Over the last few years, new laws regarding the legalization of marijuana in Colorado have brought many new factors into question. One of these issues regards the combination of marijuana use and driving, which, like alcohol use and driving is still illegal, despite Colorado's new marijuana laws.
Regardless of the legality of the recreational use of marijuana in the state, impaired driving is dangerous and completely avoidable. It can be useful to understand how this type of drug can affect your ability to drive safely and what you should do if you face arrest for a drug-related DUI or DWAI.
What you need to know about marijuana and driving
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, a driver cannot accurately judge his or her ability to safely drive while under the influence of marijuana. The consumption of any amount of marijuana can put you at risk. If you consume marijuana recreationally or medicinally for any reason, you should know the following:
- Drivers caught with five or more nanograms of active TCH in their system can face prosecution for driving under the influence.
- No matter the level of TCH in the system, law enforcement has the right to make an arrest based on the level of observed impairment.
- Even if you use marijuana for medicinal purposes, you can still face a drug-related DUI if caught driving while impaired.
- If there are children in the car at the time of a suspected impaired driving traffic stop, you could face additional charges and penalties.
- Failure to cooperate with the chemical test after a suspected impaired driving traffic stop can result in serious penalties.
The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or driving under the influence of alcohol are the same, yet combining these substances can lead to a serious degree of impairment and higher penalties if convicted.
Protecting your rights after a drug-related DUI or DWAI
A DUI or DWAI is a serious criminal charge, regardless of whether it involves marijuana, alcohol or a combination of the two. As the penalties for even a first-time offense can be serious, you will find it beneficial to confront these charges with the help of an experienced defense attorney. With guidance and support, you may be able to mitigate the penalties associated with a DUI.
No matter the circumstances of your case, it is always worthwhile to seek a complete understanding of the defense options that may be available to you. A proper protection of your rights and long-term interests begins by securing legal assistance as soon as possible after an arrest.