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Attorney James G. Dimeas
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Medical Cannabis/Marijuana and DUI

Medical Marijuana/Cannabis Legal in Illinois

In 2013, the State of Illinois passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (410 ILCS 130/1) into law. This law made Illinois the 12th State in the country to make the medical use of Cannabis legal in the State of Illinois. The law created a process by which citizens of the State, who are suffering from certain medical conditions, to petition the Illinois Department of Public Health to obtain a card, which, along with a Medical Doctor's approval, allows a patient to legally purchase, possess, and use Medical Marijuana to treat their medical condition.  The effect of the Medical Marijuana statute was that it gave criminal immunity to businesses that are licensed to cultivate and distribute Medical Marijuana and gives criminal immunity to individuals who purchase, possess, and use Medical Marijuana as long as they are licensed and registered to do so under the Medical Marijuana statue.

Up until Medical Marijuana was legalized in Illinois, it was illegal to operate a motor vehicle on the roadway with any amount of Marijuana in your system. Before Medical Marijuana was legalized in Illinois, in order to be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), as long as prosecutors were able to prove in Court that you had any amount of Marijuana in your system while you were operating a motor vehicle, you could be found guilty of a DUI. Prior to the Medical Marijuana statute, the prosecutor did not have to prove that your driving was impaired or affected in any way in order to prove you guilty of a DUI. When Medical Marijuana was legalized in Illinois, this had the effect of making drastic changes to the DUI Law in Illinois.

Under the Medical Marijuana Statute, a Medical Marijuana card holder cannot be charged with a DUI unless the prosecutor can prove impairment by the use of Marijuana. The Medical Marijuana statute also provides that having a Medical Marijuana card is not a defense to a DUI charge.

What is a DUI in Illinois?

In Illinois, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle on the public roadway while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If a police officer asks you to submit to a blood, urine, or breath test, and you refuse, your Illinois Driver's License, or your privileges to operate a motor vehicle in Illinois, will be suspended for 12-months. If you submit to a breath or blood test, and the blood alcohol content (BAC) was .08 or above, or you had 5-nanograms or more of THC, the intoxicating compound in Marijuana, in your blood or urine, your Illinois Driver's License, or your right to drive in Illinois, will be suspended for 6-months. This is called the Statutory Summary Suspension. The Statutory Summary Suspension will begin on the 46th day after your DUI arrest. The Statutory Summary Suspension is separate from the criminal consequences of a DUI. Most DUI charges in Illinois are a Class A Misdemeanor. A Class A Misdemeanor for a DUI carries a potential jail sentence of up to 1-year and a maximum fine not to exceed $2,500. The Statutory Summary Suspension is separate and distinct from the criminal penalties associated with a DUI in Illinois. In other works, you may win your DUI case but still have a Statutory Suspension because you refused or failed testing.

If you are a Medical Marijuana Card holder and you are subject to a Statutory Summary Suspension because you refused to take a blood or urine test, or if you submitted to testing and you had more than 5 nano-grams of THC in your blood or urine, you will not be eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) and will not be allowed to obtain a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) during the period of your Statutory Summary Suspension.   However, if you  do not have a Medical Marijuana Card are charged with a DUI and you refused to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test, or if you submitted to a testand failed, you will be eligible for a MDDP and you would be allowed to drive your vehicle during the Statutory Summary Suspension as long as you had the BAIID installed in your vehicle.

Field Sobriety Tests and a Medical Marijuana Card

A police officer cannot pull you out of the car and request that you submit to Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) just because you possess a Medical Marijuana Card. The Medical Marijuana statute requires that the police officer have an independent cannabis-related factual basis giving the officer reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of Marijuana before requesting that you submit to SFST. The officer is required to list the basis for his suspicion in his sworn statement. In order for the Statutory Summary Suspension to take effect, a copy of the sworn statement has to be given to the driver and filed with the Illinois Secretary of State and the Court in the County in which the DUI will be heard.

DUI for a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) and Medical Marijuana Card Holder

If you have a CDL and a Medical Marijuana Card, and you refuse SFSTs or fail the SFSTs, you will lose your CDL for 12-months. A second violation of this provision will result in a lifetime ban of your CDL. This penalty will apply to a CDL holder regardless of whether they were operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle or a regular vehicle, at the time of the violation.

Transportation or Use of Medical Marijuana in a Vehicle

It is illegal for a Medical Marijuana Card holder to use Medical Cannabis inside the passenger area of a vehicle while on the roadway. In addition, it is against the law to possess Medical Cannabis inside a motor vehicle on a highway unless it's in a sealed, tamper-proof Medical Cannabis container. 

A violation of this law is a Class A Misdemeanor in Illinois, which carries up to 1-year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. In addition, your Medical Marijuana Card will be revoked for 2-years following the termination date of whatever sentence is imposed by the Court.

When Only the Best DUI Lawyer for a Medical Marijuana DUI Will Do

A DUI can have serious consequences for you. The consequences of a DUI for a Medical Marijuana card holder can be especially harsh. If you have a Medical Marijuana Card, and are being charged with a DUI, you may be looking at the suspension or revocation of your driver's license. In addition, you may be looking at the suspension or revocation of your Medical Marijuana Card. For many Medical Marijuana Card holders, the ability to buy and use Medical Marijuana legally without facing any criminal consequences, is a very important part of their physical health. Just like a heart patient requires heart medicine to stay healthy, many Medical Marijuana Card holders require the ability to use Medical Marijuana so they may function and remain productive in their lives. A DUI for a Medical Marijuana Card holder is more complex and involved than a regular DUI case. If you have a Medical Marijuana Card and are charged with a DUI, it is critical that you hire an attorney that understands how the Illinois DUI laws apply to Medical Marijuana Card holders and understands how to make sure your rights are protected and gives you the best chance of winning your DUI case.

James Dimeas is a nationally-recognized, award-winning, DUI lawyer with over-27 years of experience fighting DUI cases throughout Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, and Lake County. Attorney and Practice Magazine gave James Dimeas the "Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney Award for Illinois," and the "Top 10 DUI Defense Attorney" award. The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys gave James Dimeas the "Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Illinois." Recently, James Dimeas was recognized by the American Society of Legal Advocates as a "Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer in the State of Illinois for the Year 2018, 2019, and 2020. Expertise named James Dimeas a "Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago." James Dimeas was named the "Best DUI Attorney. The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys recognize James Dimeas as a "10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction." The National Trial Lawyers named James Dimeas a "Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer." AVVO rates James Dimeas as "Superb", 10 out of 10, the highest rating possible for any DUI lawyer in the United States of America.

If you have a Medical Marijuana Card and are being charged with a DUI, you can always contact James Dimeas for a free and confidential consultation. You can speak to James Dimeas personally by calling him at 847-807-7405.
Client Reviews
I got into an argument with my ex-boyfriend. One thing led to another and when he came close to me I pushed him away. He called the police and when I spoke to the police I told them that I pushed him without realizing that you don't have to hit someone to be charged with a Domestic Battery. Being arrested was terrifying. I spoke to several attorneys who promised they would win the case and were charging a ridiculous amount of money. A friend referred me to James Dimeas. He was straightforward and honest with me and charged me a very reasonable and affordable fee. He got me into the Kane County Deferred Prosecution Program. I successfully completed the program and I just received paperwork in the mail that the case has been expunged and completely removed from my record. I highly recommend Jim Dimeas. He is an honest and straightforward lawyer that will look out for your best interests. E.A.
Had a DUI and hired a lawyer who lived in my building that I knew for years and trusted. Thought he was my friend. Paid him (more than I should have) and he handled my case for almost a year and totally screwed it up. I fired him and found out that he had given up his law license around the time I hired him. A friend recommended James to me and he took over my case and handled it the way it should have been handled from the beginning. I cannot stress how HIGHLY I recommend James Dimeas. I wish I would have hired him from day one. He answered all my calls and text messages and cleaned up a royal mess that had been created by the previous guy that I thought was a lawyer. I consider James to be a friend and recommend him to all of my friends. What a great lawyer and an even better guy! J.P.
I had been accused of doing something, by my then wife, that I did not do. I was 100% innocent and was at the lowest point in my life. My mother told me to call James Dimeas. Her friend recommended him to her. James fought for me in court and refused to back down, even when the prosecution offered to lower the charges and make me plead guilty. I refused to plead guilty to something I did not do. The case went to trial and James won my case. I was found not guilty because I was NOT GUILTY. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND JAMES DIMEAS! Not only is he a great lawyer, but he is also a great human being. The truth shall set you free! C.D.
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