Drug-related DUIs are a growing concern in the United States, but in a state where marijuana can be legally purchased, marijuana DUIs are equally growing. To stop this, Colorado State Patrol will be unveiling a new testing program specifically designed to catch those driving while under the influence of marijuana. This testing program is designed specifically to identify those who are using marijuana and operating a motor vehicle. There will be five devices in possession of the Colorado State Patrol that can detect the substance in someone’s system.
What are the Devices?
One of the five devices specifically tests saliva and looks for identifying markers for marijuana, as well as other substances. The CSP has already trained over 125 state troopers on how to properly use the technology. The state has set a legal limit of five nanograms of THC in the blood; therefore, anyone with a higher level than five nanograms will be taken into custody and possibly charged with a DUI.
Understanding the Law
Drugged driving, such as driving while under the influence of marijuana, is dangerous and against the law. While marijuana has been legalized in the state, it is similar to alcohol in the sense that it must be used responsibly. A driver who is substantially incapable of exercising the mental or physical control required to safely operate a vehicle is in violation of Colorado Rev. Statute 42-4-1301. Colorado has created strict rules regarding drugged driving and imposes harsh penalties for those convicted of a DUI. Also, it is important to note that possession and other laws could be applied in such cases to the driver, as well as their passengers.
Penalties for Drugged Driving
A violation of the law is considered a misdemeanor. If you are a habitual drug user, you are prohibited from driving in Colorado – it is not a defense to be a registered medical marijuana user. A judge can suspend your license and impose penalties that include:
- First Offense – You can face up to nine months of license suspension and between five days and one year in jail. You can also face fines of up to $1,000 and up to 96 hours of public service.
- Second Offense – You can face up to a one-year license suspension, 10 days to one year in jail, fines of up to $1,500 and up to 120 hours of public service.
- Third or Subsequent Offenses – Violators who have two or more prior offenses can face up to two years license suspension, between 60 days and up to one year in jail and fines up to $1,500. They can also face up to 120 hours of public service.
Also, if you have had three or more convictions in a seven-year period, you could face the mandatory five-year license revocation.
In lieu of the above penalties, you may be able to enter a treatment program. However, your license suspension or revocation will still be applied.
The Importance of Legal Representation
If you have been arrested for drugged driving, it is important that you speak with an attorney who specializes in marijuana-related driving offenses. Christian A. Schwaner, P.C. understands the harsh penalties imposed by the state and can help you with your arrest. Contact us now for a consultation at 719-577-9700 or ask a question about drugged driving online.