On July 17, singer Aaron Carter, 29, was arrested in Habersham County, Georgia on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and possession of marijuana. He was arrested at approximately 9pm in the rural county north of Atlanta. According to Habersham County Captain Floyd Canup, Carter is currently facing several charges including DUI, possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana and possession of drug related objects. Carter was in a vehicle with his photographer girlfriend, Madison Parker. She was also arrested and charged with obstruction and two drug-related charges.
Interestingly, authorities did not find Carter with green or leafy marijuana. Carter has tweeted that he holds a medical license for medical marijuana. Georgia’s medical marijuana program only provides for low-concentration THC oil and official statements have responded that Georgia law does not allow for the type of marijuana found during the arrest. It is unclear from reports what other form of marijuana Carter had – whether it was marijuana edibles, high concentration THC oil, a THC inhaler, or some other product.
New Jersey and Medical Marijuana
If Carter had been found driving while intoxicated due to marijuana in New Jersey, he still could have been charged under New Jersey’s laws. New Jersey, like Georgia, has a medical marijuana program. Earlier this year, the number of enrollees in the program surpassed 10,000 active members for the first time.
Importantly, New Jersey law does not allow any driver to drive while intoxicated, regardless of whether or not he or she is intoxicated due to a legally prescribed or obtained medication. This means that it may not be a defense that a driver is part of the medical marijuana program if it can be shown that the driver was intoxicated and the driver’s impairment was such that he or she posed a danger to him or herself or others on the road.
Furthermore, unlike some other states, New Jersey’s medical marijuana law does not allow persons with an out-of-state medical marijuana license to possess marijuana in the state without also having a New Jersey medical marijuana license.
DUI/DWI and Marijuana or THC in Other Forms
Similarly, New Jersey does not allow a driver to drive while high due to marijuana regardless of the form the marijuana takes – including “pot brownies” or vapor pens or any other form of THC that can be ingested or absorbed by. Indeed, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical compound in marijuana, comes in many forms now than it ever has before. Gummy bears, soda, flowers (buds), dabs, concentrates, vapor pens, salves, just to name a few.
Although driving under the influence of marijuana was traditionally due to driver’s smoking marijuana before or while getting behind the wheel, Aaron Carter’s arrest mirrors a common arrest scenario that is happening across the United States every day. More and more commonly, the basis for the intoxication is use of marijuana in non-smoked form. An officer will not be able to provide grounds for the arrest based on smelling burnt or raw marijuana inside of a vehicle. Instead, the officer will need to determine whether or not a driver is intoxicated based on other observable reasons, and will require a legal reason to pull the driver over in the first place that does not include smelling marijuana.
Because the field of driving under the influence of marijuana is constantly changing, it is more important than ever to contact an experienced DUI/DWI lawyer if you or anyone you know is ever arrested or charged with driving while high. A good attorney will be able to take the time to sit down with you and review your case, explain what consequences you are facing, and determine any possible defenses you may have, particular in light of laws that can change at any time.
New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help Those Charged with Driving While High
A charge for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can result in serious and complicated penalties that affect you and your loved ones. If you or someone you know is charged for any crime relating to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including marijuana, it is extremely important to contact an experienced DUI/DWI attorney who can explain what rights you have. A good lawyer can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the State of New Jersey.