Colorado’s Express Consent Laws and Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

marijuanaIn the state of Colorado, you face serious penalties for refusal to take a chemical test for marijuana use if stopped by a police officer with probable cause that you have been driving under the influence. The same goes for alcohol. The reason for these penalties, considered harsh and surprising by some, is the state’s express consent law with regard to driving. The purpose of this article is to explain the penalties for non-compliance with Colorado’s express consent law. If you have been arrested for a marijuana related DUI or DWAI in the state of Colorado, contact an experienced Denver DUI defense attorney. A skilled attorney will explain your legal rights, hold the state to its probable cause and testing requirements, and work to mount the strongest possible defense on your behalf.

Marijuana DUI Testing Differs From Alcohol to DUI Testing

Unlike the breathalyzer test that is common to the alcohol DUI context, the test for impermissible levels of active THC in the blood stream is typically administered through a whole blood test, and measures nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.

Refusal of Testing Can Result in Suspension of Your Driver’s License

If you are stopped under suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana in the state of Colorado by a police officer with probable cause, and refuse to take a test to measure the level of active THC in your system, you will likely face a one-year revocation of your driver’s license.  This harsh penalty is even the case for first-time offenders. If you have previously refused testing, you are looking at a two or even three-year revocation of your driver’s license. The state’s legal basis for imposing these severe penalties is its express consent law. Under Colorado law, you are deemed to have expressly given your consent to alcohol or marijuana testing the moment you choose to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and then operate it on the state’s streets and highways.

Whether you are a first time or subsequent offender under the express consent law, you will not be eligible for a probationary driver’s license. So, you will be left to use public transportation and obtain rides from friends and family. In addition, the state’s prosecutor will certainly use your refusal to submit to testing as evidence against you in court. If this is your situation, you need the expertise of a skilled Colorado DUI defense attorney. The above stated penalties for testing refusal are just the beginning. If ultimately convicted for DUI, you are looking at fines and fees, community service, attendance at a victim impact panel, and even jail time. In addition, there is the damage to your reputation, and resulting effects on your ability to obtain employment and pursue your educational goals and dreams. With so much at stake, do not delay in contacting a skilled and experienced Denver DUI defense attorney.  

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