weed stayes in your system for 30 or more days! so testing someone for weed is bullshit how can they say they were high at that time..
By Catherine Wagley
By Catherine Wagley
By Wendy Gilmartin
By Jennifer Swann
By Claire de Dobay Rifelj
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Catherine Wagley
By Zachary Pincus-Roth
PERLMAN: LAPD, CHP, L.A. Sheriff's Department, etc., rely on the very subjective set of tests collectively called FSTs, or field sobriety tests. The single-page document on which officers report their observations does not have any place to indicate a good or error-free performance. There are only places to indicate mistakes, etc.
If you are stopped by the police on suspicion of DUI(D), what should you do?
MARGOLIN: If you have had anything to drink or smoke, don't take the field sobriety test, even if they threaten to arrest you. ... The reality is that they can arrest you at any time if they think you're impaired. For sure, if you're impaired, don't take it. Or if you've had a drink. Field sobriety tests can reflect even a .05 BAC [a legal amount of alcohol]. If you're uncoordinated, or have a disability, it could look like you're impaired.
PERLMAN: This is on my business card and website: "You may relate or even read the following to the officer: I hereby invoke my right to remain silent, and wish counsel to be provided if I am being detained, or arrested and questioned.
"I respectfully refuse to submit to field sobriety testing and a preliminary alcohol screening device [PAS breath test].
"I will submit to a breath or blood test in conformity with implied consent ONLY.
"I do not consent to a search of my person, vehicle, residence, business and/or property."
Remember, these officers are listening for you to make admissions of guilt. It actually costs me about six DUI cases a month, but I'm very happy when I get a call or an email that says someone made it through a checkpoint or DUI stop because they followed the instructions on my card.
Should you stay silent even if threatened with arrest? If arrested, what should you do?
MARGOLIN: The jury is not allowed to infer your guilt from your silence. The more you say, the more evidence.
PERLMAN: As a general rule, you cannot talk your way out of an arrest, only into an easy conviction. Be cooperative, friendly and frank. Even if you don't have a lawyer, always blame your lawyer — as in, "My attorney told me to never talk to the police." Most of my clients would have walked on their cases if they had kept their mouths shut.
Alcohol is usually gone from your body within 12 hours, but marijuana can linger a week or longer.
PERLMAN: Yes, but the quantity of the metabolite necessary for the DA to proceed on a DUI charge will be gone from your system far quicker than that. Typically, even though I've seen arrests due to finding some weed in the ashtray or smelling it there, if you haven't smoked that day, they are unlikely to prosecute. You will, however, have already suffered the arrest, having your car impounded, etc.
MARGOLIN: [Metabolites can last], like, 30 days in urine. Blood, like, a day. If you haven't smoked that day, you may want to take a blood test. The blood test is more accurate. If it's in your urine, it's more [open to] debate.
So there is no set limit on the THC in your blood before you're automatically deemed intoxicated?
PERLMAN: It is arbitrary, and likely varies by DA, courthouse and county. But if the officer thinks you were impaired, he will proceed against you.
Can you explain "per se" laws in states like Nevada and Arizona for testing THC metabolites in blood and urine?
MARGOLIN: These are laws similar in concept to the statute in the [California] Vehicle Code, which criminalize having in excess of .08 BAC, except that in Arizona, [where] having ANY amount of THC in blood or urine is sufficient to convict for a DUI.
MG: After Nevada enacted a strict "per se" law limiting the amount of THC motorists are allowed to have in their blood, drugged-driving arrests increased 76 percent, perhaps partly because Nevada is a medical-marijuana state. A similar law, AB 2552, which, advocates believe, would make any driver found with above-zero levels of cannabinoids in blood or urine presumptively guilty of DUI, was recently proposed in California by Assemblywoman Norma Torres of Pomona.
Once someone is released on bail, what are strategies for fighting a conviction for DUI(D)?
MARGOLIN: That there was no impairment, just metabolites. Can't tell when the person used it. That the driving wasn't impaired. It's a smell test — if the jury believes there's impairment, they're quick to convict.
PERLMAN: Call your attorney and let him explain it to you based on the particular facts in your case. We are able to at least get a reduction in nearly 75 percent of our cases.
About 70 percent of DUI arrests result in conviction. Is this true for marijuana cases?
MARGOLIN: They don't try many marijuana cases because it's hard. The common understanding is that people can drive with a little marijuana in their systems. Don't admit to use of marijuana or alcohol. Say, "I have a right to a lawyer." They'll try to intimidate you, threaten to arrest you. Don't say anything. Always be polite to the officer.
PERLMAN: The conviction percentage is so high primarily because of the rumor that attorneys can't help you with a first offense and therefore they walk into court by themselves and plead guilty.
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