In spring of this year, members of Colorado’s legislature voted down a bill aimed at clearly defining the legal limit for establishing a DUI for all those suspected of driving under the influence, specifically, of marijuana. House Bill 1261, more commonly known as the “Pot DUI Bill,” would allow law enforcement officers to charge those registering 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood with a DUI. Despite some initial support the bill received from communities and many members of the state senate, the bill eventually met its demise due to concerns over whether the proposed blood-THC content rubric was a clear indicator that a suspect was driving under the influence of marijuana. One such concern related to the amount of time THC has been known to stay in users’ systems; for instance, a test that lawmakers considered when deciding on the bill demonstrated that 5 nanograms of THC per millimeter of blood remained in users’ systems for as long as 15 hours after use. As such, the lawmakers did not feel the bill could provide law enforcement with a sufficient indicator for charging those suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana.
While the Colorado legislature did not pass House Bill 1261, and while currently, Colorado law doesn’t clearly specify how much THC will land you a DUI charge, the statutes do provide a very clear explanation that law enforcement officers will charge you with a DUI or DWAI (and courts will convict you) if they suspect you cannot safely operate a vehicle due to use of drugs or alcohol or if you fail a sobriety test.
DUI and DWAI charges have serious consequences. Whether you’ve receive charges for suspected use of alcohol or suspected use of marijuana (or other drugs), you should do everything within your power to contact a DUI criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A qualified Colorado DUI criminal defense attorney can help you with the many questions you have concerning the circumstances of your arrest, and he or she can also make sure you receive proper representation in court. Without the help of a skilled and experience legal professional, not only could you find yourself facing a potential conviction, you could also find yourself facing an overly harsh sentence.