Recently, I was asked to comment on the reasons why your case needs a medical marijuana expert. It’s a great read and incorporates plenty of other experts in the field.
Those who know me will tell you I always advocate for hiring the best expert you can find. It holds true when you build a home, have your car repaired and especially when you’re facing a criminal conviction. In a court of law, you can’t afford to go it alone. That’s why we’re here – to provide the best legal defense possible for you and your family.
So why do you need a medical marijuana expert? Here’s why:
A medical marijuana expert understands impairment.
In Arizona, our firm has seen landmark cases in which the expert’s opinion was a crucial deciding factor for the jury. Arizona is creating legal precedent with cases like Darrah v. Hon. Mcclennen/City of Mesa where we, as lawyers, are literally breaking new ground every day in the defense of individuals charged with marijuana possession or driving under the influence.
As with any new battleground in the legal field, the quality of your case can many times rely on the quality of the experts you choose to support your case. Experts on the effects of marijuana are commonly retained for DUI cases in order to first determine if the drug was present in the defendant’s system, and secondly, to quantify if the percentage found in the defendant’s blood was significant enough to prove impairment.
Experts responsible for supporting arguments involving impairment are typically highly educated criminalists and doctors who specialize in internal medicine – professionals well versed in the effects of marijuana and with extensive experience testifying in court.
A marijuana expert can bolster your defense – and weaken the prosecution’s case.
Typically, the prosecution has no problem seeking a conviction for drug possession if they’ve proven the individual was in possession of marijuana. In this case, a marijuana expert can’t do much to bolster the defense. However, the defense can argue the individual legally obtained a medical marijuana card, and should not be convicted for drug possession based on state laws. Depending on the prosecutor and judge however, this argument won’t necessarily be impactful.
If a DUI is involved, the situation becomes much more complex, and the support of an experienced marijuana expert is crucial. Unlike alcohol, marijuana traces, or metabolites, remain in the system for longer periods of time. An expert is needed to discuss how metabolites affect the body and whether these trace amounts of the drug resulted in impairment.
Drug identification “experts” aren’t doctors.
Unlike marijuana experts such as criminalists and internal medicine doctors who defense attorneys call upon to help with a case, drug recognition experts (DREs) or drug identification experts typically focus solely on proving that drugs were present in the defendant’s system at the time of the arrest.
DREs aren’t nearly as qualified as doctors to speak on impairment, and aren’t highly educated on the medical aspect of whether the driver was impaired. They have undergone training and courses to “recognize” impairment based on their previous experiences as well as a person’s behavior and actions. That’s why highly qualified drug experts are so crucial if your client is ultimately charged. For us, science trumps what a DRE might see on the side of the road.