In a recent post, we wrote about the importance of working with an experienced attorney in cases involving DUI charges based on marijuana impairment. The issue is an important one with more Coloradans legally making use of the drug, whether for medical or recreational purposes. This is all the more true given that the law regarding marijuana DUI is not well-established.

At this point, prosecutors must be able to show that the driver registered at least five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood to prove impairment. Because of the unsettled nature of the science of measuring marijuana influence, though, marijuana DUI charges are easier to challenge alcohol DUI charges. In cases where both drugs and alcohol are involved, officers will often only cite for alcohol, knowing that it is much easier to obtain a conviction on that basis.

The current five nanogram limit in itself is weaker than the 0.08 standard in that juries are merely permitted to infer that a five nanogram outcome is a sign of marijuana impairment. By contrast, the legal limit for alcohol involves a presumption of impairment, which is harder for a defendant to overcome.

Because of the uncertainty surrounding the marijuana DUI standard, it is important for those facing the charge to work with an experienced attorney to build a strong defense and to ensure their rights are protected. An experienced criminal defense attorney cannot guarantee a favorable outcome in any case, but can certainly ensure the best possible advocacy of a defendant’s rights throughout the criminal process.

Source: The Durango Herald, “Marijuana DUIs: Hard to identify, prosecute,” Chuck Slothower, Mar. 21, 2015.

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