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New device could detect marijuana, lead to DUI charges


While it is common for police in Nevada to conduct a breath test to determine a motorist's blood alcohol content, testing for driving under the influence of drugs, specifically marijuana, has been more difficult. That is because up until recently, blood tests for marijuana may detect the drug, but they are not able to pinpoint whether a driver is currently high or whether there are simply residual drugs in their system from prior marijuana use that has not impaired the motorist's driving. However, new technological advancements may change that.

A new device developed by Hound Labs that is about as big as a large cellphone may be able to provide a more accurate assessment of a motorist's intoxication with regards to marijuana. Like a breath test for alcohol, the motorist breaths into a tube on the device. The device then detects whether the motorist has smoked marijuana within the last two hours. In addition, the device can also be used to conduct breath tests for alcohol.

This is an important breakthrough, especially in states like Nevada that permit the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. Currently, police must rely on field sobriety tests to determine if a motorist is driving under the influence of marijuana. However, these tests can sometimes be unreliable if the officer incorrectly administers them.

If a motorist is accused of driving under the influence of marijuana, he or she may be concerned about how such charges will affect his or her future. However, it is possible to fight DUI charges. One could argue that a field sobriety test was incorrectly administered or interpreted. It may also be possible to claim that any drugs in the motorist's system were residual from drug use days in the past. In the end, while this post is not to be taken as legal advice, depending on one's case, it may be possible to develop a criminal defense strategy that can help one avoid a DUI conviction based on marijuana use.

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