Some DUIs might not be what they appear…

“Cary woman charged with DUI in single-vehicle crash”

That’s the headline of the article in the newspaper.  After reading it, curiosity got the best of me.  DUIs aren’t that uncommon.  Single-vehicle crashes aren’t uncommon, either.  Neither are the two of them together.  So, I read on:

WOODSTOCK – A 29-year-old Cary woman was charged with driving under the influence, after she veered her car off the roadway Tuesday and crashed into a culvert in unincorporated Woodstock.

The driver [whose name and address I’ll redact because she’s already having a bad enough day], was also charged with failure to reduce speed, marijuana possession, drug paraphernalia possession, and endangering the life of a child, according to a McHenry County Sheriff news release. A male juvenile was a passenger in the car.

Interesting.  Not so much for what it says, more for what it doesn’t.  What it doesn’t say is that alcohol, or any substance, was believed to contribute to the accident.  Nor does it say that it was an alcohol DUI.  Reading between the lines (because the clerk’s computers haven’t been updated), it very well might be a cannabis/marijuana/THC DUI.

There are people out there- lots of them, actually- who think the marijuana/THC DUI laws in this state are a little silly.  You can count me among those people.  Essentially, if there is any amount of THC (the active ingredient in cannabis) in your system, you can be cited for DUI.  The odd part is that conventional testing can sense THC in your system as many as 30 days after consuming the drug.  That’s odd, because you really aren’t experiencing any effects from the drug at that point- but you can still get a DUI.
Which gets us back to the article.  Did the “DUI” contribute to the accident at all?  It doesn’t look like the police bothered to tell that to the reporter if it did:

Investigators found that [the lady’s] black 2008 Mazda veered from the southbound lane on Dean Street, north of Route 176, to the northbound lane and entered a ditch.

The vehicle then struck a culvert, overturned and hit a tree, police said. The juvenile was taken to Centegra Hospital – Woodstock as a precaution. [The driver] did not seek medical attention, police said.

They also didn’t say that in the McHenry County Sheriff’s Press Release.  I’d really hate to think that this accident only made the news because the police fed a story to the newspaper making it sound like the accident was caused by some sort of impairment when, really, the two are unrelated.  That happens too frequently.

Author: matthaiduk

Matt Haiduk is a criminal defense lawyer in Illinois. He loves his dog. And pizza.

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