Marijuana is Legal In Illinois, but it's Still Trouble in Wisconsin!
By Andrew Mishlove on December 31, 2019
News Alert: Illinois Legalizes Recreational Marijuana!
It May Be Legal in Illinois, but It’s Still Trouble in Wisconsin!
Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC
Wisconsin’s Only Board Certified Specialists in Defense of Impaired Driving Cases.
Wisconsin’s next door neighbors, Michigan and Illinois, are now the tenth and eleventh states to legalize recreational marijuana. Everyone expects that there will be a significant amount of THC tourism. That is, people will drive from Wisconsin to Michigan or Illinois to purchase and use marijuana legally, and then return to Wisconsin.
Be careful, because Wisconsin still has a zero tolerance policy for marijuana. When a person is arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana in Wisconsin, blood is tested for a metabolite called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9-THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. It is illegal to use recreational marijuana in Michigan or Illinois, and then drive back to Wisconsin, if there is any detectable amount of Delta-9 THC in your system! Wisconsin laboratories will report Delta-9 THC levels as low as 1 nanogram, which is no more than a trace amount (some other states have made the legal limit 5 nanograms, but Wisconsin has kept the zero tolerance policy). It is possible to legally use recreational marijuana on a Friday night, and return to Wisconsin on Saturday or Sunday, and still be over the Wisconsin legal limit of any detectable amount.
Wisconsin does not require proof of “impairment” to convict for driving under the influence of marijuana. It does not matter whether or not you are high, as Wisconsin’s any detectable amount limit does not require proof of impairment. All that is required is a detectable amount of Delta-9-THC. This “zero-tolerance” law results in people being convicted with no more than trace amounts of THC in their system.
Even if a person isn’t high, the penalties for an any detectable amount of THC offense are the same as a regular drunken driving case.
So, use extreme caution in using marijuana out-of-state and driving back to Wisconsin. Although, for most people, the Delta-9 THC level will dissipate within 12 hours, for some people it may linger as long as 48 hours. If you are a regular marijuana smoker, you may have trace amounts of Delta-9 THC for much longer periods of time, even if you have not recently used marijuana.
So, what do you do if you are arrested for a Wisconsin any detectable of THC violation? Is it always a hopeless case? The answer is that even under Wisconsin zero tolerance law, there may be valid defenses. You should have your case evaluated by a qualified attorney.
Since these cases often involve routine traffic stops rather than erratic driving, an expert attorney should evaluate the driving, stop, personal contact, roadside testing, and arrest procedures. When an unimpaired person is arrested for an any detectable amount of THC violation, there is a burden upon the government to show that it had a proper legal basis for the arrest, and the intrusion of a mandatory blood draw.
In these kind of cases, a qualified attorney is one who is trained and experienced not only in the effects of marijuana, but also in the analytic chemistry used by the state to detect THC in the blood. At Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC, we have achieved not guilty verdicts in cases where the laboratory claimed that they detected trace amounts of THC, but we were able to show that these were likely no more than laboratory errors!
We are Wisconsin’s only true specialists in this field. We are the lawyers that teach the other lawyers. Andrew Mishlove is the creator and the Course Director of the Serious Science courses, which are the nation’s leading courses for lawyers on how to defend drugged driving cases (see www.NCDD.com).
If you need help, submit an online case evaluation request or call us at any time. The phones are always answered by a live person.
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