It is illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs in Colorado. To determine whether a driver is too high to drive, law enforcement currently does not use a test similar to the one used to determine if a driver has had too much to drink, but rather uses a “we know it when we see it” approach by looking for indications of impairment.
A new Colorado Senate bill, however, would establish a standard for determining whether people are driving under the influence of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The bill would set impairment at 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. If a driver is at this level or above, he or she could be arrested for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) per se.
For the many Coloradoans who legally use medicinal marijuana, this bill, if passed, could put them at risk of arrest for DUID, even if they are not impaired. The groups that oppose this bill agree that driving while impaired by THC should be illegal. But they argue that setting the impairment level at 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood is not fair.
Marijuana activists point out that THC can remain in a person’s body for up to 30 days. So, if medicinal marijuana is used on a regular basis, the level of THC in a person’s body could remain well above the legal limit for driving, even though the person may not be impaired.
Like being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), being arrested for DUID can lead to serious consequences. Being convicted of driving under the influence may result in penalties such as a suspended driver’s license, fines, community service or jail time.
If you have been arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of marijuana, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.