Colorado is unique in that is one of only four states in which it is legal to purchase and consume marijuana. However, as in Oregon, Washington, and Alaska, with the right to enjoy marijuana comes the responsibility not to get behind the wheel of car while under the influence of the THC – the drug’s active ingredient. Just as it is possible to be charged with DUI for driving under the influence of alcohol, so too is it possible to be charged with DUI for driving under the influence of marijuana. The same goes for driving under the influence of a combination of alcohol and marijuana. Whatever the impairing the substance or combination of substances, the state does not want residents or visitors endangering persons and property by driving on the state’s often winding, mountainous roads with impaired mental faculties. To deter Coloradoans and visitors of the state from doing so, Colorado punishes DUI severely. The purpose of this article is to educate individuals about both alcohol and marijuana DUI in Colorado. If you have been charged with DUI, you need to act quickly to protect your legal rights by contacting an experienced Denver DUI defense attorney.
Alcohol DUI is Measured by Blood Alcohol Content
When alcohol is the only substance at issue in a DUI stop and arrest, the relevant measurement is Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). BAC is the ratio of alcohol to blood in one’s system. The higher the concentration, the stronger the presumption of influence (and impairment). The most common means of measuring BAC is by breathalyzer. If a breathalyzer BAC test results in a reading of .08%, you may be properly arrested and charged with DUI.
Marijuana DUI is Measured by Blood THC Content
When marijuana is the only substance at issue in a DUI stop and arrest, the relevant measurement is Blood TCH Content. This measurement determines the ratio of Delta-9 THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) to blood in one’s system. As with alcohol DUI, a higher concentration corresponds with a stronger presumption of influence (and impairment). The most common means of measure Blood THC Content is by swab – either of saliva or blood. If a THC swab results in a measurement of .5 nanograms or more of THC, you may be properly charged with marijuana DUI
When a DUI Charge Implicates Both Alcohol and Marijuana
The reality is that individuals often consume alcohol and marijuana simultaneously. If you blow .08% BAC and a swab reveals a .5ng/ml reading, you are certainly looking at DUI charge and an even more aggressive effort by the state to convict you. If these are the circumstances you are in, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Colorado DUI defense attorney immediately. In making a DUI arrest related to alcohol use, marijuana use, or a combination of alcohol and marijuana, the arresting officer is subject to strict requirements related to probable cause and your constitutional rights. A skilled attorney will investigate the precise facts of your case, and work to protect your rights and mount the strongest possible legal defense.