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DUI: Lab creates Breathalyzer to detect THC

Ever since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, there has been much debate about how to detect if drivers are operating their motor vehicles under the influence. It has been difficult for authorities to make a consistent case for a driver charged with a DUI when it involves marijuana, because arrests are sometimes based on the subjective opinion of an officer and a controversial blood test. Cannabis users in Colorado may be interested to hear about a lab's new Breathalyzer to detect THC on the breath.

For years, a Breathalyzer to detect possible impairment from alcohol and blood tests has been the standard to press charges against a suspected drunk driver. Currently, there is no standard to detect intoxication of marijuana. Researchers and authorities believe it is important to establish a standard due to a 2017 survey conducted by the Colorado Department of Transportation. The study reported that 70 percent of cannabis users claimed to have driven high at least once, and another 27 percent claim to drive high every day.

A research lab has released information on a new Breathalyzer to detect THC, which is the impairing agent in cannabis. While it has not been determined what level of THC in a person will result in impairment, the lab claims that their Breathalyzer will be a good indication. It states that THC can be detected in the breath for 1-3 hours after smoking marijuana when THC should be at its peak level in a person's system. If THC is detected, the Breathalyzer will flash "warning," and "pass" if it is not detected.

The legalities of a DUI related to marijuana use remains complicated until a standard system for impairment detection is determined. Individuals who are charged with a DUI in Colorado will likely find the assistance of an attorney helpful. As laws and standards change, attorneys will be informed and educated on how to defend a client.

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