When it comes to driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated, there is really no distinction. We went into some detail on this question in a post last May. In Virginia, the charge is the same if you are accused of DUI or DWI.
In either case, authorities allege you were impaired. It doesn't matter whether the officer suspected that the impairing substance was alcohol or some other drug. And in either case, the mere leveling of the charges can leave you dealing with repercussions long after any alleged impairment fades away.
There is one thing that makes a DUI allegation involving marijuana use different from other cases of suspected drug impairment. It has to do with answering the question can marijuana impairment be proven by the state? Legal and medical experts agree that it is a tough question to answer.
According to several sources, a simple device for testing a driver's breath to gauge apparent marijuana use may be on the market sometime later this year. Be that as it may, experts also readily admit that the mere presence of THC, the impairing substance in marijuana, in a person's body doesn't necessarily mean that person is impaired.
From a legal perspective, the standard for establishing that a person is impaired by alcohol is generally accepted to be a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent. Researchers acknowledge that we still don't know exactly how to measure if a person is marijuana impaired and they say it could be years before such a standard can be established.
In the meantime, police will continue to leverage the laws they have to accomplish their mission. Protecting the rights of the accused will continue to be the objective of skilled attorneys on behalf of individuals.