Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Marijuana Breathalyzer May Lead to More DUI Arrests in Georgia

Posted by Richard Lawson | Aug 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

It is not common knowledge that you can receive a DUI in Georgia specifically for being under the influence of marijuana. Georgia DUI Drugs charges are handled a little differently because there is no quantitative legal limit for drug use or intoxication. However, the penalties faced are just as harsh, and Georgia DUI Penalties are some of the harshest in the country.

As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I get calls every week about the marijuana laws in our state. Other states have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana, but Georgia has not. We have very strict laws on marijuana in Georgia - from a misdemeanor possession of marijuana in Georgia to felony manufacturing marijuana in Georgia. 

Moreover, Georgia police are becoming increasingly more concerned about stoned drivers endangering themselves and others on roadways. 

The reality is that there are few accurate roadside tests to detect impairment from marijuana. Officers rely largely on the same tests that were developed to detect drunk drivers. 

New Marijuana Breathalyzer Prototype

Hounds Labs, a company out of California, has apparently made a major breakthrough by creating a marijuana breathalyzer - a device meant to mimic an alcohol breathalyzer by detecting marijuana on the accused breath of the driver. 

This device is meant to detect if there is any THC in the breath of the accused driver. The tools available now to officers regarding marijuana detection are blood, saliva, or urine tests. With the current tools, results come back in days or weeks, which is a problem for law enforcement. With tests like this, there is no way to tell whether or not the accused driver smoked before driving or weeks previously. THC dissolves in fat so it can stay in the body up to a month after use. 

The marijuana breathalyzer cannot calculate the amount of THC consumed. It is important for me to note that a driver who smoked marijuana weeks ago is not impaired today. 

Mind you, there are no agreements in the scientific community about what amount of THC constitutes functional impairment.

A few different major cities, possibly including Atlanta, are gearing up to partner up with Hound Labs to test the new breathalyzer as early as this fall. The company has made statements that they are hoping to have a product completely ready for law enforcement by early 2019. On top of that, there are several other companies that are now attempting to make prototypes. 

Practice Note

As a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney, I handle many different types of cases involving drug offenses in Georgia. Most of the time, people are shocked at the amount of penalties they are facing when they make it to court. Georgia takes drug crimes very seriously - and the majority of the time, officers end up with low level drug users or street dealers under arrest. 

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Georgia, contact our offices today. We can help you - your defense starts with us. We have years of experience in Georgia Criminal Defense and will fight for your rights and your freedom. 

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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