Yannetti | Criminal Defense Law Firm | Boston, Salem & Dedham Massachusetts
Call For A Free Phone Consultation
Photo of the legal professionals at The Yannetti Criminal Defense Law Firm

Former Prosecutors, Aggressively Fighting For You

Photo of the legal professionals at The Yannetti Criminal Defense Law Firm

Development of marijuana “Breathalyzer” problematic

For many years, law enforcement agencies across the country have relied on Breathalyzers to measure the blood alcohol content of those suspected of driving under the influence. With some states legalizing or decriminalizing the recreational use of marijuana and more states likely to adopt similar laws in the future, police departments have begun the call for similar breath test technology to determine whether drivers have been using marijuana. Though the development of this sort of technology has presented difficulties in the past, recent studies indicate that it may be possible to create a marijuana “Breathalyzer.”

Researchers at the Baltimore based National Institutes on Drug Abuse, in collaboration with a team in Stockholm, Sweden, recently conducted a study involving 24 people who regularly smoke marijuana. The study subjects each smoked a marijuana cigarette that contained 6.8 percent THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and then provided breath samples at set times throughout the day. The purpose of the study was to determine whether a breath test could accurately and reliably measure the presence of a THC metabolite in a person’s breath.

The development of a breath test to measure impairment by marijuana is problematic for several reasons. First, unlike alcohol, a given percentage of THC in a person’s bloodstream does not necessarily indicate impairment in every individual. Second, many states have not established a baseline THC percentage by which a person can be considered legally over the limit. Finally, for some individuals, THC does not dissipate in the blood for all users predictably. Indeed, some users, particularly those who smoke marijuana regularly, have measurable THC in their systems days after they last used marijuana.

Given these challenges, the key to developing an effective, fair breath test for marijuana use is finding a way to determine whether someone has used the drug in the time immediately before getting behind the wheel. The NIDA study shows that it is, in fact, possible to measure the presence of THC metabolites in a person’s breath predictably in the hours after a person has smoked marijuana. The significant remaining problem, of course, is establishing a point at which THC levels in a person’s body indicate impairment.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney can explain your legal options and help you to defend your rights. For more information, contact a criminal defense attorney today.


Client Testimonials

5 Star

In the most painful times in our lives–David, Greg and Lisa showed us their professional best–dignified, warm, gracious. David and his team will not let you down, you will be taken well care of and most importantly superbly and justly represented…
Barbara Lynch

Oh my goodness David is a miracle worker! Unbelievable results! David is so highly respected by attorneys and judges and prosecutors that he really makes an impact in court and presented our friend in the best possible light…

Jude Dasilva

Greg Johnson and David Yannetti are simply the best. After having two other attorneys on a case, I hired them and got results where others failed. They work hard for you and I highly recommend them!…

Vivian Trinh

If it was not for Mr. Yannetti I could have lost my career and opportunity to come back to USA again given that I am not a US citizen. Thank you Mr. Yannetti for all you did for me and my family. You and your office were truly there for me in my darkest hour…

Ajit Gupta

Greg Johnson is a charming attorney and seems to truly care about his client’s and the outcome of their case. If you ever need an experienced criminal defense Lawyer, Yannetti Criminal Defense Law Firm is the one to call!…


“I’ve got your back,” he told me early on. David did not disappoint. By showing up with David in the courtroom, I felt I’d made a clear statement of intent. The case was duly dropped…

James Brooks

Martindale-Hubbell | AV | Preeminent | Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence | 2020
Best Lawyers | Best Law Firms | U.S. News | 2022
Avvo | 10.0 | Superb | Top Attorney Criminal Defense
Super Lawyers
Fox News | Criminal Defense Analyst
CNN | Criminal Defense Analyst
ID | Investigation Discovery | Consultant
Massachusetts | Lawyers Weekly | Criminal Defense Expert