With the passage of Colorado's new
marijuana laws, certain amounts of the drug are now legal under state law. These
new laws have left many law enforcement agencies wondering about how to
keep stoned drivers off of the road. Law enforcement officers throughout
Colorado are known for their rigorous prosecution of drivers who operate
motor vehicles while
under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to AIDF data, there were 127 total alcohol impaired driving
fatalities throughout the state in 2010, and 18 of these fatalities involved
underage drivers who were driving while impaired.
There were also 27,833 total DUI arrests throughout Colorado in 2010, and
383 of these arrests involved drivers under the age of 21. While Colorado's
new law does not make any changes to the state's
driving-under-the-influence laws, it has left many officers wondering about how to handle drivers
who smoke marijuana and then drive. Washington state, which also passed
a similar new measure regarding marijuana, changed its DUI provisions
by setting a new blood-test limit for marijuana. Washington police officers
and law enforcement agents are receiving additional training for this new
blood test, and lawyers in the state are also preparing for the new arrests and cases
that will follow.
Be Cautious of Drugged Driving
Currently in Colorado, drugged driving is illegal. Now that the sale of
pot for recreational use by adults over 21 is legal in Colorado, it is
expected that there will be an increase of marijuana users on the roads as well.
Legalized marijuana is expected to become a big industry in Colorado, and retail stores selling
marijuana may soon open. A fiscal-impact study by the Colorado Center
on Law & Policy estimates that legal marijuana sales in the state
could be as much as $270 million initially. These factors will all contribute
to increased use of marijuana throughout Colorado.
Marijuana has been proven to slow reaction time and cause dizziness, and
drivers are much more likely to swerve and drift into other lanes when
they are high. As of now, many of the convictions for drugged driving
are based off of police observations which result in a following blood
test. There has not been a standardized method for determining marijuana
impairment, and those who are arrested for this type of DUI should strongly
consider fighting their charges.
The different tests that are used to determine marijuana use include a
test for an inactive THC metabolite that can be detected weeks after marijuana
use, and the test to determine current marijuana impairment looks for
active THC in the blood. It is estimated that the peak concentrations
of THC in the blood occur during the act of smoking marijuana, and then
they subside over the course of three hours. The science behind marijuana
impairment is not well established and as a Colorado Springs criminal
lawyer, I know that DUI charges involving marijuana are able to be challenged
successfully in court.
Call my firm today to learn about what can be done for your
DUI charges involving marijuana!