Pot DUI's Create Hours of Work for Officers - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Pot DUI's Create Hours of Work for Officers

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RICHLAND, WA - Police say getting behind the wheel if you've been smoking marijuana is just as bad as drinking and driving. It's the same charge, the same consequences, and the same protocol as an alcohol DUI.

Officers have always been trained, not only to look for drunk drivers, but impaired drivers. Even before marijuana was legal for recreational use, people were still getting busted for driving high. 

It works the same as an alcohol DUI. You get pulled over and they test your abilities like walking a straight line or saying your ABC's. The difference with a drug DUI is there is no breathalyzer test. Instead, they have to draw blood and that requires a search warrant and often times, hours more work.

"Once the individual is determined to be under the influence we contact a judge. Usually for a telephonic search warrant. Once the search warrant is secured we transport the individual, in Richland's case, to Kadlec Hospital and they provide a phlebotomist and they draw the blood and they give the blood sample to the officers," said Captain Mike Cobb with the Richland Police Department.

That blood center is then considered evidence. The officer must send it to the state crime lab in Cheney where it's analyzed. If the results come back with five or more nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, you'll be charged with DUI. 

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