Marijuana Is Now Legal in Maryland: What Does This Mean for Drivers?
On November 8th of 2022, Maryland voters approved a ballot referendum to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Beginning July 1, 2023, adults will be able to legally possess up to one and a half ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to two plants. While attitudes are changing with regard to the use of marijuana, the fact remains that driving while high presents serious dangers to other drivers on the road. If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone who was under the influence of marijuana, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
It is Still Against the Law to Drive While Under the Influence of Drugs
While the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized, Maryland law still prohibits driving while under the influence of any drug, including marijuana. Anyone who is driving while under the influence of marijuana can be charged with DWI (driving while impaired). Drivers can be charged with DWI without a drug test, based upon the officer’s impression that the driver is too impaired to safely operate a motor vehicle. Even if the charge is backed by a drug test, these cases can be sometimes challenging because there is no objective measure of impairment as there is with alcohol. Experienced criminal defense lawyers know how to raise issues with the testing, the officer’s observations, or whether the driver was actually impaired.
You May Still Have a Claim Even if There Are No Charges or Conviction
The good news is that you don’t need to wait to pursue a claim if you have been injured in an accident caused by someone who was under the influence of marijuana. Regardless of whether they are charged with DWI or their charge is dismissed, driving while under the influence of marijuana is evidence of negligence. However, proving that they were impaired can be challenging. While you won’t have the results of a drug test to prove your claim, the following evidence could help you prove your case:
- The driver was driving erratically prior to the accident
- Your observations concerning the driver’s behavior immediately following the accident – dilated pupils, red eyes, lack of coordination, inability to focus or speak coherently
- You could smell marijuana on their person or emanating from their car
- Statements from witnesses to the accident
- Statements from passengers in either vehicle
Of course, you probably do not need to rely entirely on making the argument that the driver was under the influence of marijuana. Other factors such as speeding or breaking traffic laws can also support your claim. An experienced car accident lawyer will know how to get the evidence you need to build your case.
Contact Car Accident Lawyer Tom Pyles if You Have Been Injured in a Marijuana-Related Car Accident
At the Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles, we understand the challenges that accident victims face. We have decades of experience behind us – let us help you get the compensation you need to rebuild your life. Contact us today at 301-705-5006 to schedule a free consultation.