Evidence in a Fort Worth Marijuana DWI Case
Marijuana DWI cases are unique in the manner they are approached by officers, prosecutors, and courts. Understanding the nature of evidence in a Fort Worth marijuana DWI case could be the key to building a defense case. A seasoned DWI attorney could answer any questions you may have regarding marijuana laws in Texas.
Difference Between Marijuana DWI Cases and Alcohol-Based Cases
Marijuana DWI cases are different from alcohol cases because the officer who suspects intoxication by marijuana or marijuana use is typically not so concerned about whether the person has been drinking. They could be looking for reasons to arrest the person, find the marijuana, and take the person for a blood test. A breath test is not valid evidence in a Fort Worth marijuana DWI case and is typically reserved for alcohol.
When the officer asks for a blood test, the person has a right to refuse the blood test and the blood test cannot be taken. If the person refuses, no blood may be drawn unless the officer gets a warrant. The defense attorney could get the judge to rule that the blood was illegally obtained if the warrant was not supported by a legally sufficient probable cause affidavit. The blood test could then be thrown out and the result would not be used against the individual. A law enforcement officer must obtain a legally sufficient warrant to draw the person’s blood for testing.
What Must Blood Tests Show?
If the prosecution is to be successful, the blood test must show marijuana in the person’s system. Using the test results, an attorney could prove that the amount of marijuana was ingested several hours previously and the person is not under the influence of marijuana. While there are criminal laws that say a specific amount of alcohol in the system equals intoxication, there are no per se laws regarding marijuana use.
When marijuana is found in the individual’s system, the prosecution could have an expert testify about the effects of marijuana and claim the level of marijuana found in the person’s blood indicates intoxication. The expert may conclude that the person was under the influence of marijuana at the time of driving and did not have normal use of their mental or physical faculties. The defense attorney may counter that testimony by showing there are no conclusive studies proving that any amount of marijuana in the system causes intoxication.
Evidence in Marijuana DWI Cases
The state could collect evidence in a Fort Worth marijuana DWI case using a drug recognition evaluation. Some officers are trained in drug recognition evaluation and are known as drug recognition experts (DRE). The scientific community is clear that officers with this limited amount of training are not experts by any stretch of the imagination. The training teaches the officers how to do a 12-step evaluation for someone they suspect used some type of drug including marijuana to determine whether the person is intoxicated from the drug.
Our defense attorneys could make an argument against that finding if they are also trained in the same evaluation method the officers use. If the police officer may not properly administer the 12-step evaluation making the evaluation invalid, we could challenge the validity of the evaluation.
What the Prosecution Must Prove
In a marijuana DWI case, the prosecution must initially prove the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the person as they would in any DWI case. They must prove reasonable suspicion to detain the person to investigate them further for driving while intoxicated. The officer must have probable cause to believe the person does not have the normal use of their mental or physical faculties by reason of marijuana before they could arrest the individual. A blood test that shows the presence of marijuana in the person’s blood is typically required. The prosecution could provide testimony that marijuana in the blood caused intoxication at the time of driving. No scientific studies show that any given amount of marijuana causes intoxication or causes a person to not have the normal use of their mental or physical faculties.
A Fort Worth DWI Attorney Could Help
It could be crucial to contact one of our DWI attorneys who knows marijuana DWI laws. Some attorneys who handle criminal cases may not have the expertise needed to try a DWI case. While many lawyers are successful in DWI cases that involve alcohol, they may not have the necessary expertise or training to have any chance of winning a DWI marijuana case. An attorney may need to be informed specific issues that may include:
- Blood testing for marijuana
- Effects of marijuana on the body
- Length of time the effects of marijuana last
- What the metabolites of marijuana show
An attorney that is well-versed in the scientific studies on blood testing for marijuana could refute a claim that an accused person was under the influence of marijuana and did not have the normal use of their mental or physical faculties. Reach out to our lawyers and learn more about evidence in a Fort Worth marijuana DWI case. Call today to get started.