In North Carolina, a person is guilty of driving while impaired if they operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or an impairing substance. The THC in marijuana would be considered an impairing substance. One would be impaired within the meaning of the law if one had taken a sufficient amount of THC to cause him to lose the normal control of his bodily or mental faculties, or both, to such an extent that there is an appreciable impairment of either or both of these faculties.
While we too often encounter wrecks caused by drivers impaired by alcohol, a case involving impairment solely by THC is rare. One reason, of course, is that there is no roadside or magistrate’s office testing apparatus that can easily measure the amount of THC in a driver’s blood. There is no breathalyzer test to detect THC. A blood draw and testing of that blood is necessary.
When investigating a case where impairment is suspected and the at-fault driver was taken for medical treatment as a result of the wreck, we always attempt to get the medical records, including the lab reports, from that treatment. The blood test will usually include testing for TCH and other drugs. If drugs are present we can and will use that information in our client’s favor as we prosecute our client’s case.
Causing injury and damage while driving while impaired will subject the impaired driver to punitive damages and we will often include such a claim in the overall damages claim.
Guy W. Crabtree is a partner with Crabtree, Carpenter & Connolly, PLLC, in Durham, NC. The firm helps injured parties from all over the nation recover from injuries caused by the negligence of others.