There was a time in the not too distant past here in Michigan where in order to prove that you were guilty of drugged driving, all they had to do was prove to the court that there was any amount of marijuana in your system while you were behind the wheel. But those days have come and gone. Since the legalization of first medical marijuana, and then later recreational marijuana, a lot has changed with regards to the burden of proof for Michigan’s county prosecutors.
Nowadays, in order for a prosecutor to prove that you’re guilty of drugged driving, the burden of proof requires a very different approach. Specifically, it seems a prosecutor now needs to prove that the marijuana in your system was enough to impair your ability to operate the vehicle. The simple presence of THC in your bloodstream isn’t enough anymore to argue that you were too high to drive. SO what exactly is the limit? And how do they prove that you’ve had too much?
What EXACTLY does Michigan law say about weed consumption and driving?
Michigan’s recreational marijuana law is very clear about drugged driving. Section 4 of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act says that no one can operate a motor vehicle (a definition that includes cars, motorcycles, snowmobiles, tractors and even boats) if they’re “under the influence” of THC, which is the chemical compound in weed that gets you high. But just because the law sounds clear, doesn’t mean the interpretation and application is simple.
Michigan law also says that no one is allowed to operate a motor vehicle on a public roadway, or any other place open to the general public (or generally accessible to motor vehicles) if they have any amount of a controlled substance listed in schedule 1 in their body at the time. And marijuana is still listed as a schedule 1 drug in Michigan. Confused? You should be! After all, it’s confusing. Because even though marijauana was legalized in Michigan, the law classifying it as a schedule 1 drug was never changed.
So can I drive in Michigan with pot in my system or not?
This is an extremely tricky subject, as there is a lot more grey than black and white when it comes to the issue of driving “under the influence” for marijuana here in Michigan. Should you smoke weed and then drive your car? Absolutely not! Should you eat a medible to relax, and then run a few errands? Nope – that’s a super bad idea. But getting high isn’t the same thing as having trace amounts of THC in your bloodstream. The catch is figuring out exactly where “trace amounts” ends, and “being high” begins. And that’s where we come in.
Join us next time for a look at how Michigan prosecutors are dealing with this issue, and what “driving under the influence” looks like here in Michigan in the wake of legalization. Until then though, keep in mind that drugged driving and drunk driving are both illegal in Michigan. You can’t drive while you’re drunk or high, and if you do, you’re going to need to call us immediately at 866 766 5245. Our aggressive DUI defense attorneys can help you sort out this mess and ensure that your rights are not being violated. Our top ranked drunk driving attorneys have been helping drivers for more than 25 years. We’re available by calling 866 7NoJail.