Colorado Department of Transportation Releases Statistics on Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

The Colorado Department of Transportation has released statistics on driving under the influence of marijuana for 2015. Colorado law enforcement and the Colorado Department of Transportation often to refer to driving under the influence of drugs as “drugged driving.” According to the most recent information posted about drugged driving fatalities across the state, 787 drivers were involved in traffic accidents related to driving under the influence of some type of drug in 2015. Unfortunately, 546 people involved in these crashes died. Of the 787 drivers involved in drugged driving crashes, 361 drivers were tested for the presence of marijuana or other drugs that may have impaired their ability to drive. Of those drivers tested, 147 tested positive for the presence of any drug in their system. Of those testing positive for the presence of any drugs, 59 tested positive for marijuana only with 28 testing positive for a combination of marijuana and another drug. However, the number of deceased people that tested positive for the presence of any drug was higher at 199, of which 69 deceased people tested positive for the presence of marijuana only. The statistics also include pedestrians and bicyclists that may have been involved in traffic accidents, and could have possibly faced charges for their roles in the accidents, too.

Traffic Accidents and Drug Testing

Generally, drug testing is necessary when law enforcement officers have reasonable suspicion that a person has been operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs. Whether you know it or not, you have already agreed to submit to such testing in most situations through Colorado’s “implied consent” driving laws. These laws, which can be found in most if not all states, take effect when you receive a driver’s license. In other words, part of the agreement between you and the state when the state issues a driver’s license is that you will submit to chemical testing in situations in which law enforcement officials believe you have been operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Refusing to submit to such testing may result in the suspension of driving privileges for a period of time, even if you were not impaired or under the influence at the time you were suspected of being so.

In such cases, law enforcement officials will often call in law enforcement officials that have completed training to become a Colorado Drug Recognition Expert (“DRE”). These experts are trained to recognize the signs of impairment caused by drugs other than or in addition to alcohol. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the state’s drug recognition program began in 1987, and there are 575 law enforcement officers from across the state that have completed the training program since then. The state currently has 212 active DREs placed among 62 law enforcement agencies throughout the state, with Colorado State Patrol having the most DREs at this time.

Drugged Driving Charges

A drugged driving conviction can come with serious consequences in Colorado. However, even if you have made the mistake of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or other drug-related offenses, there are still procedures that law enforcement officials must follow to properly secure a conviction. Additionally, you still have rights that must be protected. If you are facing charges related to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation. A consultation can help you better understand the charges you are facing as well as their potential consequences, and what options are available to you in your circumstances.

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