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If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs (marijuana) or DUID, your first priority should be to retain the services of a competent, experienced, affordable attorney who has a long track record of successfully defending clients charged with DUID.
James Forslund and former Adams County prosecutor Gary Pareja together have a combined 60 years of legal experience and specialize in DUI and DUID defense.
Since 2014 when recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado, many areas of the law have been impacted and none more so than the ones that govern smoking pot and driving. County courts and the Department of Motor Vehicles have developed new standards for police to use in forming reasonable suspicion and probable cause to arrest drivers for driving while impaired by cannabis. For example, a medical marijuana patent is likely to test positive for being at impairment levels and/or under the influence merely from their higher tolerance and residual metabolite levels of THC in the blood and not from recent ingestion and driving while high.
In 2014 Colorado passed Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use of all forms of cannabis products. New traffic laws were also passed which set a standard of a permissible inference of impairment at 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood.
During the first year of legalization, law enforcement agencies issued:
A difficult issue arises surrounding the two active substances Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA, 2-COOH-THC.) Both substances are broken down by the body into an intermediate psycho-reactive compound (11-OH-THC) and a secondary, non-active metabolite that does not contribute to impairment. Once the psycho-reactive compounds in marijuana are fully processed by the body nothing remains to cause impairment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that marijuana impairs performance on driving for up to approximately 3 hours.
Most police labs report a positive drug test result including detectable levels of the non-impairment metabolite in a blood or urine sample. THC acid is one of the non-active metabolites that do not cause impairment. If several hours have passed after marijuana consumption a driver stopped for DUID was probably not impaired by marijuana he or she smoked earlier in the day. The odor of secondary marijuana smoke contributes to reasonable suspicion that a driver is impaired by marijuana.
According to Colorado's open container laws, it is illegal to have marijuana in the passenger seat if it is in an open container (i.e. a sandwich bag, a dispensary container with an opened seal, etc.) or if there's probable cause that the marijuana has been consumed recently. Further, it is entirely illegal to consume marijuana on any public roadway.
Law enforcement in Colorado are trained to detect impairment caused by drugs. Many have received training in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and some are even certified Drug Recognition Experts (DRE), which have considerable pull in a court of law. After the officers have determined that they believe you are driving under the influence of marijuana, they will arrest you and bring you into the station for blood testing for verification.
Colorado's new law lets drivers try to submit evidence in court showing they weren't impaired even though their THC blood levels were above the legal limit. That standard is known as "permissive inference." But you'll have to have one of our DUID defense specialists to get you out of a DUID with 5 nanograms in your blood, even if you were cool to drive. Here's what the National Highway Traffic Administration says on its website: "It is difficult to establish a relationship between a person's THC blood or plasma concentration and performance impairing effects ... It is inadvisable to try and predict effects based on blood THC concentrations alone."
Colorado law requires a prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a Colorado driver's performance was actually drug-impaired before a jury or judge can find them guilty of DUID. What this means is the drug test is only one piece of evidence in a DUID prosecution. Defendants can 'rebut' the evidence they were impaired by marijuana - regardless of any drug test result.
In court - proof or lack of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the sum total of the total evidence produced by in the case by EITHER SIDE:
The evidence in a typical Colorado DUID usually consists of:
There are so many variables here that actual marijuana detection times wildly vary on the individual - factors include:
Please remember, the charges against you are serious and can carry severe consequences which could be damaging to your present and your future. You can discover for yourself how we can help save your license and freedom by calling us at 303-761-6067 or on the cell phones listed above. We will work on DUI cases anywhere in the Denver CO area and beyond.
By Jim Forslund