A charge of driving under the influence (DUI) can take many forms and have different variations. Due to the wide selection of drug combinations available, one of them is operating a vehicle while huffing.
A DUI for compressed air huffing carries different penalties depending on the state, but it is categorized as impaired driving. Depending on your age, level of intoxication, and if anyone was injured, Colorado Springs has several distinct charges for driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
The success of your case depends heavily on your ability to retain the services of a defense attorney with considerable expertise in handling DUI for canned air cases. We briefly cover some frequently asked questions regarding a huffing DUI to prepare you for your first free session.
Is Air Huffing Illegal in Colorado?
According to Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-18-412, it is against the law to intentionally and willfully:
- Induce pleasure, excitement, exhilaration, stupor, or slowed nervous system senses through the inhalation of toxic fumes or vapors
- Possess, purchase, or utilize any such substance for the aforementioned reasons, or
assist another individual intentionally in using any such substance for such objectives.
In addition, one or more of the following compounds or goods containing such substances are considered “toxic vapors:”
- Alcohols, including methyl, isopropyl, propyl, or butyl
- Aliphatic acetates, including ethyl, methyl, propyl, or methyl cellosolve acetate
- Methyl isobutyl ketone
- Carbon tetrachloride
- Freons, including freon 11 and freon 12
- Methyl ethyl ketone
Examples of dangerous fumes include nail polish remover, nitrous oxide, cooking spray, cleaning sprays, glue, and hair spray. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that these chemicals greatly impact coordination and consciousness. So, it is illegal to be under the influence of these harmful vapors and attempt to drive.
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How does Huffing Compressed Air Impair Driving?
When misused and inhaled, canned air can cause severe neurological abnormalities and lifelong brain damage because it is essentially a poison that was never intended to be ingested. Many of the active ingredients found in huffing products can cause the following debilitating effects:
- Loss of consciousness and even coma
- Injury related to poor decisions, lack of inhibitions, and increased risk-taking
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing
- Loss of motor control and coordination
- Lack of oxygen to the brain
Hospital research shows that the high from huffing can typically last 45 minutes, but the effects can also be paralyzing, cause hallucinations, and affect decision-making. Driving after huffing compressed air is extremely unsafe, as such impairments while operating a vehicle can lead to serious injury or death.
Can You Beat a DUI Charge for Huffing Compressed Air?
Unlike alcohol, detection for huffing compressed air can be tricky. There is no smell, and it leaves the system quickly, so fighting and winning a DUI for compressed air huffing is possible. If this is your first misdemeanor, your probability of avoiding a penalty may increase.
In speaking with a DUI attorney, they will advise you of strong defense points that diminish the evidence that the authorities may have against you. Successful defense arguments include:
- You weren’t intentionally breaking any of the rules of Colorado’s toxic vapors legislation
- You didn’t smell it intentionally to get high
- It may be on your person, but possession is not the same as using it to get high
- The police caught you or discovered the poisonous material during an unauthorized search
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What Is the Penalty for Huffing While Driving in Colorado?
The abuse of toxic fumes is categorized as a level 2 drug misdemeanor. The penalty for a compressed air huffing DUI was updated to go into effect on March 1, 2020, and requires probation of up to one year, potential jail time of 120 days, and a fine of up to $500. Three or more violations will get you up to 180 days in jail.
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How Can a Colorado DUI Lawyer Help My Case?
A Colorado DUI lawyer can use the facts of your case to reach a favorable outcome.
Since inhaling a toxic vapor can slow one’s reaction time and lead to the person passing out, police will focus on the driver’s impairment and potential harm to others without valid proof that you huffed compressed air – since testing is difficult to complete quickly.
Even if you are guilty of driving while impaired after huffing compressed air, speaking with a DUI attorney will help you defend yourself and secure your future.
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