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Many Colorado drivers mistakenly believe that driving while under the influence of marijuana is less risky than driving under the influence of alcohol. However, marijuana use can cause impaired reaction times, judgement, and perception of time and distance. These impairments and others can cause drivers under the influence of marijuana to behave dangerously on roadways, and can cause drivers to receive driving under the influence (DUI) charges.

How is marijuana impairment detected?

The main psychoactive compound in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and drivers with five nanograms of active THC in their blood can be charged with a DUI. However, there is no roadside device that can detect THC, so law enforcement officers typically base arrests on observed impairment. A blood test to detect THC may also be administered after an arrest.

What are the criminal penalties for drugged driving?

The criminal penalties for a drug related DUI conviction are the same as the criminal penalties for an alcohol related DUI conviction. A first DUI offense can result in five days to a year in jail, between 48 and 96 hours of public service and between $600 and $1,000 in fines, in addition to various surcharges to benefit crime victims.

If you have previous drugged or drunk driving offenses, the penalties will be more severe. For example, one previous offense can increase your penalty to a minimum of 10 days in jail, between 48 and 120 hours of public service and between $600 and $1500 in fines.

Drug related DUI convictions can have life-altering consequences, just like alcohol related DUI convictions can. If you have been arrested for drugged driving, an appropriate defense may be necessary for you to receive the best possible outcome in court.