Since 2014, Colorado has famously legalized the recreational use of marijuana. During the debate proceeding legalization, opponents had argued that legalized marijuana would lead to more drugged drivers thereby endangering the public. And now that legalized recreational marijuana has won the day, state legislators want to know whether or not marijuana actually has endangered the public, and, if so, to what extent. But the current law does not separate drugged driving from drunk driving, making data hard to come by. For this reason two state representatives have joined forces to begin drafting a “drugged driving” law in Colorado.
State Legislators Hope to Create a Separate Drugged Driving Law and Gather Data
Although the potential law is still in the initial drafting stages and will likely undergo many revisions if and before it passes, the state representatives have given a clear outline of their intent. First, they would like to be able to disaggregate the data on drugged driving convictions from drunk driving convictions, in order to have a deeper understanding of legalized marijuana’s impact on public safety. Second, the representatives would like to create a separate charge for driving under the influence of drugs as opposed to alcohol. The state currently charges offenders who are accused of driving while high under the same statute as offenders who are accused of driving while drunk, so the representatives are designing a law that will create two separate charges. The legislative session begins in January and the representatives would like to pass the new drugged driving law sometime during the 2016 sessions.
Deadly Drugged Driving
Colorado’s current criminal law regime punishes drugged driving under the same statute that criminalizes drunk driving. Just as there is a legal limit for alcohol, Colorado makes it illegal to drive with anything more than five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main component of marijuana, per milliliter of blood. If a driver is found to have more than the legal limit of THC in his or her blood, then the law allows a judge or jury to assume that the driver was under the influence while driving. The accused driver, however, may overcome this assumption, which is why it is quite critical for anyone accused of drugged driving to contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible.
Under the current law, the consequences of a drugged driving conviction are serious and can include:
- Community service; and
- Drug and alcohol education.
There is no reason to expect that the proposed drugged driving law would treat drugged driving any lighter than the current law, should the drugged driving law come to fruition.
Contact the Tiftickjian Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with one of our DUI defense lawyers
Driving under the influence of drugs, including marijuana, or alcohol can cause serious consequences, including imprisonment and substantial fines. The experienced Denver DUI defense attorneys at the Tiftickjian Law Firm have the necessary skill to provide defense for people accused of drunk or drugged driving. Call our office today at (303) DUI-5280 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.