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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

Man charged after driving to police station

A 49-year-old man was taken into custody after a police officer smelled marijuana on his person and in his vehicle. Authorities say that the man had driven to a Washington State Patrol office to pay a utility bill and had parked in an area reserved for patrol cars. Upon making contact with the driver, the officer asked him if he knew where he was and if he always paid his utility bill at that location.

The man answered yes to both questions according to authorities, and he also admitted that he had smoked marijuana when asked by the officer. Based on the answers to those questions and the smell coming from the man and his vehicle, the officer took him into custody even though the officer never saw the man drive. The driver was charged with suspicion of DUI involving drugs.

Drivers who are observed or suspected of driving under the influence of drugs may receive the same penalties as those charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Penalties may include jail time, a fine and a license suspension or revocation. If there was an aggravating factor in the case, a driver may spend time in prison as opposed to jail. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to talk with an attorney who may create a defense to the charges.

For instance, an attorney may argue that a driver shouldn't be charged with a DUI because he or she wasn't actually impaired. In some cases, marijuana or other substances may remain in the body long after they were ingested. It may also be possible to argue that a positive blood test may have been the result of secondhand exposure to the drug.

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