Combination marijuana and alcohol in my BAC level. Do I fight it?

Q: I was pulled over for driving with a flat tire in which case I knew but it was 2am. My phone was dead, and I was about 7 minutes from my crib. The cop stated she smelled marijuana, so they asked me to step out the car. They handcuffed me and searched my car in which they found a half of a blunt from earlier that day. They also ripped it up pretty good. I was told to perform some walking tests because she assumed I was intoxicated. I did, and I was told that I passed them, but she still wanted to do a blood test. I was OK with them to take my blood. She put me in the back of the cop car and took me to the hospital to get a blood test. She then dropped me off at home. A few weeks later I received my court papers which had 3 different dui charges and 2 careless driving charges. I went to the magistrate and this same cop pulled me to the side to tell me that I would not be facing the DUI for the alcohol charge because I didn’t have enough in my system which I knew but that I would still receive a DUI for the marijuana. I waved my case to big court. When I attended my formal arraignment, I received my paperwork with the blood test results of 0.024 with both the alcohol and marijuana. Is it possible to fight this case being as I was well below the DUI level? (McKeesport, PA)

A: If you are operating a motor vehicle and your blood tests positive for a Schedule I or II or any metabolite derivative, you are presumed to have violated Title 75, Section 3802 (d) of the PA Motor Vehicle Code. You are presumed to be guilty on the drugs alone, the combination of the alcohol is a bonus for the Commonwealth. Perhaps you can convince the DA to amend the charges from 3801 (d) (2) which is the combination of drugs and alcohol, down to a 3801 (d) (1) drugs, but it would be a Pyrrhic victory, so to speak. It really wouldn’t matter as to sentencing. As an aside, the DUI laws pertaining to marijuana are too harsh in my opinion. If you have metabolites in your system days after you smoked, you can be arrested and convicted of DUI. Take ARD, get it over with. If you intend on a life of smoking MJ, get a bicycle. It is great exercise. It is better for the environment and you see things on a bicycle you never notice in a motor vehicle. Even then you are not exempt from DUI prosecution, but you lower your chances drastically. Police rarely stop bicycles unless they are weaving in the wrong lane in heavy traffic.

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William R. Pelger

Licensed since 1987

Member at firm Pelger Law

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