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Bucher Law Group, LLC

Can I Be Charged With OWI After Using Marijuana or Prescription Drugs?

 Posted on August 13, 2021 in DUI/OWI

Waukesha Lawyer for OWI defenseDriving under the influence, which is known as Operating While Intoxicated or OWI in Wisconsin, is a serious criminal offense, and a conviction can lead to significant fines, the revocation of a person’s driver’s license, and a prison sentence. While most people understand the dangers of driving after drinking alcohol and the consequences they may face for doing so, some may not realize that they can face the same charges if they drive while under the influence of marijuana or certain types of prescription drugs, such as opioids. By understanding how Wisconsin law addresses these situations and working with an attorney who is experienced in defending against these types of charges, a driver can determine their best options for defense following an arrest for OWI involving marijuana or other drugs.

Wisconsin OWI Laws Regarding Drugged Driving

The laws in Wisconsin define a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 percent as the point at which a person is considered to be intoxicated. They also state that a driver cannot operate a motor vehicle if they have any amount of a controlled substance that can be detected in their bloodstream. These substances include marijuana, as well as other drugs and prescription medications. In addition, the law states that it is illegal for a person to drive if they have used any intoxicant or combination of substances that would cause them to be unable to operate a vehicle safely. This means that even if a person has a BAC below the legal limit, they could still face OWI charges because the combination of alcohol with other drugs impaired their ability to drive safely.

While the laws regarding the use of controlled substances while driving are clear, these cases may be complicated by the fact that it is not always easy to determine whether a driver is intoxicated because of these substances. After pulling a driver over on suspicion of OWI, a police officer may ask them to submit to a portable breathalyzer test to get an estimate of their BAC and determine whether they are over the legal limit. However, there is no equivalent test to determine whether a driver has marijuana or other restricted substances in their system.

Wisconsin officials are working to address this issue by having Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) evaluate drivers to look for signs of intoxication. DREs receive extensive training on how different drugs affect drivers in different ways, and they may look at factors such as a person’s pulse, blood pressure, and body temperature, as well as their reaction times, hyperactivity, and balance. A DRE’s report and testimony can play a significant role when an OWI case is addressed in court.

Contact Our Racine County OWI Defense Attorneys

At Bucher Law Group, LLC, we can help defend against an OWI charge involving the use of marijuana or prescription drugs. We work to ensure that our client's rights are protected, and we can address issues related to chemical testing and testimony from a DRE, including determining when this evidence can be challenged. To set up a free consultation and learn how we can help defend against OWI charges, contact our Walworth County drugged driving defense lawyers at 262-303-4916.





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