Medical Marijuana Safe from Federal Crackdown, for Now

The current political climate has made the future of marijuana in America uncertain at best. The Obama administration took a lax approach to federal enforcement of marijuana-related crimes, allowing states that decided to legalize recreational marijuana use do so without federal repercussions. Medical marijuana has also continued to grow in popularity throughout the country. However, the current administration has not been completely clear about the approach they will take towards marijuana moving forward. While the future of recreational marijuana hangs in limbo, Denver’s ABC-7 recently reported that lawmakers were able to include a rider into a potential bipartisan budget deal which would keep Colorado’s medical marijuana industry safe from federal crackdown until at least September of this year.

The Future of Marijuana

The report notes that 30 states and the District of Columbia have approved the use and possession of some form of medical marijuana. After mixed signals about the administration’s potential approach to any form of marijuana, the medical marijuana industry is breathing easy at the potential of a possible reprieve from federal interference. This particular rider, which still needs to be approved by Congress and the President on a long-term basis, was first approved in 2014 and has been added to every spending bill in Congress since that time.

This particular rider also includes language that protects industrial hemp research. While the federal government declined to reschedule marijuana last year, it has slowly changed its approach to testing for potential benefits related to marijuana. Last year, regulations surrounding such industrial use were relaxed allowing more involvement in the industrial marijuana research sector. While Congressional officials are pleased at the possibility of maintaining the status quo for at least one portion of the industry, they are hopeful that a more permanent solution is on the horizon. Finding a long-term solution to the ongoing question of whether state laws allowing for the medicinal and/or recreational use of marijuana can exist in contrast to federal laws governing the same substances.

Marijuana DUIs

Whether you consume marijuana in Colorado for recreational or medicinal purposes, driving under the influence of marijuana is still illegal. While marijuana DUIs in the state have declined, fatalities in drug-related accidents have risen and police are still on high alert for drivers that operate a vehicle under the influence of the drug. Keeping abreast of current state and federal laws regarding marijuana can help you avoid many marijuana-related criminal charges, and choosing a designated driver can help you avoid a marijuana DUI. If you are facing these types of marijuana-related charges, they can have severe consequences. Working with an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney can be an important first step in making sure your rights are protected throughout the legal process. Contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation where you can learn more about the charges you are facing as well as what options might be available to you in your defense based on your individual circumstances.

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Underage Drinking and Drunk Driving Prevention

Most people are aware that drinking can severely impair your ability to drive. In fact, state campaigns have been reminding people over the last year that even one drink can put you above the legal limit to drive. Preventing drunk driving in Colorado is a multi-faceted effort that involves the cooperation of government entities, law enforcement officials, and multiple other entities dedicated to making Colorado’s roads safer. This is especially true when it comes to underage drinking and drunk driving prevention. In cooperation with state law enforcement and community officials, student organizations like Students Against Destructive Decisions (“SADD”) work to educate the state’s youth on the dangers of drinking and driving to help instill responsible driving habits among young people. While these organizations can be effective in helping curb problems with underage drinking and related drunk driving, there are other ways to make sure youth make responsible choices about potentially destructive behaviors.

Ways to Prevent Underage Drinking and Driving

There are many powerful tools at your disposal that can help combat underage drinking and driving. Organizations like SADD offer educational resources that aim to help young people understand the dangers related to substance abuse and driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. For instance, their Contract for Life is available for parents to download or order for free. This “contract” is meant to facilitate open dialog between adults and youth about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. By signing the contract, young people agree not to make destructive decisions like driving under the influence or with someone else who is under the influence while adults commit to not drive under the influence and provide safe transportation in situations that pose a risk to a young person’s safety.

When adult agree to behave responsibly and not drive under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, not only can they fulfill their end of the bargain if they enter this type of contract with a young person but they can also provide a positive example for young people throughout the community. Kids are always learning, and exhibiting positive behavior is an important part of combating drunk driving according to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (“ADF”). Equally important is an open and honest dialog with kids about safe drinking habits.

ADF also recommends having a plan in place, which a SADD-style contract can help you establish. Making sure young people have an alternative to drinking and driving or getting in a vehicle with someone else who is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is the primary goal of establishing a plan, including creating a backup plan for instances when you might be unavailable (such as when young people move out-of-state for college). Making sure young people are comfortable utilizing those alternatives is equally as important as the plan itself, and that may involve some changes in your attitude regarding their behavior. You can create your own contract or use one like the one provided by SADD, but make sure to include specific details and that you have more than adequately provided for circumstances in which young adults in your life can make responsible choices regarding driving under the influence.

Legal Assistance with DUIs

Even though most people are aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, people can and do still make mistakes. Whether you are facing your first DUI or are a repeat DUI offender, it is important to work with an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney that focuses their practice on working with clients facing similar charges – especially if you are underage. There are many aspects related to DUI defense, and Jay Tiftickjian has actually written books on defending against these types of charges in Colorado. If you have received a citation for a DUI or related violation, contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation where you can find out more information about your charges as well as what options might be available to you in your defense.

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Colorado Heading for Similar Number of Traffic Deaths as in 2016

2016 was a deadly year on Colorado roadways. In fact, Colorado roads saw more traffic fatalities last year than they had in any year since 2004. According to a recent story from Denver’s ABC-7, not only was last year the deadliest year for traffic fatalities in over a decade, it was also the worst year on record for motorcycle deaths, with 125 fatalities. That number represents a 15% increase in fatalities from 2015. The ABC-7 story says that 2017 is on track to have a similar number of roadway fatalities as in 2016.

Preliminary Numbers

After a steady increase in traffic deaths ever since 2011, law enforcement officials were hoping that this year’s numbers would offer some good news. However, preliminary numbers show that this year is on track to end with similar numbers to last year. So far, preliminary data from the state shows that there had been 157 traffic deaths as of May 1, 2017. This marks an increase from data that showed 130 traffic fatalities as of April 17. While that does not necessarily mean this year will be as bad or worse than last, it is still cause for concern when you project numbers for the rest of the year based on this trend.

If that number is accurate, and there is no indication that it will not be, then this year has a higher number of average deaths than the same time period during the previous year. At this time last year, there had only been 143 traffic fatalities. The story from ABC-7 states that projecting the current number throughout the rest in the year would result in roughly 400 to 460 additional deaths during the remaining months of the year.

Law Enforcement Concerns

With numbers above where they were during this time last year, law enforcement officials across the state will be doubling down their efforts to stop drunk driving. While there has been an increase in deaths so far this year, law enforcement officials are likely watching for times of the year when the largest amount of traffic deaths traditionally occur. These include times such as the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and New Year’s Eve. Law enforcement officials have continually partnered with each other and the Colorado Department of Transportation through a program known as “The Heat Is On” to target drunk driving, especially with heightened DUI enforcement periods surrounding traditionally fatal periods of time during the year. This year will be no exception, and Coloradans can likely expect to see even more police presence aimed at tackling drunk driving in the state.

Legal Assistance with Colorado DUIs

Facing a DUI charge can be an intimidating experience. However, working with an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney that focuses their practice on defending clients facing similar charges means that you do not have to face your charges alone. If you have received a citation for an alcohol or drug-related DUI, contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation where you can find out more about the charges as well as what options might be available in your defense. It is important to remember that even when facing a DUI, you have rights that must be protected and working with a lawyer that is passionate about ensuring those rights are protected can be a beneficial experience.

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How Does Alcohol Impair Driving?

It is common knowledge that drinking and driving is dangerous and illegal. However, many people mistakenly believe that by only having a couple of drinks they are still able to drive safely. This is not the case, and even a couple of drinks can put you over the legal limit for driving under the influence of alcohol. In fact, the United States Centers for Disease Control reports that every single day, 28 people in the United States dies as a result of alcohol-related traffic accidents. Some people might retain this misconception because they may not understand exactly how even one alcoholic beverage can affect one’s ability to drive.

How Alcohol Affects Your Ability to Drive

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence states that alcohol is classified as a depressant. The Alcohol and Drug Foundation of Australia explains that, as a depressant drug, alcohol “slows the activity of the central nervous system, including the brain.” As you can imagine, slower brain function is likely to impede just about any activity you might regularly engage in – including driving. Some of the effects of using alcohol that they list include:

  • Drowsiness;
  • Impaired vision;
  • Reduced reaction times;
  • Reduced concentration and vigilance;
  • Feeling more relaxed and drowsy;
  • Difficulty in understanding sensory information;
  • Difficulty in multi-tasking, which is often required while driving;
  • Failure to observe and/or obey traffic regulations/signage; and
  • Over-confidence in one’s ability, which may be a precursor to engaging in risky behavior like driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Each of these potential side effects of alcohol consumption demonstrate how a depressant like alcohol can impact a person’s ability. It is important to remember that while many factors may be a part of determining how intoxicated an individual is or how alcohol might affect him or her in a given set of circumstances, alcohol reacts with everyone’s body in the same general way: by depressing the central nervous system. Much like walking often becomes more difficult after alcohol consumption, so too does driving.

For example, while one person who may not have eaten all day could appear to be severely impaired after two or three drinks, another individual might seem to be functioning well after five drinks. However, in normal circumstances, it is likely that both drivers are too impaired to drive especially if they consumed the alcohol during a short period of time. As you can see from the list above, there may not need to be outward signs of impairment in an individual, but alcohol may still have a severe impact on hs or her judgment and ability to drive.

Legal Assistance with Alcohol-Related Traffic Offenses

Whether you are facing your first DUI-related offense or are a repeat offender, working with an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney is an important part of facing such serious charges. The criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm have focused their practice on working with clients facing similar charges. In fact, Jay Tiftickjian has actually written extensively about the DUI defense process in Colorado. If you are facing DUI-related charges in Colorado, contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation where you can find out more about the charges you are facing as well as what options might be available to you in planning your defense.

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Your Blood Alcohol Concentration

While it is common knowledge that drinking alcohol can increase your blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”), many people do not understand important details related to their BAC. Your BAC refers to the amount of alcohol in your system for every 100 milligrams of blood and is typically shown as a percentage. Sometimes, having this information can help you make more informed decisions about drinking and driving, specifically choosing not to drive after consuming alcohol. The following information can help you understand your BAC a little more.

Your BAC can Continue to Rise

Yes, even after you stop drinking, your BAC can continue to rise. In fact, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation of Australia states that your BAC can continue to rise for as much as three hours after you stop drinking. For instance, the effects of three alcoholic drinks consumed within one hour may not be fully seen until more than an hour after you have consumed the drinks. While you may initially feel fine and believe you are safe to get behind the wheel, the potential effects of those drinks may not have set in yet.

Perhaps the most important factor in determining your BAC is time, and that is why it deserves its own section. Short of selecting a designated driver before choosing to drink, time can be one of the most important factors in your BAC when it comes to safe driving. Typically, it takes about one hour for your liver to process the alcohol content of one regular drink. So, for every regular drink you have, you will likely need to wait one hour before that alcohol has left your system and you are able to drive safely. However, this does not account for stronger alcohol or different drink combinations, like ordering a double. Additionally, not every person’s liver and other important systems function in exactly the same way, so making sure that you do not drive after consuming alcohol is the most effective way to ensure you are safe to drive.

Other Factors that May Affect Your BAC

While alcoholic beverages impair every person who consumes them, they may have a slightly different effect on different individuals’ BAC depending on several factors. These factors can include:

 

  • Your size: The smaller you are, the less you can drink to stay under the limit;
  • Your body fat: More body fat can cause individuals to become drunk quicker;
  • Empty stomach: Alcohol is more easily absorbed by your body when there is no food in your stomach, so drinking on an empty stomach can make you drunk more quickly; and
  • Experience with drinking: Individuals who do not drink often or drink less on average than others can become drunk more quickly when these factors are changed.

 

Your gender can also affect the rate at which your BAC rises when considering the average body size for males and females. Additionally, the presence of any prescription or over-the-counter medication can have a significant effect on how your body handles alcoholic beverages and can cause you to become intoxicated more quickly. Medication may also have serious interactions with alcohol consumption, and you should consult a physician to determine how safe alcohol consumption is with your medication regimen.

Legal Assistance with DUIs

DUIs and other alcohol-related traffic offenses can be intimidating, you do not have to face them alone. Working with an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney that focuses their practice on helping clients facing similar charges can help you understand the charges you are facing as well as what options might be available to you in your defense. If you are facing a DUI or other alcohol or drug-related traffic offense, contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation.

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Colorado DUIs and Immigration Inadmissibility

The current political climate has drawn a great deal of attention to immigration across the United States, and Colorado is no exception. As has been covered extensively by the news, criminal offenses can impact your immigration status. While immigration is a complex area of law, a DUI or related offense can have a serious impact on your immigration status. Being charged with a DUI can be overwhelming for anyone, regardless of whether it is an alcohol or drug-related offense. However, being charged with these crimes is of special concern to immigrants in Colorado because a conviction could result in an immigrant being deemed inadmissible or even deportable. This post focuses on inadmissibility, which could apply to an immigrant already present in the United States or one attempting to enter from abroad.

Understanding Inadmissibility

Inadmissibility refers to a set of federal laws that make a person ineligible to enter or remain in the United States. A variety of circumstances can make a person inadmissible, ranging from severe health conditions to misrepresentation of facts on immigration documents. Criminal conduct is one potential reason for someone being labeled as inadmissible. Criminal activity resulting in potential inadmissibility includes:

  • Crimes involving moral turpitude (this is a broad category requiring legal assistance to understand all potential aspects);
  • Violation of any controlled substance law;
  • Multiple criminal convictions;
  • Drug trafficking;
  • Prostitution;
  • Commercialized vice;
  • Commission of a serious crime in the United States;
  • Engaging in the violation of religious freedom abroad;
  • Human trafficking; and/or
  • Money laundering.

Many of these categories are purposefully vague. This allows law enforcement officials to piece together various laws that may come into play when an immigrant is facing criminal charges that could lead to inadmissibility.

Of particular concern with drug-related DUIs is violation of a controlled substance law as marijuana-related offenses could qualify as a reason for an immigrant to be deemed inadmissible. While recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado and several other states, if it is used in compliance with state law, it is still possible to run afoul of such laws. Doing so, especially when driving is involved, can cause serious problems for immigrants seeking to enter or remain in the United States. It is important to also understand state-imposed limits on marijuana possession so as not to cross the line into territory where a marijuana-related offense could qualify as drug trafficking. Additionally, traffic accidents resulting in serious injury or death where alcohol or drugs have played a role can also result in immigrants being deemed inadmissible.

Legal Assistance with DUIs

No matter the type of DUI you have received, facing the charge can be intimidating. This is especially true for immigrants that may actually lose or be denied legal status depending on the circumstances of a conviction. If you are facing DUI charges related to either drugs or alcohol, it is important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to make sure your rights are protected throughout the legal process. There are many intricate aspects involved in DUI defense, and Jay Tiftickjian understands the importance of making sure your defense utilizes all available options. If you are facing DUI charges, contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation where you can find out more about the charges you are facing as well as the potential consequences of conviction. For immigrants, those may include inadmissibility and/or deportation, which may require additional legal assistance from an experienced immigration attorney.

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Current Breathalyzer Case Could Affect Hundreds of DUIs

A controversy surrounding the state’s breathalyzer program began to develop in March when a whistleblower reported that his signature certifying the state’s DUI breath testing machines had been forged on hundreds of certifications. After the former lab worker came forward, the Colorado Defense Bar asked Governor Hickenlooper to create an independent investigation into the certifications for the state’s choice in breathalyzers: Intoxilyzer 9000. Recently, Denver’s NBC-9 News reported that the state’s entire breathalyzer program is being put on trial because of a DUI defense calling into question the reliability of the state’s breath testing machines. The outcome of the case could impact hundreds of recent and currently pending DUI trials, and Tiftickjian Law Firm is watching the proceedings closely.

The Potential Impact

Breathalyzers must be properly calibrated in accordance with state standards to ensure that they can provide accurate readings. One of the steps in this process involves certification from a state testing lab charged with ensuring that the breathalyzers are accurate. These certifications require the signature of the lab technician supervising the certification process. A former lab technician says that his signature was forged on hundreds of certifications so that the machines could be rushed into use statewide. This means that each of the machines with a questionable signature could potentially provide less-than-accurate results in DUI testing.

One such potentially questionable result occurred when a driver was pulled over in May of 2016 and cited for driving while ability impaired (“DWAI”). While a lesser charge than a traditional DUI, a DWAI still carries serious consequences if you are convicted. The defendant in this case consumed alcoholic beverages while at a casino and used a portable breathalyzer to determine his blood alcohol concentration. After blowing a 0.05 BAC on his personal breathalyzer, the defendant waited an additional one and a half hours to drive home. Based on the typical rate at which alcohol is metabolized in the body, this should have been an adequate amount of time for the defendant to become sober enough to drive. While personal breathalyzers are often less accurate than professional models used by police, they indicate a potentially large discrepancy in the readings involved in this case.

State officials still working with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment say that forging the signatures on the certifications does not ultimately impact the reliability of the devices, but was instead done to expedite the process of using the new machines. According to a story from Denver’s FOX-31, a final ruling on the reliability of the breath testing program in the case being considered by the court is not expected until later this month. It is difficult to predict exactly how the outcome of that decision will impact other DUI cases across the state, but the decision could establish a precedent where judges are compelled to dismiss breathalyzer findings from evidentiary consideration because of questionable reliability. That outcome has the potential to affect hundreds of current DUI cases as well as many that may be eligible for appeal.

Legal Assistance with DUIs

This case perfectly highlights that there are many aspects to a DUI case. An experienced criminal defense attorney like Jay Tiftickjian, who has written books on Colorado DUI defense, can help ensure that your rights as a DUI defendant are protected throughout the legal process that accompanies a DUI charge. If you are facing DUI-related charges, contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation where you can find out more information about the charges against you as well as how those charges might impact you.

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Poor Decisions Play Important Role in Colorado Vehicle Accidents

Recently, we wrote that observing others’ risky behavior can increase the likelihood of engaging in risky behavior of your own. A recent survey from the Colorado Department of Transportation indicates that a variety of poor decisions lead to unsafe roadways across the state. According to a story from Fox-21 out of Colorado Springs, state officials are concerned about the results of a recent 2016 mail survey about driving behaviors addressing seat belt use, speeding, distracted driving, and the use of alcohol, marijuana, and/or prescription drugs while driving.

Survey Results

According to the story, 607 people died on Colorado roadways in 2016. That number reflects a staggering 24% increase from just two years prior. In response to the spike in roadway deaths across the state that officials blamed on distracted driving, a survey was conducted among 845 participants across Colorado. Distracted driving, including things like texting while driving and talking on the phone while driving, accounted for a large percentage of traffic accidents, but other behavior also contributed noticeably.

For drivers responding to questions regarding substance abuse and driving, the following statistics were compiled. 56% of individuals surveyed admitted to consuming alcohol within the last 30 days, representing a 4% decline from the previous year’s survey. Of those individuals admitting to consuming alcohol within the 30 days prior to the survey, just over half of them drank on six or more days within the 30-day period. The survey further indicated that 24% of survey respondents, or more than half of those that admitted to drinking within the 30 days prior to the survey, drove a motor vehicle within two hours of consuming an alcoholic beverage. That number is alarming, but does not distinguish how many of the respondents indicating that they drove within two hours of consuming an alcoholic beverage were too impaired to drive. It is possible that some of those individuals had only one drink, waiting up to two hours to drive.

11% of survey respondents indicated that they consumed marijuana within the 30 days prior to taking the survey. Of those acknowledging the use of marijuana, 7% indicated that they drove a motor vehicle within two hours of using marijuana. A great deal of controversy surrounds how law enforcement officials should measure impairment when driving under the influence of marijuana, but current state law limits the amount of THC in a driver’s system to under five nanograms. Only 4%t of survey participants indicated they sued prescription drugs that could impair one’s ability to drive within 30 days prior to taking the survey, with 1% of respondents saying they drove a motor vehicle within two hours of using such prescription medication. The survey did not inquire about the use of over-the-counter medications, many of which can severely impair a person’s ability to drive.

Legal Assistance with DUI-Related Charges

Driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, and/or over-the-counter medications can significantly affect a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. If you are facing charges of driving under the influence of these substances, the potential consequences can be intimidating. However, working with an experienced criminal defense attorney that has focused their practice on defending clients facing similar charges means you do not have to face such charges alone. Contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation where you can learn more about the charges you are facing, potential consequences for those charges, and what options might be available to you in your defense.

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Lawmakers Address Loophole in Colorado’s Felony DUI Law

While it has been somewhat controversial, with critics maintaining that mandatory incarceration for drunk driving-related offenses does not address the root causes of addiction, lawmakers have pushed ahead in reforming the state’s recently enacted felony DUI law. This law, which went into effect in August of 2015, makes a fourth or subsequent lifetime DUI a class 4 felony offense that is punishable by up to six years in prison. However, sentencing under the law has been inconsistent as a legal loophole allowed many repeat DUI offenders to avoid any jail time. A recent story from KKTV in Colorado Springs indicates that lawmakers have indeed passed a bill to address this loophole that is expected to be signed by the governor soon.

Previous Legislation

Previously, those facing a third DUI conviction received a minimum of 60 days in jail. However, a story on the new legislation from CBS-Denver notes that 10% of individuals receiving a fourth or subsequent received no jail time at all. This particular law uses a Colorado woman recently sentenced under the felony DUI law as an example. A Colorado district attorney expressed dissatisfaction when a woman who had been convicted of her seventh DUI received a work release sentence similar to someone being convicted for a third DUI. Supporters of judicial discretion in sentencing in these types of cases point out that this kind of sentence will allow an offender to contribute to society while serving a jail sentence, and may also enable the offender to seek help with treatment for alcohol addiction.

New Legislation

The sponsor of the legislation stated that “far too many people continue to [drive drunk] that put[s] so many innocent lives at risk.” Under the newly passed legislation, judges will be required to sentence felony DUI offenders to at least 90 days in jail as well as to enhanced community service of up to 120 hours. The new legislation will also require offenders to seek addiction treatment services at their own expense, including mandatory drug and alcohol safety classes. Colorado House Bill 17-1288 has been passed by the legislature and is now awaiting Governor Hickenlooper’s signature.

Legal Assistance with Colorado DUIs

Whether you are facing your first DUI charge or are considered a repeat offender, working with an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend against such serious charges is an important step in facing them. Criminal defense attorney Jay Tiftickjian has actually written the book on Colorado DUI defense, and can use the experience he has gained from working with numerous clients facing similar charges to work with you. As you can see, Colorado DUI sentencing varies widely and it is important that your legal team be thorough in preparing your defense. If you are facing DUI-related charges in Colorado, contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation where you can find out more information about the charges you are facing as well as what options could be available in panning your defense.

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Fatal Crashes Involving Drugs on the Rise

 

We recently posted about a decrease in marijuana DUIs. While that indicates a potential decline in marijuana-related DUIs and as a result, fatal marijuana-related crashes, the post also discussed lingering concerns officials had over what the statistics truly indicated. It turns out that there is good reason to continue worrying about the safety of our roadways, especially when drugs enter the picture. A recent article in The Denver Post indicates that vehicle crash fatalities involving the use of drugs has risen nationally. In fact, the article demonstrates that for the first time, vehicle fatalities involving drug use have surpassed vehicle fatalities involving alcohol.

What the Statistics Show

Basically, the newest data from a joint report from the Governors Highway Safety Association and Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility indicates that those killed in fatal vehicle crashes are more likely to be high on drugs than drunk on alcohol. In fact, the numbers show that 43% of drivers tested in fatal vehicle crashes in 2015 tested positive for having used a legal or illegal drug as compared to 37% testing above the legal limit for alcohol during the same time period. According to the report cited in the article, more than a third of those testing positive for drug use tested positive for having used marijuana with more than 9% having used amphetamines. Amphetamines are a class of often legally prescribed drugs that can be used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”) but also include illegal drugs like crystal meth.

The statistics represent an alarming trend in drug use. The number of drivers testing positive for drugs after dying in a vehicle crash in 2015 was nearly double that of a decade earlier in 2005. This coincides with the increasing concern over a growing opioid epidemic in the United States that saw more than 33,000 people fatally overdose on opioids in 2015, a number almost equal to the 35,095 people killed in traffic accidents during the same time period. While some opponents of recreational marijuana use claim that more liberal laws on recreational marijuana are partly to blame for the increase in fatalities, the report discussed in the article also mentioned statistics from a European study that demonstrated that marijuana only slightly increased the risk of a crash while opioids, amphetamines, and mixing drugs with alcohol greatly increased the risk.

While these statistics are alarming, they do not necessarily indicate that increased legality and/or use of recreational marijuana has led to the increase in drug-related driving fatalities. However, there are also strong indicators that driving under the influence of marijuana poses significant traffic safety risks because many regular recreational users do not believe it impairs their ability to drive. As recreational marijuana use gains ground across the country, law enforcement officials and other experts will continue to try and determine how to address such use when it comes to driving.

Legal Assistance with Drug-Related DUIs

The consequences of conviction for drug-related DUIs are severe, but you do not have to face such charges alone. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney that focuses their practice on working with clients facing similar charges can help you navigate the legal process. If you have received a drug-related driving citation, contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation where you can find out more about the charges you are facing as well as what options might be available to you in planning your defense.

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