Much has been made of Colorado’s permissive laws regarding Marijuana. Since of January 1, 2014, it has been legal to possess, use, cultivate, and sell marijuana the throughout the state, with certain restrictions. While most of us are aware that driving after consuming alcohol can result in being accused of driving under the influence (DUI), less well known is the fact that driving under the influence of marijuana can result in a DUI as well. A DUI based on driving under the influence of marijuana is just as serious as one involving alcohol, potentially subjecting people who are caught to significant legal and collateral consequences. Fortunately, in many cases, the assistance of a Denver DUI defense attorney will be able to lessen any long term consequences you may be facing.
Under Colorado law, it is not a defense to argue that the drugs you consumed were legally prescribed. All that the state needs to establish to support a conviction for DUI is that that you were under the influence of drugs and that your ability to drive was impaired. Because there is no objective way to measure a person’s level of marijuana impairment as there is with alcohol, the state must rely on other kinds of evidence in order to establish impairment. Generally speaking, this evidence takes the form of observations made by the officer who arrested you that support the contention that you were impaired. These observations can include characteristics about your appearance, your behavior, the presence or odor of marijuana, and the way that you were driving.
Because these are subjective observations, there can be varying and equally reasonable interpretations about what these observations indicate. This fact often gives a skilled defense attorney ample opportunity to cast doubt on the prosecution’s assertions. Additionally, even if a case does not go to trial, the representation of an attorney can often result in a much more favorable outcome in a Colorado DUI case, and in some cases may even result in a case being entirely dropped.
Penalties Associated with Colorado DUI
The penalties associated with DUI can include the loss of your right to drive, fines, probation, drug or alcohol treatment, and even jail time. These penalties increase significantly with each subsequent offense and can be very severe, especially when there are aggravating factors such as accidents or injuries associated with the offense. Some of the criminal penalties for Colorado DUI are listed below:
- Minimum of five days in jail to one year;
- Community service for 48 to 96 hours;
- Suspension of your driver’s license for at least nine months; and
- Up to $1,000 fine.
An experienced DUI defense attorney will know how to negotiate with prosecutors to limit the consequences that you face or to present an aggressive defense to have your case completely dismissed. Jay Tiftickjian and his team of lawyers at the Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. in Denver are committed to helping clients who are facing DUI and related charges. Please do not hesitate to contact our office today for help with your case.