A breathalyzer that is able to determine if a driver smoked pot could be ready for use in select cities starting in the fall, according to a company developing the first-of-its-kind product.
With recreational weed now legal in nine states and the District of Columbia, California-based Hound Labs Inc. has created a marijuana-breathalyzer it says will make roads safer and hold drivers accountable. The company claims the device is hypersensitive, allowing it to pick up any THC — the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — potentially present on drivers’ breath.
Currently, officers who suspect a driver is impaired can only test the hunch with field sobriety tests. Blood, breath or urine samples could be taken to determine if a driver is high, but such tests can be inaccurate. Those tests also detect if the driver was high that day or week, rather than if they were high while operating the vehicle in that instance.
Tools such as Hound Labs’ alcohol-and-marijuana breathalyzer or Canadian company Cannabix Technologies Inc.’s THC breathalyzer aim to present an objective determination of recent marijuana use.
Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration above .08 percent are considered under the influence of alcohol or driving while impaired. Driving under the influence of marijuana is a subject that seems up for debate when it comes to determining impairment.
For Hound Labs’ breathalyzers, that qualification is marked by timing. Though the company’s breathalyzers can determine how much marijuana is in someone’s breath, the actual level of THC is not as relevant as recency of use for determining whether an individual is high, according to their research.
THC only stays in breath during the “peak window of impairment,” about one to two hours after smoking marijuana, according to Hound Labs. The level of THC found in breath samples drops to zero at three hours after smoking, the company’s research found.
When an individual blows into the breathalyzer, it can determine within a couple minutes whether there is alcohol, THC or both in the person’s system. Since THC is only present in someone’s breath during that peak two-hour window, the driver is considered impaired when it’s detected.
The breathalyzer would then display “Warning” if THC is detected and “Pass” if it is not.
It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any combination of these. A DUI marijuana charge is just as serious as a DUI charge involving alcohol, even if they are charged as misdemeanor offenses. With this type of conviction on your record, your ability to obtain employment may be limited, obtaining insurance will be difficult and your premiums will absolutely go up. If you are ever convicted of another DUI, the penalties attached to a conviction will likely be enhanced.
Because of these many reasons, you need a Florida DUI Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton to help you fight these charges. We have helped numerous clients avoid the harsh penalties of driving while high or drunk. Learn more about how we can help with your DUI case – call us today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.