The state of Colorado voted to make the use of recreational marijuana legal three years ago. However, not much is known regarding whether the roads in the state are actually less safe because of this move. Police efforts have largely remained focused on driving under the influence of alcohol rather than driving under the influence of drugs, or DUID.
Still, in Colorado, DUI laws do not distinguish between motorists who are inebriated due to using booze, high on marijuana or reeling from the drug oxycodone. Since Colorado was the nation’s first state to make recreational marijuana legal, it was anticipated that the state would be a leader when it came to highway enforcement. However, impaired driving experts have said more work has to be done in this area both in Colorado and across the country.
People in Colorado who plead guilty to driving while under marijuana’s influence currently have to install devices on their cars’ ignitions that measure the alcohol in their breath. There have been disagreements about the proper way to measure whether or not an individual is stoned. As more information and statistics are gathered with regard to pot use and driving, current DUI laws may be updated to reflect them.
When people in Colorado are accused of DUID, they have the right to go straight to trial to contest the charges. Prosecutors have to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt before a conviction is possible. A look at the validity of the evidence that prosecutors plan to furnish in an effort to support their accusations may very well be a core area of focus for the criminal defense in a DUID case.
Source: cortezjournal.com, “Colorado still not sure whether legal marijuana made roads less safe“, Noelle Phillips, Dec. 31, 2015