The recent legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Canada has potentially major repercussions to people on the roadways. Toronto police are being extra vigilant about impaired driving as a result, which means that TorontoDUI lawyers are needed now more than ever to make sure that people’s rights are respected during traffic stops and in courtroom trials after that. The effects of alcohol and cannabis on drivers are the same in many ways, but they can differ significantly as well. A skilled DUI lawyer can help you navigate this sometimes tricky terrain.
Alcohol’s Effects on a Driver
In most respects, drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel has a more severe impact on a driver than cannabis and driving. Alcohol immediately affects the judgment area of your brain, impairing not only your ability to determine what is a reasonable risk but also your judgment when it comes to how much you should drink. This is one of the main reasons why excessive drinking happens in the first place – people who are slightly drunk often don’t realize that they are impaired and become more likely to drink more. Alcohol also slows down your reaction time, meaning that the chance of stopping before hitting an obstacle in the road is greatly increased. These factors combine to make drunk drivers the most dangerous people on the road.
Marijuana’s Effects on a Driver
Marijuana has similar effects, but to a milder degree in many cases. Like alcohol, marijuana effects your judgment and your reaction time. The degree to which you become affected tends to be less severe than alcohol, but that also depends on the dosage. While a person can easily measure alcohol intake by determining the number of bottles or glasses consumed, dosages of marijuana vary immensely from product to product. A single pot brownie might have a higher amount of cannabis in it than a joint, for example. Cannabis can also impair vision, making it more likely to miss something on the road. With reaction time already slowed, this can lead to deadly consequences.
How A Police Officer Decides if a Driver is Impaired
Whether you get pulled over for impaired driving due to alcohol or marijuana, the arresting officer has certain procedures that need to be followed. Determining your level of impairment often involves a sobriety test. Police officers are trained to pick up on specific signs, including the smell of alcohol or marijuana, erratic movement of the pupils, and decreased motor skills. Even if you pass a field test, the officer might require you to come to the police station to take a more accurate test. You should cooperate with the police but also take mental notes on anything unusual that happens during the traffic stop so you can provide this information to a DUI lawyer later.
The consequences for impaired driving in Ontario include fines, loss of your driver’s licence, and potential jail time for repeat offences. By knowing the facts, you can make sure to avoid a potential traffic stop while also knowing what information to tell to your DUI lawyer if you do get pulled over for impaired driving.