Back in late January, the Colorado State Patrol released statewide new data on driving while intoxicated and driving under the influence from 2014. Among the interesting statistics were that, out of a total of 5,500 tickets related to drugs and alcohol—354 of them were issued solely for marijuana use. Around 18.5 percent of all DUI or DUID citations included some sort of marijuana offense.
One unfortunately reality in Colorado is that too many residents are not aware that they can be charged with driving under the influence of the marijuana, even if they take the drug for medical reasons. One recent study showed that over half of marijuana users in Colorado drive within two hours of taking the drug. Marijuana impairment, readers may know, can be somewhat tricky to determine for users and it is not possible to provide universal rules in terms of how long it takes for the drug’s influence to wear off.
Determining impairment is important for police officers and prosecutors seeking criminal charges against drugged motorists. State law has defined the legal limit as 5 nanograms of THC, which is enough to support prosecution. Still, officers will arrest any driver who appears to be under the influence of drugs. State law requires all motorists to submit to testing during DUI investigations, and those who refuse to submit face license suspension and other consequences.
Those who face drugged driving charges should always explore with an experienced attorney to scrutinize the police investigation and any license revocation, and to ensure their rights are protected throughout the criminal process.
Colorado Springs Gazette, “Colorado State Patrol: Legal marijuana brought ‘new era’,” Kassondra Cloos, Jan. 30, 2015.
Colorado Department of Transportation, “Marijuana and Driving,” Accessed March 13, 2015.