Have you or a loved one been charged with using marijuana or driving with an open container of marijuana? Under CRS 42-4-1305.5, this is a traffic violation. It is never permitted for a driver to operate their vehicle under the influence of marijuana. These offenses typically result in a criminal charge.
According to CRS 42-4-1305.5, it is illegal to consume marijuana or to have an open container in the passenger portion of the car. The same laws that apply to open alcohol containers in Colorado also apply to marijuana.
Open marijuana containers, accessories, or receptacles are defined as follows:
The containers mentioned here include packaging containers provided by the dispensary or marijuana shop. But are not limited to the packaging that the items came in. They can also be personal containers or canisters such as baggies.
Accessories could be the devices, like pipes or bongs, that are used to smoke marijuana. Having a container may not qualify as a legal infraction. There should also be proof that the marijuana was consumed inside the vehicle.
Sometimes, penalties can be avoided due to exceptions in the marijuana open container laws. Below are some specific circumstances in which you are unlikely to be penalized.
While being in possession of an open container of marijuana is not considered a punishable legal offense under Colorado’s laws. It is regarded as a traffic offense, and the penalty carries a fine. Because of the less serious nature of a traffic infraction, the burden of proof is lower than that if it were a criminal offense. The following must be proved by the prosecutor:
If charged with a CRS 42-4-1305.5 violation, the driver can face a penalty of $50 with an accompanying surcharge of $7.80. It is probably a good idea to avoid this charge. It could trigger law enforcement to consider that the driver was operating the vehicle under the influence.
This could lead to a chemical test to detect the presence of marijuana. If the substance is shown, the driver could potentially face DUI charges.
Even though the fine is relatively small, the potential for other charges to accrue because of the open container is certainly there. If you have been charged with an open container violation, contact the skilled legal team at Flesch and Beck Law. One of our skilled DUI lawyers will review your case and protect your rights and your freedom.