In Colorado, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs – plain and simple. While the laws have not changed, even after recreational marijuana was legalized in January of 2014, law enforcement agencies throughout the state are starting to crack down on drugged drivers. Just last year, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) unveiled their new "Drive High, Get a DUI" campaign.
Through this campaign, CDOT is hoping to educate drivers on the consequences of drugged driving—especially now that it is legal to consume marijuana. They even rolled out three television ads as a part of this campaign. One ad depicts a man installing a new TV. Moments later, the TV set comes crashing down. The text reads, "Installing your TV while high is now legal. Driving to get a new one isn't."
Understanding the Consequences of Drugged Driving
Although CDOT has taken a humorous approach to this issue, the consequences are still very serious. Currently, there are more than 200 trained drug recognition experts (DRE) in Colorado. These law enforcement officers have been specially trained to detect physical signs of drug impairment and may be called to the scene of an investigation if the police suspect that a driver is impaired by drugs.
Under Colorado's express consent law, you would be required to consent to chemical testing if an officer suspects that you have been driving under the influence. The established impairment level for marijuana is five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of blood. Although this "legal limit" is highly debated, it is the current standard for making marijuana-related DUI arrests.
The penalties for a first "drugged driving" conviction may include:
- Between 5 days and 1 year in county jail
- Between $600 and $1,000 in fines
- License suspension for up to 9 months
- Between 48 and 96 hours of public service
- Period of probation for up to 2 years
Refusing to Take a Blood Test to Determine THC Levels
As previously mentioned, the express consent law requires all drivers who are suspected of drunk driving or drugged driving to submit to chemical testing. Depending on the case, this could include either a breath, blood or urine test. Since the state has now established a legal limit for marijuana impairment, you may be required to take a blood test if you are suspected of driving while high.
If you refuse to take this test, you will face administrative penalties—which are applied regardless of a criminal conviction. Not only will your license be suspended for 12 months for a first-time refusal, but you may even be required to participate in level two drugs and alcohol education classes. For a second or third refusal, your driver's license would be suspended for 24 to 36 months, respectively.
What to Do After a Marijuana-Related DUI Arrest
If you were arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana, the first thing you should do is contact the Colorado Springs DUI lawyer at Geoff Heim, Attorney, LLC. With more than 15 years of experience, I have successfully represented hundreds of individuals in complex criminal cases—including those pertaining to drugged driving. I also have experience as a former Deputy District Attorney.
Arrested for drugged driving? Schedule your free consultation today.