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DUI: Many drivers are being acquited of impariment by marijuana

Marijuana has been legal in Colorado for years, but authorities continue to struggle with regulation. In particular, authorities have a difficult time with regulating drivers suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana. According to the District Attorney for Jefferson County, it has proven difficult to convict offenders of a DUI involving marijuana.

When a driver is suspected of driving drunk, authorities are typically able to perform a Breathalyzer test immediately. If a test registers that a driver was over the legal limit, prosecutors often rely on that evidence to argue that a motor vehicle operator was intoxicated at the time of arrest. No adequate test exists to provide solid evidence for drivers who could be impaired from marijuana. 

Currently, authorities perform field sobriety tests and make observations of the driver. Although police may observe and record odor of marijuana, red and/or watery eyes and the appearance of impairment, it is often not enough for a conviction of a DUI. Because current state laws and technology are not adequate enough to provide evidence that a driver was intoxicated by pot at the very moment of an arrest, many charged individuals are acquitted of their crimes. Even where a conviction appears more likely, attorneys have been able to negotiate plea agreements for lesser charges and more lenient sentencing. 

While driving under the influence of marijuana is not encouraged, the right approach to an arrest could result in lesser charges or an outright acquittal. In any circumstances, a DUI conviction can have serious consequences. For that reason, it makes sense to retain a Colorado criminal defense attorney at the earliest opportunity following an arrest. 

Source:, "Hard To Prosecute High Driving Cases In Legal Marijuana States", Mike Adams, May 23, 2018

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