Marijuana DUI vs. Alcohol DUI: Is there a Difference?

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Defense Attorney Fighting on Behalf of Those Charged with Any DUI in Colorado Springs

In Colorado, you are guilty of a DUI if you operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you are a habitual user of a controlled substance, you can also be found guilty of a DUI.

Marijuana is allowed for personal use in the state, but like alcohol, you cannot operate a motor vehicle while using marijuana. In Colorado, a DUI applies to both alcohol and the use of illegal and prescription substances.

Therefore, your first-time DUI offense carries equally harsh penalties regardless of the substance impairing you.

Two Impaired Offenses in Colorado

When you are arrested for driving under the influence, you can be charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs) or a DWAI (Driving While Ability is Impaired).

Your blood alcohol concentration amount determines if you face a DUI or DWAI. For marijuana use, your THC level cannot be more than five nanograms of active THC per milliliter of whole blood.

With alcohol, you can be charged with a DWAI also if your BAC limit is 0.05 percent to 0.08 percent. The legal BAC limit in Colorado for a DUI is currently 0.08 percent. Therefore, even if your BAC is below the legal limit, you could technically be arrested and charged with a DWAI.

Administrative Penalties for a DUI

A first-time DUI or DWAI carries administrative penalties as well as criminal penalties. Administrative penalties affect your ability to drive your vehicle whether you are convicted or not. In Colorado, you could face administrative penalties as quickly as seven days after your arrest.

For a first time DWAI (alcohol or marijuana-related), you will have eight points added towards your license suspension. Also, you must pay a $200 to $500 fine. A first-time DUI results in a temporary license suspension of up to nine months, and a fine of up to $1,000.

Criminal Penalties for a DUI

The criminal penalties for your marijuana or alcohol-related DUI are the same. For a first time DWAI, you could spend up to 180 days in jail, have to complete 48 hours of community service.

A first-time DUI carries up to one year in jail and a requirement of up to 96 hours of community service.

You Need an Attorney Regardless

Whether you were arrested on a DUI for marijuana or a DUI for alcohol, you will need an attorney to defend you in court. DUI cases are highly complex, and often it comes down to the criminal representation you’ve secured.

If you have been arrested for a DUI or DWAI, speak with a criminal defense attorney that understands the complexities of the legal system. Christian A. Schwaner, P.C. can assist you with your DUI defense. As a former prosecutor, he understands what prosecutors use in these types of DUI cases, and he can help protect your rights.

Schedule a consultation today to explore your options at 719-577-9700 or request your consultation appointment online.

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