A man in Colorado recently overcame a charge of driving under the influence of drugs. The man had insisted that he was not impaired by marijuana when he was driving. The jury that heard his case took under one hour to acquit the man of the DUID charge.
The crux of the case was whether the man was truly under the influence of drugs at the time he was pulled over. With alcohol, a blood alcohol content of .08 constitutes impairment, according to state law (in some circumstances, a lower reading may also be applicable). However, levels of impairment by marijuana are not as clear.
When voters in Colorado legalized marijuana, lawmakers established that having 5 nanograms in one’s bloodstream means that one is legally impaired. However, defendants in the state are challenging this level. After all, people who use marijuana regularly build immunity, so they are not as impacted by 5 nanograms of the drug in the bloodstream as a new user might be. Researchers are still studying how to determine if somebody is too high to navigate a vehicle after consuming marijuana.
Because a Colorado DUID case involving marijuana is considered highly defensible today considering the current state of marijuana science, a person who has been charged with driving under the influence may want to think twice about striking a plea deal with the prosecution. It is also possible to proceed to fight the charge at trial. Prosecutors must prove the criminal charge in court and beyond a reasonable doubt before any conviction can be secured. A close examination of the evidence that prosecutors plan to present in court is typically a chief area of focus for the criminal defense team.
Source: summitdaily.com, “Eagle County man becomes the second to beat DUI marijuana charge“, Randy Wyrick, Jan. 1, 2017