Although the laws regarding marijuana use have been significantly relaxed in Colorado, it is still illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The state has been stepping up its enforcement efforts to contend with drivers who get behind the wheel after lighting up. If you’ve been charged with a drug DUI near Denver, you can enlist the help of an experienced DUI attorney. Your DUI lawyer can protect your rights and help you explore your options.
Public Awareness Campaigns
One way that Colorado is working to reduce drug offenses is by launching public awareness campaigns. You may have already seen TV ads reminding individuals of the dangers of driving after using marijuana. These ads are part of the “Drive High, Get a DUI” public awareness campaign. During the marijuana-friendly 4/20 weekend, the Colorado Department of Transportation (DOT) increased its efforts considerably with public awareness gimmicks such as the “smoking car” and educational games such as the Cannabis Quiz Cab.
Police Officer Training
As the Colorado DOT attempts to make its public awareness efforts capture the attention of potential marijuana users, law enforcement officials around the state have been dealing with drugged drivers in another way. If you’ve been charged with a marijuana DUI, you may have been arrested by one of the police officers who have undergone the Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) Program. More than 500 law enforcement officials throughout the state have undergone this special training, which helps them readily identify drivers who may be under the influence of marijuana. Officers look for problems such as atypical driving habits, abnormal pupil sizes, bloodshot eyes, poor coordination, impaired memory, and unusual facial color.
If a police officer pulls over a driver and observes potential signs of marijuana impairment, he or she can ask the driver to take a blood test at the local hospital or fire station. As with an alcohol DUI, drivers who refuse to take the test automatically lose their license for 60 days. The blood test analyzes the individual’s delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol levels. A person with five nanograms of this substance or higher is considered to be driving while impaired.