The number of DUID marijuana arrests has predictably gone up since recreational use of marijuana is now legal in the State of Colorado, and law enforcement is working hard to keep up.
However, there are several issues that need to be addressed when it comes to driving while high that the law doesn’t take into consideration. Here’s what you need to know.
Driving Under the Influence is Driving Under the Influence
If you are pulled over for DUID, given a blood test and found to have drugs in your system, you will face the same legal consequences regardless of how much or how little you consumed, and regardless of which type of drug you have taken. In other words, DUID doesn’t have the levels like alcohol, .05 to .08 is DWAI and over .08 is DUI.
Contrary to any scientific support, the Legislature has attempted to equate levels of THC with impairment. In other words, the prosecution wants to go to Court and say that the driver had this much THC in his/her system, so he/she must have been impaired. In reality, there are some studies that indicate that driving with rather minimal amounts of THC in your system may result in the person driving more slowly. In fact, this is one of the signs that police officers look for when they’re on duty and cite in their case studies.
Most states, including Colorado, are essentially trying to treat a DUID marijuana the same way they would treat DUI alcohol despite the fact that the scientific studies does not show that type of correlation.
Legal Standards for DUI vs. DUID
When it comes to DUI alcohol in the State of Colorado, if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over .05 but under .08, you’re considered to be “impaired.” When your BAC is over .08, you are considered to be “intoxicated.”
Marijuana also operates differently than alcohol. The State wants to have a way to measure DUID in the same way they measure DUI. It wants to be able to say, “If you’re found to have 5 nanograms of marijuana in your system or more, you are under the influence of marijuana.” In Colorado, 5 nanograms of THC forms a rebuttable presumption that a person is impaired.
If arrested, you may have to demonstrate that there are numerous studies that say that marijuana doesn’t operate the same way alcohol does and these artificial levels are meaningless. A regular user of marijuana would be able to tolerate much higher levels of THC in his or her system without being as affected as a first-time user.
Up until this point, law enforcement has not responded effectively to the legalization of recreational marijuana. If you use it regularly, it is advised that you do not operate a vehicle – no matter how little you’ve taken because your THC levels may be artificially inflated.
If you have been arrested for DUID, don’t go through the process on your own. It is highly recommended that you seek the guidance of experienced counsel. Call us today at 303-449-1873 to set up a free consultation.