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Coloradoans can be accused of driving under the influence of pot

The state of Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use for adults 21 and older in 2012 and legal sales began January 1.

However, Colorado law enforcement officials want Colorado residents to know that it is still against the law to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by marijuana.

It is also important for Colorado residents to know their rights if they are accused of driving under the influence of marijuana.

If an officer suspects that a driver is under the influence of marijuana, the officer will first likely conduct a roadside sobriety test, much like when a driver is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.

If the driver is still believed to be under the influence, the officer will ask the driver to submit to a blood test to determine the amount of marijuana in his or her system.

Under the state's Express Consent Law, all drivers are required to submit to a chemical test so long as the officer has reasonable grounds to order the test. If the driver refuses the test, he or she will face an immediate license suspension and will be classified as a persistent drunk driver. Other penalties can apply as well.

It takes between two and six weeks to receive the results of the chemical test. Currently, there is a limit set at 5 nanograms per milliliter for people driving on marijuana.

However, marijuana affects people differently, and some people might not be impaired at this level. That's why it is possible for the driver to challenge the marijuana DUI charge in court by arguing that he or she was not impaired.

An experienced DUI defense attorney can help a driver accused of driving under the influence of marijuana defend his or herself in court.

Source: Coloradoan, "Don't get stoned and drive, CDOT says," Robert Allen, Jan. 3, 2014

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