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Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) can be a serious charge. Driving under the influence of one or more drugs will result in a misdemeanor charge and it will affect the driver’s driving record. This is because DUID charges are treated the same as drinking and driving. It will result in the same number of points off the driver’s record. In fact, driving under the influence of prescription drugs is illegal. For example, if someone were driving after surgery and had taken a prescription painkiller such as Vicodin, and they were pulled over for another reason, they could be charged with a DUID if the policemen thought that the prescription was affecting their driving.
Any drugs that alter the human mind in anyway or give a person euphoric affects can result in a DUI. This is why there are warnings on prescription bottles that warn it can be dangerous to operate a motor vehicle or any other heavy machinery.
Medical marijuana has become very popular here in Colorado as an alternative medicine. Just because marijuana has been decriminalized does not make it legal to use while driving. In many cases of people driving under the influence of marijuana, charges are reduced to a misdemeanor driving while ability impaired (DWAI), which is a lesser offense. Having an attorney can make the difference between getting a DUID or a DWAI.
In Colorado, drivers over the age of 21 are allowed to smoke marijuana. Driver marijuana use is handled the same way as driver alcohol use. In the State if Colorado, drivers must stay below 5 nanograms of active THC. If someone smokes marijuana medically and gets pulled over while they are sober, since they use it frequently, they can still show up above the legal limit. While the legal limit is 5 nanograms of active THC, one puff of an average joint can put someone around 7 nanograms, which is above that legal limit. The test for marijuana is done by taking a blood sample from the driver. This is more accurate than a urine or hair sample, because the blood test can search for active THC in the system. There are still a lot of questions and controversy over the legal limit due to the low legal limit and how much the limit could affect different drivers. Some tests say that someone at 5 nanograms of active THC in their system might not even feel the euphoric effects of marijuana at such a small active level.
Refusing chemical tests for DUID is seen as an act of guilt. This is the same for a regular DUI. When the driver of a vehicle is suspected of DUI and refuses chemical testing, it is seen by the law as an admittance to being under the influence. If somebody was under the influence of more than one substance, refusing the chemical test may not be a bad thing. However, since it is seen as an act of guilt, the DUI or DUID can become a little harder to fight. This is because in many cases of DUI or DUID, the defense’s argument is usually based on the amount of whatever substance was in their system and how it was affecting them. If there is no chemical test, there is no data to argue that the driver was or was not able to operate the vehicle safely. Another reason is because the refusal of the test itself is evidence that the driver knew that they were under the influence and should not have been operating the vehicle.
Getting charged with a DUI can be life altering and very challenging. Here at South Denver Law, we are easy to work with and offer the best DUID defense. Don’t go to court unprepared. Visit us at South Denver Law to see how we can benefit your case. Contact us today for more information on Driving Under the Influence of Drugs.