Home > It's A Legal Matter > (Not) impaired driving

(Not) impaired driving

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader


It is against the law in Indiana to operate a vehicle with marijuana or its metabolite within the driver’s body. Indiana law also prohibits the possession of marijuana.

Meet Tim. He’s not a real guy. I made him up. Tim owns a successful consulting firm. Tim has never been in trouble with the law. Tim also volunteers on a committee that is working on improving the state’s economy.

Tim and a group of people from around the Midwest travel to Colorado to learn more about the financial and social impact of the legalization of recreational marijuana. Tim meets with public officials in Colorado who share their knowledge. Tim and the other members of the coalition also tour a large legal indoor marijuana grow operation. Tim learns about some of the necessary regulations involved with the operation, harvesting, distribution and sale of legal marijuana within Colorado.

After the tour and presentation, representatives from some of the marijuana retailers answer questions. They offer samples of marijuana products such as infused fruit drinks, oils, and edibles like cookies and candies. Tim never before tried marijuana but he’s intrigued. He decides to try a marijuana infused cookie marketed toward first time users.

Several others from the group sample various products. No one in the group is driving.

Tim feels a slight effect from the cookie and gets a little better understanding of why people 21 years or older in Colorado might use marijuana. Tim is interested to share his knowledge about Colorado’s recreational marijuana industry with lawmakers and other interested parties in Indiana.

Tim and the group fly back to their respective states the next day. Needless to say, they all enjoyed their trip.

About a week after returning to Indiana, Tim picks up his daughter from swim practice. Tim backs up from his parking spot and hears a loud thud and scream from the rear of his vehicle. Tim gets out of his car and sees a boy and a skateboard on the ground. Blood is dripping from a cut on the boy’s forehead.

Tim calls 911.

An ambulance and several police officers arrive. Medics begin treating the boy. Tim tells the police officers what happened. An officer asks Tim if he’ll submit to a blood draw. Tim agrees.

Tim doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to be charged with a felony because the accident occurred while a trace of marijuana was still in his system.

Tim isn’t high and he’s not impaired. Traces of marijuana or its metabolite can remain in the body for several weeks. Tim complied with Colorado law. His legal problems started, however, when he returned home to Indiana with marijuana or its metabolite still within his body.


Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you

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