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Can a Cop Detect Marijuana Intoxication?

Our criminal justice system currently depends primarily upon the opinions of police officers to determine whether a driver is “driving stoned” — that is, unable to safely operate a vehicle due to marijuana impairment.  The main tool used to formulate this opinion is the same as that used for driving under the influence of alcohol: field sobriety tests.  These highly subjective roadside “tests”, administered and interpreted by cops with minimal training, are coming under increasing scrutiny — as reflected in a recent decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court:


Roadside Drunken Driving Tests Not Valid for Pot

Boston, MA.  Sept 19 – The highest court in Massachusetts has ruled that field sobriety tests typically used in drunken driving cases cannot be used as conclusive evidence that a motorist was operating under the influence of marijuana.

The Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday said police officers could testify only to their observations about how a person performed during a roadside test.

But they would not be allowed to testify as to whether a person passed or failed such a test or offer their own opinions about whether a driver was too high to drive.

The justices said there is currently no reliable scientific test for marijuana impairment.

Without field sobriety tests, the only other evidence of impairment (besides a cop’s subjective opinion) is a blood test.  This, however, has also been shown to be unreliable.  See, for example, Can DUI Marijuana Be Detected or Measured?,

If you need to consult with a Los Angeles DUI attorneyOrange County DUI attorney or Riverside DUI attorney, contact The Law Offices of Taylor & Taylor at 1(844)DUI-XPRT.  With offices in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties, the firm has limited its practice to DUI defense exclusively for 34 years and is consistently top-rated in surveys of Southern California lawyers and consumers.

About Lawrence Taylor

Lawrence Taylor
Lawrence Taylor is one of the most respected DUI defense attorneys in the country. With over 43 years experience in DUI defense, he has lectured to attorneys at over 200 seminars in 41 states. An original founder and former Dean of the National College for DUI Defense, Mr. Taylor's book "Drunk Driving Defense" has been the best-selling textbook on the subject for 31 years and is now in its 7th edition. He is today one of only 5 DUI attorneys in California who is Board-certified as a DUI defense specialist. A former Marine and graduate of the University of California at Berkeley (1966) and the UCLA School of Law (1969), Lawrence Eric Taylor served as deputy public defender and deputy district attorney in Los Angeles before entering private practice. He was the trial judge's legal advisor in People vs Charles Manson, was Supreme Court counsel in the Onion Field murder case and was retained by the Attorney General of Montana as an independent Special Prosecutor to conduct a one-year grand jury probe of governmental corruption. Turning to teaching, Mr. Taylor served on the faculty of Gonzaga University School of Law, where he was voted Professor of the Year, was invited to be Visiting Professor at Pepperdine University Law School, and was finally appointed Fulbright Professor of Law at Osaka University in Japan. Mr. Taylor continues to limit the practice of his 5-attorney Southern California law firm to DUI defense exclusively. With offices in Long Beach, Irvine, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Riverside and Carlsbad, Mr. Taylor and his firm of DUI defense attorneys may be reached through their website at www.duicentral.com or by telephone at (800) 777-3349.

If you would like to contact the author, please visit: http://www.duicentral.com/


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