With the legalization of small amounts of marijuana in Colorado, it will still likely be some time before determinations as to how much THC can be in the blood system while at the same time legally operating a motor vehicle. Yet with all the haggling that is likely to go on concerning acceptable THC limits, arrests for driving while under the influence of marijuana will continue.
One Colorado district attorney feels that the legislature should just “pick a number and let’s go with it.” He feels that the threshold amount can be adjusted at a later date if necessary. Yet it appears to be the consensus of many authorities that the THC level in one’s blood system is often a poor indicator of impairment.
Unlike alcohol, THC can remain in the blood system long after actual impairment has ended. The National Highway Traffic System Administration has even suggested that impairment cannot be accurately judged by THC levels.
What this suggests is that criteria for arresting individuals for DUI after using marijuana may turn out to be highly subjective. Setting an arbitrary threshold for what individuals can be arrested for means many individuals could be convicted based upon THC levels while not being impaired. And if officers cannot rely upon THC levels, they may attempt to base arrests upon field sobriety tests – the results often being based upon the subjective observations of the arresting officers.
For individuals that feel an arrest for DUI while under the influence of marijuana was conducted improperly, they could greatly benefit by speaking to a criminal defense attorney in the Colorado area. These attorneys can challenge the findings of prosecutors and arresting officers, and make certain that a conviction can only be based upon a properly conducted arrest.
Source: The Daily Caller, “Thresholds for stoned-driving charges remain hazy,” by Greg Campbell, Jan. 17, 2013
- There is a great deal more information regarding DUI defense on our Denver law firm’s webpage.