.
Drugged driving is taken seriously in Miami-Dade Court. In fact, last year, the Florida Highway Patrol began a “Drive Baked, Get Busted” ad campaign.
Unlike alcohol, there’s no standard impairment threshold for marijuana in Florida. And there wasn’t an effective weed breathalyzer to aid in testing. That meant that law enforcement (and, if taken to trial, a jury) could only rely on the cop’s personal observations, field sobriety exercises, and blood/urine tests related to cannabis use. If the pot breathalyzer is found to be reliable, the legislature could set an impairment threshold for cannabis in a defendant’s system.
Proving Pot-Impaired Driving
The presence of THC in your blood or urine, in and of itself, is generally not enough to support a DUI conviction. The police have to prove that you were impaired.
With the Hound Labs breathalyzer for marijuana, Florida law enforcement could be asking you to blow into a Breathalyzer in the near future.
Call a Drug DUI Lawyer
The takeaway from the Hound Labs weed breathalyzer is this, if you’re going to smoke pot, DO NOT get behind the wheel and drive!
If you do find yourself in a tough spot and need legal representation for DUI due to excessive alcohol or marijuana, please call our Miami criminal defense law firm at (305) 665-9040. Hubbs Law will provide a confidential review of your case.
Please note that by reading this blog you are not entering into an attorney-client relationship with Hubbs Law, P.A. This blog only provides general legal information. Every case is unique and you should request a consultation to ensure that you are getting the correct legal advice for your specific case.