Can a Urine Test Reveal Marijuana & the Degree of Impairment?
I’m Attorney Kevin Hayslett and I’m here with Forensic Toxicologist, Ron Bell. Ron, one of the questions that I get from time to time is with subjects who’ve been arrested for DUI and provided a urine sample to a law enforcement agency and that sample tests positive for marijuana, what does that tell a jury or tells us, in regards, of whether or not that person was impaired, or affected by marijuana at the time the sample was provided?
Ron: It actually tells us absolutely nothing. The urine sample only provides information about substances that have been eliminated from the body and in the case of marijuana, the canabinoides, the substances in marijuana plant material that produce an effect, can be detected in a urine sample for sometimes days to even weeks after its last use or last influence. So all the urine test indicates is that sometime prior to time of urine collection, marijuana had been used but it does not imply that the individual was under the influence or impaired in any way by marijuana on the date of the incident or time of driving.
Kevin: While we’re on that basic question, how long, for folks out there who receive a positive result for marijuana in their urine, how long can marijuana stay in a person’s urine after the time they smoke it?
Ron: It depends on the frequency of use but even on the lightest use situation,the canabinoides, would be expected to be detected in urine for, probably, up to 7-10 days after last use and Chronic use situations, individuals that smoke marijuana frequently, the canabinoides could be detected for several weeks, in some cases, after last use.
Kevin: So, Ron, if you have a situation that someone gets pulled over for a DUI, they are requested to provide a urine sample, that urine sample comes back positive for the presence marijuana, but that presence of marijuana of urine on that day may actually be reflective of marijuana that they’ve smoked weeks before?
Ron: Yes, that is certainly a possibility.
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Kevin Hayslett, Esq.
J. Kevin Hayslettis an attorney practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and DUI Defense from the Clearwater office and Hillsborough office. Kevin is an avid tennis player and is currently nationally rated in singles and doubles. You can follow Kevin onGoogle+, oron Radio IO on his show, "Kevin's Law". Kevin can also be heard on the Sirius Satellite Radio show during the "Ask the Lawyer" segment, which can be heard the first Thursday of every month.