Can You Get Charged for DUI Drugs on Over the Counter CBD Marijuana (HEMP)?

Being licensed to drive in the United States is not only a privilege, but it is an incredible responsibility. As a result, no one should ever operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated or impaired. Doing so may result in accident, injury and severe legal challenges, including arrest and imprisonment. While the line is fairly clear regarding impairment due to substances like alcohol, the law can be a bit less clear when it comes to driving after taking substances like prescription medications or over-the-counter supplements like cannabidiol, also known as CBD.

What is CBD?

CBD is a chemical compound that is derived and extracted from the cannabis plant. Cannabis is widely regarded simply as marijuana by many people, but the truth is that cannabis is used for things like the manufacture of textiles using hemp, and CBD is just one of the compounds found in the cannabis plant. What makes CBD different in terms of the normal association of psycho-activity experienced by ingesting marijuana is that it actually counteracts tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

THC is the compound found in cannabis that produces the high that users experience by smoking or eating cannabis products, but CBD works against THC to reduce or eliminate any psychoactive effects. As a result, CBD does not produce any type of high or psychoactive reactions when ingested, but it does potentially produce health benefits for people affected by conditions that cause seizures, anxiety and inflammation. In addition, CBD is derived from the stalk of the cannabis plant, so it does not come from the buds which provide THC users with a psychoactive experience.

Facts About CBD

  • CBD is not a psychoactive substance
  • CBD is recognized as potentially having health benefits
  • Though derived from the cannabis plant, CBD is not marijuana
  • CBD alone does not produce any intoxicating effects

 Can You Be Charged with DUI While Taking CBD?

The question of whether you can be charged with DUI after using CBD is a bit of a gray area in the law. Essentially, in Arizona and many other states, impairment and intoxication can be two different things. Intoxication means that you have taken a substance that has caused you to be impaired. Impaired driving, on the other hand, simply means that you are unable to safely operate a vehicle. Impairment does not necessarily mean intoxication. For example, if you are sleep deprived, you are not intoxicated, but you may be impaired.

What this means for driving after taking CBD is that if anything has caused you impairment, including CBD, then you may be able to be charged with a DUI. This is because you have taken a substance that may have contributed to impairment, even if the impairment is not solely caused by the substance. Once again, driving after taking any type of medication that causes impairment falls into the same category. It’s important to point out, however, that under Arizona’s Title 13-3401, state law prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle after taking any type of drug, but the issue of whether CBD is represented properly here is up for debate.

For most people, CBD will not lead to any type of impairment, but until you know exactly how CBD will affect your body and mind, you are advised to avoid driving. Likewise, you should speak with your doctor prior to taking any type of new medication or supplement, prescription or otherwise, to ensure that there is nothing within your medical history that may lead to a dangerous interaction.

Driving, DUI and CBD

  • Law enforcement may be unclear about what CBD is and is not
  • Arizona DUI laws are murky when it comes to CBD usage and driving
  • Always consult with your doctor prior to driving on CBD
  • It is best to remain silent about any substances you’ve taken if arrested

 Proving Impairment Due to CBD Usage in a DUI Case

If arrested for DUI while taking CBD, the arresting law enforcement officer must prove in court that he or she had reasonable suspicion that you were impaired due to CBD, so it would be best to avoid discussing your CBD usage until you can consult with your attorney. Because CBD is still a somewhat unknown and controversial substance, the officer and the court may not understand its effects. Talking to law enforcement about taking CBD may make matters worse. As mentioned, CBD alone should not cause any physical or mental impairment, but because the compound is associated with marijuana in many people’s minds, it’s best left to your attorney to work out the specifics of how the situation should be handled going forward.

You Are Innocent Until Proven Guilty

  • The state must prove that you were intoxicated due to CBD
  • There is currently no standard regarding CBD testing
  • Contact your attorney as soon as possible after a DUI arrested
  • Remain courteous, polite, but resolute after being arrested

 How an Attorney Familiar with DUI Drugs Can Help

After being arrested for a DUI drugs, you’ll likely be taken to the local jail for processing. From there, you may be questioned regarding the events that led up to your arrest. It’s during this time that the arresting officer and other law enforcement personnel may try to get you to speak about any medications or supplements you may have taken. You may feel compelled or even intimidated into talking during this process, but in doing so, you are likely just giving ammunition to the police to use against you.

When arrested in Arizona for a DUI or other suspected crime, you are afforded all of the rights included in the United States Constitution. Among these are the right against self-incrimination, meaning you do not have to speak to law enforcement. Additionally, you have the right to have your attorney present during any and all questioning. By exercising this right, you are giving yourself the chance to receive legal counsel prior to making any type of statement that can and will be presented in a court case against you. Your attorney will know how to best answer any questions to assist you in asserting your innocence.

An Arizona DUI Attorney Provides Defense Services and Strategies

  • Your Arizona DUI attorney will know specific laws regarding CBD and DUI
  • Ask your attorney questions if you’re unclear on your next legal step
  • Allow your attorney to speak on your behalf whenever possible
  • Be honest and forthcoming regarding all aspects of your case with your attorney

 Contact a Defense Attorney Who Will Fight for Your Rights

If you’ve been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of CBD or any other type of substance, you need a criminal defense attorney on your side who will fight for your rights. The attorneys at DM Cantor are skilled and experienced in providing legal help for those who have been wrongfully charged in DUI cases and can assist you in clearing your good name. Mistakes happen in law enforcement, and sometimes, innocent people are arrested and charged improperly and illegally. Because the judicial system can be very complex to navigate on your own, a defense attorney is a vital resource when correcting errors and understanding your rights.

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About the Author

Attorney Matthew L. Nebeker provides strong and aggressive legal representation for DUI cases in Salt Lake

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