The “breathalyzer” – first introduced as a way to test for alcohol intoxication in the 1960s and made widely available by the end of the 1970s – radically changed the way law enforcement across the US patrolled drunk driving, giving police officers immediate evidence to support an arrest of a driver for DUI. With marijuana use becoming more widespread and legal across California and other states, however, the technology for determining whether a driver is illegally impaired due to THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) has trailed much further behind. But that all may be changing as an Oakland-based company has begun working with California law enforcement to test “The Hound,” a marijuana breathalyzer that will detect the impairment of a driver from either smoking marijuana or consuming marijuana edibles.
How The Hound Works
California law enforcement has been using The Hound in tests by pulling over drivers who are driving erratically and asking them to breathe into The Hound to test for THC, although no arrests are being made currently for THC impairment based on evidence collected by the device. The Hound has the ability to measure for THC in the parts per trillion, and can detect the presence of THC both in the driver’s breath as well as in their bloodstream. Because THC generally remains in a person’s breath for a few hours after smoking cannabis, and will not be in their breath at all if edibles are consumed, the ability to test the bloodstream will provide a more accurate measure of the amount of THC in a person’s body. THC remains in the bloodstream for up to seven days after ingestion.
The Difference Between Alcohol and Marijuana DUI Law
California DUI laws make it a crime to drive a car when a person’s blood alcohol content is 0.08% or over, regardless of how physically or mentally impaired the driver may actually be. That is a critical difference between alcohol and marijuana, as there is no specific threshold for the amount of THC in a person’s body that is sufficient for a DUI conviction. Instead, the law looks at whether a person under the influence of THC is “impaired,” which can be a very vague determination, especially in light of the fact that users can have widely varying physical and mental reactions to similar amounts of THC.
Experienced Criminal Defense in Your California Drug Matter
The experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Omar Gastelum and Associates, PLC, with offices in Los Angeles and Newport Beach, fight for the rights of defendants in criminal prosecutions and investigations across Southern California. For confidential legal advice in your DUI matter, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.