Under recent changes in Pennsylvania law, people can consume marijuana for medical purposes in certain circumstances. They can nonetheless be charged with marijuana-related DUI crimes if they drive while under the influence of marijuana, though. Thus, as discussed in a recent Pennsylvania opinion issued in a DUI case, the smell of marijuana can be a factor in determining whether probable cause exists for questioning a DUI suspect. If you are charged with a DUI offense, you should talk to a Pennsylvania DUI defense lawyer about what arguments you may be able to set forth in your defense.
Facts of the Case
It is alleged that in August 2021, a police officer observed the defendant driving at 77 miles per hour in a 65 miles per hour zone on a state highway. The officer, after stopping the defendant, detected a strong odor of burnt and raw marijuana, leading to further investigation. The defendant, who possessed a medical marijuana card, admitted to smoking marijuana prior to the stop. Subsequent field sobriety tests revealed impairment, and the defendant was arrested, leading to a blood draw at a hospital.
Reportedly, the defendant was charged with two counts of driving under the influence (DUI) of a controlled substance and one count of exceeding maximum speed limits. Prior to trial, he moved to suppress the evidence obtained following the traffic stop, challenging the lawfulness of the police officer’s actions leading to the arrest. The trial court denied his motion, and he was subsequently convicted and sentenced. He then appealed the trial court’s denial of his suppression motion. Continue reading