If you have been charged in the state of Colorado with Driving under the influence of Drugs (DUID) you stand to face a number of harsh penalties.  The penalties includes fines, court costs, the loss or limitation of a driver’s license, community service, drug education classes, and possible incarceration. Currently, the state of Colorado has a virtually undefined law against driving under the influence of drugs, which means you need the assistance of Richard B. Huttner, and experienced attorney.

It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs.  Unfortunately, there is no bright line of how much drugs in your system equals impairment.  Even medically prescribed drugs in your system at the time of driving in some cases is illegal.   In other words, any detectable amounts found in a driver’s system may result in a DUID or DWAID charges.  If a person is stopped by an officer who feels this person may be under the influence, a drug recognition evaluator (DRE) may be called to conduct a Drug Recognition Evaluation.  In some cases, the patrol officer may be a DRE.

How Marijuana Affects Driving

Only the level of marijuana in your system at the time of driving has been clarified by the state legislature as a permissive inference of impaired driving.  Five nanograms of the active ingredient of marijuana — blood metabolite can be considered as driving under the influence of drugs.  The defendant in a driving under the influence of marijuana can present evidence that their level of THC in the blood does not impair their driving.

The literature indicates there is no set number of THC in the system that correlates to impaired driving.  Everybody is different and the facts in each case can be examined by a jury to determine if the level of THC means impaired driving.  The law DOES NOT mean a bright line standard that 5 ng means you are guilty of driving under the influence of marijuana.  Only an inference that can be rebutted by a strong, aggressive defense.

The DRE examination looks at the presence or non presence of horizontal gaze nystagmus, vertical nystagmus, convergence in the eyes, pupil size, eye lid tremors, blood pressure, body temperature, and muscle tone.  The literature on the DRE is mixed and in most cases the DRE means nothing.

Taking the Drug Recognition Evaluation is not mandatory, as it is just a tool, like field sobriety tests, used by the police to build a case for the prosecution should a DUI case go to trial.  This evaluation is based on the officer’s observations and the conclusions drawn are used when they testify for the prosecution in court.

A blood test is also used in DUI-D cases as a way to screen and confirm traces of drugs in your system.  Normally, a screen in a DUI case will test for the following:

  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cannabinoids (THC)
  • Cocaine
  • Ethanol
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamines (or meth)
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP); and
  • Propoxyphene (Darvon)

Prosecutor in a DUI case may imply that the drugs found in your system impaired you but this is not necessarily the case.  For instance, marijuana (THC) contains metabolites that can be found in the bloodstream after its impairing effects wear off.

There are many flaws in the impairment evaluation system that an experienced DUID defense attorney can uncover in a DUID case.  An experienced DUID attorney will determine the best challenges in court to determine if your constitutional rights were violated when you were stopped and arrested. Even errors found in blood testing results can have a great effect on a DUID case.   There are numerous factors to examine and fight in defending Driving Under the Influence of Drug cases in Colorado.

If you have been charged with Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID)  hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who has significant training in field sobriety testing, drug recognition examinations and blood testing.