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Does driving high on marijuana carry a harsher penalty than DUI?

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2018 | Firm News |

Colorado may have legalized the recreational use of marijuana for those over the age of 21, but that doesn’t mean people can get behind the wheel after smoking weed. In fact, the penalties are driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) can be quite severe — just like the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).

But, are the penalties for one harsher than the other? The answer: No, DUIDs and DUIs generally carry the same punishment, regardless of the substance, or combination of substances, involved.

What are the penalties in Colorado for DUID and DUI?

Whether you are charged with DUID or DUI, you may face several penalties as a first-time offender in Colorado, including:

  • Jail time of five days to one year, although the court can suspend the sentence if the individual submits to an alcohol evaluation and satisfactorily completes an alcohol education program
  • License revocation
  • Fine ranging from $600 to $1,000, although the court does have discretion to suspend the fine
  • Community service of 48 to 96 hours, and the court does NOT have discretion to suspend the minimum period
  • Probation of up to two years

However, while the possible penalties for driving while high on marijuana and driving drunk are generally the same if convicted, it is crucial to point out that the penalties may vary depending on the circumstances.

For example, those who combine substances — alcohol and marijuana — may suffer a greater degree of impairment, meaning it may also increase the likelihood of a conviction. Also, those with higher BAC levels, those who refuse testing and those with convictions may face different — and often more severe — penalties.