Driving Under the Influence—Marijuana
Marijuana is now legal both medically and recreationally in Colorado. However, the legal use of marijuana has led to an increased number of people driving with elevated levels of THC in their system. While many people have developed a tolerance to THC and carry an increased base-line of THC without it actually impairing them, the DUI laws in Colorado are not well tailored to protect those individuals from a presumption that they must be impaired. As a result, increasing numbers of people that use marijuana recreationally or medically are being charged with Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID). If you find yourself in this position, you should call DUI Attorney Patterson Weaver immediately for a free consultation. DUI Attorney Patterson Weaver has the experience and dedication to fight for you in what can often be scientifically complicated “Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana” cases.
What are the Laws Related to “Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana” in Colorado?
The DUI statute in Colorado defines reads as follows:
". . . driving a motor vehicle or vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, that affects the person to a degree that the person is substantially incapable, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.” C.R.S. 42-4-1301(1)(f) (2017)."
Additionally, in marijuana DUI cases, the “Driving While Ability Impaired” statute often plays a significant role. While the District Attorney’s Office often has trouble proving a full-blown DUI on a marijuana case to a jury, it is often far easier for them to prove Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) because a DWAI conviction requires only that someone’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is impaired even to the slightest degree. See C.R.S. 42-4-1301(1)(g)(2017). Essentially, this means that if someone usually has the driving ability of 100, but after a drug or medication they are now at a driving level of 99, they are technically guilty of at least DWAI. In marijuana cases, this is often a far easier standard for a Deputy District Attorney (DDA) to prove.
As an additional challenge in Colorado “Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana” cases, Colorado has adopted a presumption of impairment at 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. See C.R.S. 42-4-1301(6)(a)(IV) (2017). While that level may arguably have some impact in first time marijuana users, it should be irrelevant in determining impairment in regular users of pot, many of whom carry a baseline of THC in their blood of 15, 20, or even 30 nanograms per milliliter. This is because people that use marijuana regularly naturally carry high levels of THC, but have also often developed a tolerance to those levels. Unfortunately, the presumption of 5 nanograms per milliliter allows a DDA to argue that the defendant is presumed intoxicated simply because their THC is above that level.
How can an Attorney Help Me with My Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana Case?—Patterson Weaver’s UNIQUE Qualification!
People charged with any type of DUI should hire an experienced and capable DUI Lawyer like Patterson Weaver to fight for them. However, Driving Under the Influence of Drugs cases, especially those involving pot, demand a specialized level of experience and knowledge that most attorneys simply do not possess. While still a prosecutor, Criminal Attorney Patterson Weaver tried and won a complicated hearing on the admissibility of Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) testimony in Driving Under the Influence of Drugs cases generally, and in marijuana cases in particular. He won an award from the Pikes Peak Regional DUI Task Force for the effort, and the research, examination scripts, and arguments he used to win that hearing are, to his knowledge, still distributed to young DDAs all over the state as an example of how to prosecute that type of case with Drug Recognition Expert evidence. Now a DUI Defense Attorney, Patterson Weaver uses the experience he obtained at the DA’s office in Colorado Springs to defend his clients charged with Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana and other drugs.
Experienced DUI Lawyer Patterson Weaver represents clients in Driving Under the Influence Cases in El Paso County (Colorado Springs), Pueblo County (Pueblo), Teller County (Cripple Creek), Fremont County (Canon City), and in other areas on a case-by-case basis. Call DUI Attorney Patterson Weaver today for a free consultation to learn how he can help you fight for your rights and your liberty.