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Legalized marijuana may increase risk for DUI in Portland

Many Oregon residents understand the dangers and the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol. People understand how alcohol can impair a person's judgment and make driving dangerous. However, many people have different views about the recreational use of marijuana. People may not associate marijuana use and driving under the influence.

However, Oregon residents should understand that even with Oregon's progressive drug laws, people who drive after consuming marijuana can be subject to the same penalties as those caught drinking and driving. In Oregon, a person driving under the influence of marijuana can be arrested and charged with DUI.

In fact, police speculate that this may become a larger problem in the Portland area now that the retail sale of marijuana is legal in nearby Washington. Police claim that people may be tempted to travel to Washington to recreationally use marijuana, and then travel back to Oregon. Drivers could then be arrested for DUI upon returning to Oregon.

If people are arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of marijuana, they should know that they have legal rights. Oregon police can only pull over a car on suspicion of DUI, if the driver has shown some sign of intoxication. Furthermore, a person cannot be arrested, unless that person fails a field sobriety test or police have some other probable cause that the person has recently used marijuana.

If police do not follow these specific DUI rules, an arrest for DUI can be challenged in court. In some cases, people can challenge police procedures to exclude evidence from court and get charges dismissed. By excluding evidence, people can avoid penalties including jail time, fines, driver's license suspension and more.

Source: International Business Times, "Transporting Pot Across State Lines: Oregon Police Say Driving While High Is Biggest Concern About Legal Marijuana Purchases in Neighboring Washington," Philip Ross, July 7, 2014

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