Recently, an appellate court in South Carolina ruled on a criminal appeal brought by a woman who was accused of causing a fatal car accident while intoxicated, based on toxicology reports that showed marijuana in her system, as well as cold and cough medicines.
In the case of Kranchick v. State, defendant was challenging the expertise of the state’s primary witness, who asserted that while the marijuana in her system could have been consumed up to 24 hours previously if she was a regular user, the amounts of cold and cough medicines in her blood indicated she was not using them for therapeutic purposes. Initially, the trial court granted her request for post-conviction relief on this point, but the appellate court reversed and reinstated defendant’s original conviction and sentence – which was for 13 years in prison.
But the case raises the larger question of how much cold medicine is too much? Can driving with a cold really be as dangerous as driving drunk? What does that mean in terms of liability? Continue reading →