DUI Marijuana Attorney at Mastro, Barnes, & Stazzone P.C.
With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, there has been an increase in news stories related to DUIs involving marijuana use. The Colorado State Patrol reports that marijuana is involved in about 12% of impaired driving citations. When facing a DUI for stoned driving, you should not hesitate to speak with the experienced attorneys of Mastro, Barnes, and Stazzone P.C. Since Marijuana DUI cases can present far more complexities than DUIs issued for drunk driving, it’s crucial to call on the professionals. We look forward to being your trusted legal partner.
The Complications Around Marijuana DUI Cases
Similar to DUI charges involving alcohol, marijuana DUI cases are based on blood tests that reveal THC’s concentration in the body. Unfortunately, this system is not as reliable for measuring impairment with marijuana as it is with alcohol. When someone tests at .08 BAC, it’s clear that the individual has been recently drinking and should not be operating a motor vehicle. With marijuana-related charges, a blood test will not be as accurate. This is because the baseline of five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood may be present in a completely sober individual who happens to be a regular marijuana user. Marijuana also affects people in many different ways, unlike alcohol, which has much more predictable outcomes when it comes to an individual’s behavior. This means that the risks of driving under the influence of marijuana may vary significantly from person to person. Therefore, it is highly beneficial to have an experienced DUI lawyer on your side as you face charges for driving under the influence of marijuana.
Possible Penalties of Marijuana DUI
While there are some apparent differences in the risks of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving stoned on marijuana, the penalties for Marijuana DUI charges are very similar to those of alcohol-related DUIs. Below, we have provided an overview of the possible outcomes of a marijuana DUI in Colorado:
First time DUI offenses will result in a minimum of five days in jail time, and this penalty can increase to up to one year in jail for second and third offenses. In the case of DWAIs (Driving While Ability Impaired), jail time may not be mandatory. You are also more likely to serve extended jail time if you have a prior drunk or drugged driving conviction.
A DUI is an expensive charge, as a person may have to pay fines anywhere from $500 to $1,000 on even the first offense. Second and third marijuana DUI offenses may have to make the maximum payment of $1,500 depending on the circumstances surrounding their case. Our DUI lawyers will do what we can to ensure you won’t have to pay a maximum fine for driving while stoned on marijuana.
Even after serving jail time and paying all fines, a DUI may have long-lasting effects. If charged with a marijuana DUI, you may have your license suspended for up to one year and then be required to drive with an ignition interlock restriction once you get your license back. You might also experience spikes in your auto insurance rates and suffer consequences with current or future employers. A Colorado resident can lose their driving privileges all together after being charged with a marijuana DUI. Our marijuana DUI attorneys go above and beyond to safeguard residents from the consequences of being pulled over while stoned.
The Issues with Marijuana Field Testing
According to Colorado law, any driver with five nanograms of delta-9-THC – the primary psychoactive chemical in cannabis – per milliliter of blood, can be prosecuted for DUI. Law enforcement and legislature in Colorado have yet to find a practical or accurate method to test THC roadside. Currently, the only way to check for marijuana in an individual’s system is through a blood test, which isn’t administered until the accused is at the police station. At Mastro, Barnes, & Stazzone P.C., we understand that this type of THC testing is often used to penalize individuals unfairly.
Since THC is a fat-soluble substance, it can remain present in the bloodstream for days or even months after use. The effects of marijuana use vary significantly from person to person, making it nearly impossible to scientifically quantify the amount of impairment caused by five nanograms of THC. If you’re a medical user or consume marijuana as a recreational drug in Colorado, you can be put at an unfair disadvantage when it comes to THC testing. Due to the lack of reliable roadside testing, police officers often base DUI arrests on observable impairment such as bloodshot eyes, affected speech, erratic driving, or the smell of marijuana. We realize the complexities involving these types of incidents and fight for your rights as a legal marijuana user.
How to Know if You’re Too Stoned to Drive
Colorado does not have a strict “legal limit” for marijuana at which you are automatically considered too stoned to drive. And since even the amount of THC in the blood is not conclusive, our DUI lawyers know how to effectively challenge these allegations in court. If you are behind the wheel of a vehicle and experience any of the following, pull over and wait until you are in the right mindset to operate a vehicle. Prosecutors can use these flaws against you in court:
- Violation of Colorado traffic laws
- Driving too fast or slow
- Weaving in and out of your lane
- Appearing under the influence
- The inside of your vehicle smells like marijuana
- Marijuana paraphernalia is in your vehicle
- Marijuana container is open in your vehicle
Call Our Seasoned Marijuana DUI Lawyers Today
At Mastro, Barnes, & Stazzone, we understand that a marijuana DUI – even in a state where marijuana use has been legalized – has the capacity to negatively alter your future. To protect yourself and your rights, we encourage you to reach out to our legal team after a marijuana DUI or DWAI. You don’t have to face these confusing charges alone. Contact our team today to get started.