Because charges of driving under the influence are a leading money maker for municipal court systems, the state has devised many ways to entrap motorists, including DWAI charges for those who test below the legal limit of .08 (but above .05) and “baby DUIs” for underage motorists who test as low as .02.
But the advent of marijuana DUI in Colorado has taken these schemes to a new level. Because Colorado was among the first states to pass a medical marijuana law, and the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, there has been much hysteria surrounding the issue of driving under the influence of cannabis.
A person can be convicted of DUI marijuana if a person's blood contains five nanograms or more of delta-9 THC (the active substance in marijuana). However, like alcohol, Colorado law allows for a conviction for drivers under that threshold if unsafe operation of a motor vehicle can be shown.
One (of many) problems with the law is that, unlike alcohol, marijuana can remain in a user’s system for up to 30 days. The level of THC in blood will depend on many factors, including frequency of use, potency of product, a user’s metabolism, and other genetic and environmental factors. However, the law makes no distinction. If you test at 5 nanograms of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of whole blood, you will be presumed guilty even if you were not high, not impaired, and were driving safely at the time of stop and arrest.
If you test below that threshold and the court believes there is sufficient evidence of unsafe driving, you can still be convicted of DUI. Otherwise, you may be convicted of driving while ability impaired (DWAI) by marijuana if it can be shown marijuana affected you to the slightest degree.
In many cases, officers will attempt to use as evidence:
As you can see, marijuana DUI charges are often much more subjective. There are legitimate defenses to most of these allegations. Marijuana DUI defense may include:
The reality is that convicted a driver of DUI marijuana is more difficult than for those cases involving alcohol. But the consequences are the same when a driver does not contest the charges. Those facing charges should consult with a drunk driving defense lawyer in Denver or the surrounding areas, including Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Ken Caryl, Columbine, Golden, Lakewood, Broomfield, and Arvada.
Call drunk driving defense lawyer James Colgan for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 720-909-6425 today.