Motorists charged with Driving under the Influence of Drugs (DUI-D) in Colorado face harsh penalties, including substantial fines and court costs, driver’s license consequences, many hours of community service, drug education classes, and even jail time. Colorado’s top DUI defense attorney Jay Tiftickjian can help you navigate the complexities of the justice system and develop any arguments that may exist in your case.
Colorado DUI Law for Drugs
Colorado DUI law does not actually distinguish a DUI involving alcohol from a DUI involving drugs. In fact Colorado DUI law states that it is a crime “to drive a motor vehicle or vehicle under the influence of alcohol, or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs…”
The definition of DUI in Colorado and the corresponding penalties can be found in Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-1301. One or more drugs means any drug as defined in C.R.S. 27-80-206 (13), any controlled substance, as defined in C.R.S. 18-18-102 (5), and any inhaled glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor or vapors, as defined in C.R.S. 18-18-412.
This means you can be charged and convicted of being under the influence of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines in addition to illegal narcotics or street drugs. Bottom line is if you put it in your body and it causes you to become impaired or substantially incapable of operating a motor vehicle safely, you can and likely will be charged with a Colorado DUI or DWAI.
Colorado does not have any per se limits in effect for drugs, however, Colorado also has an inference of impairment with a blood test of 5 nano grams or more for THC which is the active ingredient in marijuana.
Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE)
During a routine traffic stop, a patrol officer might suspect that a driver is under the influence of drugs. If the officer who contacts the suspect is not a drug recognition evaluator (DRE), he will likely call upon a DRE—a police officer trained to recognize signs of drug impairment—to be dispatched to the police station to perform a Drug Recognition Evaluation.
The Drug Recognition Evaluation is voluntary, thus the suspect is not required to complete the evaluation. It is simply a tool used by the police, like field sobriety tests, to provide more evidence for the prosecution at trial in a DUI-D case. Based on the officer’s observations during this evaluation, he draws conclusions about a driver’s drug impairment and will try to testify about these conclusions in court.
DUI-D cases in Colorado also often involve a blood test to screen and confirm traces of drug use in your system. A typical drug screen in a DUI case will test for barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cannabinoids (THC), cocaine, ethanol, methadone, methamphetamine, opiates, phencyclidine (PCP), and propoxyphene (Darvon). The prosecutor in a DUI case will allege that the drug impaired you, based on the officer’s statements and testimony regarding any bad driving, observed physical indicia of impairment and performance on standardized field sobriety tests and/or a drug recognition evaluation.
In 2013, legislators adopted a limit of 5 nanogram delta-9 THC. The problem is that Marijuana (THC) has metabolites that can be found in your blood far after its impairing effect wears off. In addition, measurable peak THC levels in the blood do not necessarily correlate with impairment. Click here for more information about Colorado’s Marijuana DUI-D Laws.
Experienced Colorado DUI Attorney – Jay Tiftickjian
An experienced DUI defense attorney can search for flaws in the DRE’s administration of the impairment evaluation. In addition, a DUI defense attorney can evaluate whether, at the time you were stopped and arrested, your constitutional and statutory rights were upheld. Even a small mistake in the process of blood testing, from the initial blood draw to the testing of the blood sample at the state lab, could affect the credibility of the blood test results. An experienced DUI defense attorney will know how to use these errors to develop defenses to a blood test in a Colorado DUI case.
If you have been charged with DUI based on an accusation that you drove with drugs in your system, then contact the experienced DUI defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. The firm is led by top-rated DUI defense attorney Jay Tiftickjian, and the team will work hard to craft a defense to your pending DUI-D charges. You can call Tiftickjian Law Firm P.C. or contact us through this website for more information and a consultation with an experienced Denver DUI attorney.