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Marijuana DUI

Know The Colorado THC Laws on Driving

Oct. 23rd 2014

We know that drinking and driving is dangerous. In Colorado, it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Traditionally, in a prosecution for driving under the influence of any drug the government had to show that the drug impacted a person’s ability to drive as he or she normally would. Recently, Colorado has made a special exception for Marijuana and enacted a presumption that if the driver had a blood concentration of 5 ng/mL or higher of THC-COOH, a jury could presume that the driver was under influence of Marijuana. This special treatment of marijuana as compared to other drugs is mostly likely an overreaction to the de-criminalization of marijuana in Colorado by law enforcement, prosecutors, and legislatures.

VERY IMPORTANT: The marijuana presumption does not mean that you are automatically guilty. If you or a friend are accused of DUI- Marijuana, consult with a DUI attorney with specific knowledge of Marijuana before you make any permanent and damaging plea decisions.

This post seeks to explain why Colorado THC laws 5 ng/mL of THC-COOH presumption contained in C.R.S §42-4-1301(6)(a)(4) is unreliable and could result in false convictions. The idea that marijuana should be treated differently then other drugs is problematic in criminal law and DUI prosecution because all drugs, including marijuana affect individuals different. This means that there cannot be a certain blood concentrate of THC that would impair every user. The metabolic rate for all drugs can vary significantly from one person to the next and a dosage that works for one may not work for another. That is why we have different dosage of medicine for different people, it is not a one size fits all. That is why the pharmaceutical industry makes prescription drugs in varying strengths.

To further complicate the issue, THC can remain and show-up in a blood test days, weeks, even months after use. It would be like taking an alcohol test and it measured not only the alcohol that you drank that day but for the past month. It is possible that a driver would most likely NOT be under the influence of marijuana, but could still show significant THC-COOH levels.

The National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration (NHSTA) produces information for the use of the government in the prosecution of drug DUI. NHSTA admits that a person’s individual drug metabolite, overall usage, and does of marijuana can impact the blood concentration of THC. Due to these factors a person’s THC blood concentration alone cannot establish a relationship to impairment.

The current Colorado THC laws regarding marijuana presumption could lead to a false arrest or conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana. Prosecutors do not typically understand the difference between active THC and inactive THC in a blood concentrate or the length of time that THC may remain in a person’s body.

A false conviction for a Marijuana DUI could result in fines, restricted use of both alcohol and marijuana, jail time, mandatory substance abuse classes and therapies, fees, revocation of a driver’s licenses, restricted licenses uses, and increased insurance costs. In addition a person could face collateral consequences such as: job loss, and the stigma of a permanent criminal record.

This presumption for Marijuana DUI means that -you need an attorney to ensure the government can show that marijuana, not just a test resulted impaired your ability to drive and if it can’t that you have an attorney fluent with Colorado THC laws fight for you.

If you, a friend, loved-one, or someone you just met is being affected by Colorado THC laws or is facing a criminal charge for driving under the influence of marijuana, contact us today for a case evaluation at (303) 747-4686.

Posted by Laurie Schmidt | in Marijuana DUI | Comments Off on Know The Colorado THC Laws on Driving

Denver DUI Penalties From Colorado DMV

Oct. 6th 2014

Loss of License in DUI or DWAI alcohol cases

If you are arrested for drinking and driving in Colorado you will face two separate actions. The first is through the criminal court and the second is through the Colorado DMV. Typically, DMV determines if you keep your licenses and if not, for how long it would be revoked. This post seeks to provide information on penalties that you may face for drinking and driving through the Colorado DMV. For more information regarding court action, please see the attached link.

Colorado DMV- Standards for Hearing

After an arrest for drinking and driving in Colorado, you have seven days to request a hearing through the DMV, unless you take a blood test, the time is extended until you receive the results of the test. A DMV hearing officer, not a judge, conducts the hearing. The hearing officer must find by a preponderance of the evidence that that officer had a legal reason to stop you, had probable cause to request you consent to either a blood or breath test, and that you were driving with a BAC of above .08. This is different then the court standard and so it is possible that you may win the DMV hearing and loose at court or win at court and loose the DMV hearing.

Denver DUI Penalties from the DMV- License penalties

The Colorado DMV will look at revoking your license after a drinking and driving arrest. How long the revocation will depend on many different factors, including past driving record, circumstances of stop and arrest, and any resulting alcohol results. This information is only for the DMV action and does not consider any court sanctions. For more information regarding your options after a Denver DUI arrest, contact DUI attorney Laurie A. Schmidt, p.c. at (303) 747-4686.

First Offense DUI with a BAC level below a .15

In this case, the Colorado DMV will revoke the license for 9 months. The driver may be eligible for a restricted license after 30 days. In order to get a restricted license the driver must complete a driver’s application, pay a $95 application fee, install an ignition interlock devise, and carry SR-22 insurance for the remaining 8 months.

First Offense DUI with a BAC level above a .15

The Denver DUI penalties from the DMV may make a finding of a persistent drunk driver (PDD) if there is credible evidence that the BAC was above a .15 within two hours of driving. If labeled a PDD, in addition to the requirements above, the driver must also enroll and complete Level II alcohol education and therapy and maintain the interlock device for two years.

Second Offense DUI within a lifetime

A second driving under the influence of alcohol allegation will result in a license revocation for one year. A driver may apply for a restricted license after 60 days. The restricted license carries mandatory interlock, SR-22 insurance, and if the BAC or driver is determined to be a persistent drunk driver, may require completion of Level II alcohol education and therapy and an additional 2 years of the interlock requirement.

Third or more Offense DUI over a lifetime

A third driving under the influence charge will result in 2-year license revocation. The driver may be eligible for a restricted license after 60 days. This offense will result in a persistent drunk driving designation and the Denver DUI penalties from the DMV would require completion of Level II alcohol education and therapy as well as extended interlock on any vehicles.

Refusal to take or complete a test

If the Colorado DMV finds that your refused to take or complete an alcohol test on a first offense of Driving Under the Influence charge your license will be revoked for one year. The driver may be eligible to receive a restricted license after 60 days, but a designation of persistent drunk driving will extend the period of the interlock requirement.

As you can tell there are many factors that could influence how long a revocation is for and what is require to obtain a license. For information regarding your specific case, we suggest that you contact Denver DUI attorney Schmidt at (303) 747-4686.

Posted by Laurie Schmidt | in Drug DUI, DUI arrest, DUI laws, Marijuana DUI | Comments Off on Denver DUI Penalties From Colorado DMV

Will a Red Card Get You Out of a Marijuana DUI in Colorado?

Jun. 20th 2014

Marijuana DUI’s in Colorado

As things are rapidly changing with the use, possession, and enforcement of marijuana laws in Colorado there tends to be a lot of misinformation about Marijuana DUI’s.  The first misconception is in regards to red cards or a medical marijuana recommendations.  Have a valid medicinal marijuana card is not a get out of a DUI free card. Showing or telling the officer you have a red card would most likely get you arrested, charged with a Marijuana DUI and you could go straight to jail.  This is because if you tell the officer you have a red card, the next logical question would be if you recently smoke or ingested any marijuana.  Admitting to using marijuana hours before the stop could give the officer enough probable cause to arrest you for suspicion of driving under the influence of Marijuana.  Click the following line for more information on Drug DUI in Colorado.

Even if you have a valid Red Card that is not a defense to a Marijuana DUI.  The law is clear, if you are too impaired to drive due to drugs, alcohol, or marijuana, you should not be operating a vehicle.   Most cops tend to treat marijuana just like alcohol, any amount in your system would impair your ability to drive.  The problem with this type of thinking is that unlike alcohol; just having some TCH in your blood does not correlate to impairment as it relates to a Marijuana DUI.  TCH can stay in your blood or body tissues for months after use.  There have been documented studies that have shown TCH in someone’s body for as long  as six months. This is not true for everyone and one of the difficulties with Marijuana DUI prosecution is that each person will metabolize and eliminate marijuana at a different rate, there is no consistent.

You Must Submit to a Blood, Urine, or Saliva Test if You Are Arrested for Marijuana DUI; or You May Loose Your License

If you are arrested for suspected Marijuana DUI,  you must submit to either a test of your blood, urine, or saliva and it is not your choice; but the officer’s choice. If you refuse such a test, your license may be revoked by the DMV. After the test and immediately upon release, contact a DUI attorney in your area to start them working on your defense.  Marijuana DUI’s are very specific type of cases that need a skilled and knowable attorney.

We hope that this post on Red Cards and Marijuana DUI’s was helpful to you. Should you have any questions or like a free consultation with Ms. Schmidt, please contact us directly at (303) 747-4686 or by clicking here.

Posted by Laurie Schmidt | in Drug DUI, DUI arrest, DUI laws, DUI Post, Marijuana DUI | Comments Off on Will a Red Card Get You Out of a Marijuana DUI in Colorado?

Marijuana DUI prosecutions in Colorado

Mar. 8th 2013

Marijuana DUI in Colorado

You can be accused and convicted for driving under the influence of marijuana.  Marijuana DUI convictions have penalties and consequences like that of an alcohol dui.  Marijuana DUI investigation will differ from an alcohol DUI investigation in a few ways.  It should, but not always is, conducted by an officer who is a drug recognitions expert.  A DUR (drug recognition expert) is an officer who has training, usually a few hours or a day, in detecting signs and symptoms of a person under the influence of drugs- including marijuana.   In addition to standard field sobriety tests, marijuana DUI investigations should include officer taking a pulse, eye dilation exam, and possibly your blood pressure.

The driving pattern noted by the officers will be used as evidence against you.  Driving too slowly, weaving in and out of lanes, sudden stops or turns, or great variance in speed could be used to establish that the drug impaired your ability to operate your car.  More than likely, the state would use a driving pattern to help it proves it’s marijuana DUI case against you.

If your marijuana dui stop was due to defective equipment, such as a broken taillight or expired license plate, officers may still have a reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence of marijuana.  Officer first observations when they approach your car will be important in marijuana DUI cases.  The office could claim that he smelt the odor of marijuana, either on the person or in the car.  He/she may also claim that they observed that the driver had red watery eyes.

In addition to driving pattern, before you were arrested, you were most likely asked to complete a serious of Field Sobriety Tests.  These tests, which are voluntarily, meaning you do not have to participate in them, should have been preformed by an officer trained in drug recognition, as noted above.

Is there a limit to marijuana levels, like there is alcohol?

If you are suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana a blood test will be requested.   Depending on how long after and how much marijuana you ingested, a result could be detected.  Currently, there are no levels or per se amounts as there is with alcohol.  A blood alcohol content of .08% or more within two hours of driving allows the state to presume you were legally under the influence when you drove. This is not the case in marijuana DUI prosecutions

Toxicologists in Colorado who regularly testify for the state would argue that a THC blood content of 5 or even as low as 3 nanograms per milliliter, should be the pre se level.  There is significant disagreement in the scientific community as to the science and actual ability to prove a per se level in marijuana dui cases.  Mainly because drugs impact each individual differently and there is less data on marijuana and impairment levels as compared to alcohol.  As studies and additional information is learned, this may change in the future.

Even if the result or level of marijuana in your blood was extremely low- you may still be prosecuted depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the arrest.  If you are charged with a marijuana dui, consult a dui attorney to review your case and any potential defenses that you may have.

Thank you for visiting our post on marijuana DUI’s.  If you would like additional information about the author, click here.

To contact us regarding your marijuana DUI, you can click here or contact us directly at (303) 747-4686.

Posted by Laurie Schmidt | in Drug DUI, DUI arrest, Marijuana DUI | Comments Off on Marijuana DUI prosecutions in Colorado