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HOW ARE DUI’s INVOLVING MARIJUANA HANDLED IN COLORADO?

By Lain A Lawrence DUI Defense Attorney Dec. 14, 2022

Driving under the influence is the operation of a motor vehicle while a defendant’s ability to drive is substantial impaired. Impairment can be from drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both. In cases involving marijuana, the applicable definition would be drugs.

Unlike other drugs, the Colorado legislature has established a limit. A defendant is not permitted to operate a motor vehicle with a THC of 5 nanograms or more. This is nanogram per milliliter. Anything over this limit would constitute a THC DUI. There is no limit set for DWAI.

Colorado has legalized marijuana for both recreational and medical use. However, it is still illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana. While an alcohol DUI and marijuana DUI share many similarities, DUID have several differences.

HOW ARE DUID MARIJUANA STOPS CONDUCTED IN COLORADO?

A DUID stop will be started by law enforcement. Cops will need a basis to conduct a traffic stop. This can be a result of weaving, speeding, or any traffic infractions.

General police procedure will be to investigate THC consumption. Law enforcement will ask when the driver smoked and how much.

Law enforcement will also typically conduct a standard field sobriety test (“SFST”). Police are not trained to conduct specific tests. They will do the same SFST for alcohol that they do for marijuana.

SFST were established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The tests are broken down into three parts. One of them is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This test will look for involuntary jerking of the eyes.

Based on the NHTSA’s training manuals, THC does not cause nystagmus. This means that if police see nystagmus in THC only cases, there are problems with the police officer’s observations. It also means the police will only be able to rely on two tests.

Colorado Express Consent permits the police to request chemical testing. In cases involving drugs, the police are permitted to only request a blood test. The blood test will first determine if there are cannabinoids in a defendant’s blood. 

A second test will be conducted to determine the level of active THC in a defendant’s blood. This is the active metabolite that causes a defendant to feel high. It may make sense to hire a toxicologist to analyze the blood. 

It is always important to speak with a Marijuana DUI Defense Attorney to determine how best to proceed with your case.

HOW DOES A DUID MARIJUAN AFFECT YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE IN COLORADO?

Colorado Express consent requires a defendant to do a blood or breath test if requested by police. This statute will require a defendant to lose their license if a defendant’s BAC is above .08 within two hours of driving. 

The statute does not mention or discuss THC. A defendant’s THC level will not result in a revocation of their driving privilege. However, a defendant can always refuse to submit to a blood test. If a defendant refuses, their license will be revoked as a refusal. 

A defendant will be permitted to apply for early reinstatement of their driving privileges after 60 days. While alcohol was not involving, the statute will require a defendant to obtain an interlock machine. This machine will test a defendant’s breath for alcohol.

A refusal will also designate a defendant as a persistent drunk driver. This means a defendant will be required to obtain an interlock device. This applies even if they wait the year to apply for reinstatement. Either way, a defendant will have to get an interlock.

The DMV can also revoke a defendant’s license based on a conviction. Colorado law has established certain cases the result in administrative revocation. To get their license back, a defendant could be required to get an interlock device to reinstate their driving privileges.

To fully understand your driving privileges, it is important to speak with a criminal defense and Marijuana DUI Attorney.

HOW ARE DUID INVOLING MARIJUANA PUNISHED?

The DUI sentencing standard applies to DUID cases. This standard will apply progressively punitive sanctions for multiple DUI convictions.   A DUI carries a maximum possible jail sentence of one year. A first offense does not have any mandatory jail. 

A second has a mandatory minimum of 10 days, and a third has a mandatory minimum of 60 days.   It is important to remember that mandatory minimum jail sentences are just that, the minimum.

A DUI conviction will also come with a probationary sentence. Probation will include monitored sobriety, community service, and level 2 classes. Level 2 classes are substance abuse education and therapy. It may be advisable to start these classes prior to resolution of your case.

The Colorado DMV has information concerning Level 2 and information on the classes.

A defendant could be permitted to smoke marijuana while on probation if they have a medical marijuana card. It is always advisable to speak with a DUI Law Firm. They will help a defendant to determine if it is possible and how to procced.

SPEAK WITH A DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEY TODAY

A marijuana DUI can seriously impact a defendant’s life. It may seem simple and straight forward, but this kind of case can be complicated. It is important to speak with a DUI Defense Attorney that understands the complexities of a DUI case.  

Our firm routinely handles DUI Cases and continues to study toxicology and the law surrounding DUI. We are ready, willing, and able to provide you the representation you deserve. We offer free consultations and flexible payment plans. Our goal is to provide aggressive representation to anyone who needs it, while no sacrificing any defendants because of budget.

Our defense lawyer routinely represent clients in Arapahoe, Denver, Adams, Jefferson, and any metro case. If you need an appointment afterhours or on the weekends, please let us know. 

Request a consultation today.