Even though it is legal to possess marijuana in Colorado under state law for personal use, this doesn’t mean that you are immune from driving under the influence charges if you use marijuana and drive. Marijuana and other drugs, both legal and illegal, can impair a person’s ability to drive. In Colorado, you can be charged with what is informally referred to as a “DUID” for driving under the influence of drugs. One of the most common contributing factors to DUID charges is marijuana use before driving or while driving.
Even if you are legally in possession of marijuana and choose to smoke it, you should avoid driving after doing so. Aside from being dangerous, it can be difficult to judge how impaired you are after drug usage. Better to be safe than sorry. For the same reasons that it is not safe to drink and drive, it is not safe to use drugs and drive.
In Colorado, if a driver has five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their blood he or she can be charged with a DUID (“Driving Under the Influence of Drugs”). Keep in mind, the police don’t have to measure and confirm the level of your blood THC content before arresting you. They can legally pull you over or contact you for an unrelated reason and charge you with DUID based on their observations about your appearance and behavior that cause the officer to reasonably believe that you are operating your vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. Many law enforcement officers have been specially trained to detect impairment by marijuana and other drugs through programs like the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (“ARIDE”).
If you are pulled over for suspicion of a DUID, the officer will likely ask you to take a blood test. If you refuse to take the blood test, then as with a DUI charge you can have your driving privileges supsended and be required to use a mandatory ignition interlock device for a lengthy period time after you license is reinstrated, take alcohol education classes, and face other penalities levied by the Department of Motor Vehicles. These administrative penalties are in addition to any jail sentence and other criminal penalties you end up receiving.
A DUID in Colorado is no joke. If you are charged with DUID, it is critical that you retain experienced criminal defense representation as soon as possible. Contact an experienced DUID attorney like Brian Boal in Colorado Springs right away.