Passed by the House in April and the Senate in May, Governor John Hickenlooper signed HB 17-1288 into law on Tuesday -- making Colorado's already strict felony DUI laws even tougher.
If police stop you on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), you might think that you are safe from charges if a breathalyzer test indicates your blood alcohol content (BAC) is less than .08 percent. Well, in Colorado you can still face a DUI charge even if you blow less than .08 -- in addition to other possible charges.
Two months ago, Utah became the first state in the nation to lower the legal blood-alcohol-content (BAC) level for driving from .08 percent to .05 percent -- a controversial move to many.
Even though the recreational use of marijuana is legal in Colorado, that doesn't mean the state's driving while under the influence of drugs (DUID) laws are any more lenient. In fact, these laws continue to be very strict when it comes to marijuana use, despite it now being legal.
Let's face it, Colorado's drunk driving laws can be extremely confusing, especially when you consider all of the possible offenses, including driving while ability impaired (DWAI), driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and driving under the influence of drugs (DUID), just to name a few. And, now that the recreational use of marijuana is no longer against the law, it is even more complicated.
Like many other states, Colorado has an expressed consent law that states that drivers are “deemed to have expressed [their] consent” to chemical testing simply by driving anywhere within Colorado.
While the campaign to help stop teenage drug use is still in full swing and is leading to a reduction in adolescent alcohol and drug use, there is a new age group that is becoming a high-risk population. The baby boomer generation is showing an increase in both alcohol and marijuana consumption over recent years.
The first quarter statistics of 2017 has shown a drop of 33 percent in marijuana-related DUI traffic stops, which has been steadily declining each year. Even with the decline, officials are still skeptical about whether this decrease can be attributed to fewer drivers being under the influence or is simply linked to fewer drivers being stopped. While troopers have been arresting for marijuana DUIs for a long time, the testing relies on trooper assessment during the actual stop. Unless drivers are violating traffic laws or showing signs of impaired driving, they are not likely to be pulled over and assessed.
For decades, auto manufacturers have been under federal mandate to equip all cars made for American roads with seat restraints and, more recently, with front passenger airbags. The research regarding seat belts saving lives is irrefutable and most people today buckle up.
A police officer stopped you. After talking to you, the officer suspects you of impairment. The officer requests a breath test, and you comply. The machine determines that your blood alcohol concentration level equals or exceeds .08 percent (Colorado's legal limit), and the officer places you under arrest for drunk driving. That's the end of it. Right?