Colorado Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorneys
Can I be charged with a DUI simply because I regularly smoke Weed?
Marijuana is legal in Colorado if you are over 21 or have a prescription and are over 18. This raises the question: “can I be charged for driving under the influence of marijuana when it is legal to use in Colorado?” The answer is yes. A police officer who believes your driving was impaired because of your otherwise legal use of marijuana can charge you with Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, or DUID.
In Colorado police test your blood to determine the level of THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, to assess impairment.
If you refuse to take a blood test you can still be prosecuted for a Weed DUI/DUID and absent a chemical test a police officer will look at your driving, your interaction with the officer, your performance on standardized DUI tests, and any admissions you made regarding your recent use of marijuana.
Impairment after consuming marijuana varies greatly among individuals depending on a host of factors including history of marijuana use, tolerance, dose, strength of the marijuana consumed, and mode of use. Edibles, for example, are associated with a slower onset of intoxication and performance deficits.
Having an experienced Marijuana DUI/DUID lawyer on your side will make a difference and help you challenge the State’s case.
Testing for THC
In a Weed DUI/DUID case you should not discuss the details of your consumption of marijuana with police officers who are trained to try and narrow down the window of your marijuana use. Police officers make this inquiry because there is a crucial difference between the mere presence of THC in your blood and whether any THC present can be shown to have impaired your mind. Time is a factor.
The by-products of THC are called “THC metabolites” and testing used by police often just looks for these byproducts. Since THC can remain inertly in your body for a long time, particularly if you regularly use marijuana, testing that does not look for the neuro-active components in THC that get you high is a problem.
Mertes Law DUI/DUID lawyers employ experts to explain to judges and juries how impairment from marijuana typically occurs within four hours following use, how long-term marijuana use confounds current testing protocols, how testing procedures fail to provide answers to the question of impairment, and other factors that weigh upon whether you can be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for a Marijuana DUI/DUID charge.
Do police use roadside tests to investigate a Weed DUI/DUID?
Any police officer trained as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) will ask you to submit to expanded roadside sobriety testing known as Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE).
An Advance Roadside examination focused on marijuana impairment looks to see if you have reddened eyes, dilated pupils, a lack of visual convergence (e.g. evidence your eyes are not working together when looking at nearby objects causing impaired or blurred vision), an elevated pulse rate, and elevated blood pressure. Conveniently, most DRE examinations ignore the fact that these symptoms could be related to on-going medical or environmental issues.
You are entitled to refuse to undergo any roadside testing, and, unlike refusing a chemical test, your driving privilege will not be impacted by a refusal to perform roadside tests, including Advance Roadside testing. Any roadside testing which is not voluntary can be suppressed by a Court.
What is the 5 NG standard for a DUI blood test in Colorado?
In Colorado, if your blood test results show five (5) NG of THC per millilitre in whole blood there is a “permissible inference” that you were impaired. Thankfully, the ultimate decision on whether a person’s driving was impaired by marijuana remains with a judge or jury.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is one of many critics of the 5 NG THC level who collectively point out that this limit is artificial, not science-based, and does not address the issue of active THC metabolites.
Former Boulder County prosecutors working for you.
The attorneys at Mertes Law are former DUI prosecutors who have successfully defended clients charged with Weed DUI/DUID offenses throughout Boulder County, Colorado, including the cities of Boulder, Longmont, Erie, Louisville, Lafayette, and Superior in addition to the Front Range of Colorado.
If you are arrested for driving while high and charged with a Marijuana DUI/DUID, you need an attorney who is conversant about marijuana and capable of understanding how to defend you against a criminal charge that is often raised when your only “crime” is the legal use of marijuana. Your Mertes Law Boulder criminal defense lawyer will building a solid defense against this serious charge using experts to help a judge or jury understand the critical issues surrounding marijuana impairment.
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