Two NFL players, both running backs for the Pittsburg Steelers, were recently arrested on suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession. Although the driver of the vehicle, Le'Veon Bell, reportedly admitted to purchasing and smoking marijuana, he allegedly claimed that he did not know that he could face marijuana-related DUI charges.
This case brings about an interesting point. Although some drivers may be unaware of this, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while one's abilities are impaired by drugs – including illegal drugs as well as prescription and even over-the-counter medication. Although the players were arrested in Pennsylvania and will be subject to that state's laws pertaining to marijuana DUI, each state has its own (very similar) implementation of DUI laws that apply to drugs.
In California, a driver may face criminal charges for DUI involving alcohol or drugs. The circumstances of the players' arrests are similar to what may have occurred if the same incident had occurred in our state.
According to reports, the players were pulled over on August 20 as they were on their way to the airport for a preseason game. The police allegedly discovered marijuana and Bell, who was driving, admitted to having purchased and smoked it. Although he claimed that he did not know he could face DUI charges related to marijuana, this does not protect him from prosecution. Police subsequently administered a sobriety test, which he allegedly failed, and he was taken into custody and transported to the hospital for a blood test.
Although field sobriety tests may be used to determine whether a driver's normal abilities are impaired or influenced by alcohol/drugs, there is currently no standard Breathalyzer test that can detect marijuana. As such, drivers who are suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana or other controlled substances may be subject to blood or urine tests to determine the presence and amount of the substance in their systems. The presence of a controlled substance at the scene (in the vehicle) may serve to further incriminate a driver in a drug-related DUI case.
At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, we represent drivers in Orange County and across Southern California in the face of all types of DUI charges, including those involving drugs. These cases can present unique complexities, but we are familiar with both the science and legislation that apply to DUI of drugs. For more information about our firm and your rights as a driver who has been pulled over for alleged drugged driving, please call for a confidential case review.
A competent DUI defense attorney may be your best – and only – chance at avoiding a conviction and serious penalties. Call our offices today to get started.