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Drugged driving charges are possible even with legal marijuana

As the road conditions worsen due to snow and ice, Colorado drivers must ensure they are fully able to drive safely before they start their engines. One problem that some drivers face is drugged driving. This is a safety risk for them and all others on the road. It is also a criminal action.

There are several points that you should know about drugged driving, especially due to marijuana. These may help you avoid legal troubles. Remember, even people who use marijuana legally can still face criminal charges for driving while impaired.

Colorado law

One of the more common drugs that people are on when they drive is marijuana. Colorado law has a set standard for this drug, which is based on the amount of active tetrahydrocannabinol in your system. Drivers who have more than five nanograms can be charged with driving under the influence.

Signs of marijuana impairment

Because there aren't any roadside devices that accurately determine how much THC is in a person's system, officers are trained to watch for signs of impaired driving. These observations can be used in the court case. Some of the common effects of marijuana include:

  • Inability to remain in their own lane
  • Slow reaction times
  • Unnecessary risk taking
  • Poor decision-making
  • Decreased cognitive performance

Even though driving ability is severely impaired by marijuana, more than 55 percent of drivers who responded to a survey done by the Colorado Department of Transportation thought it was safe to drive after using this drug.

Cost of a DUI

In Colorado, more than 17 percent of DUI arrests handled by the Colorado State Patrol were due to marijuana in 2016. Facing a DUI for any substance, including marijuana, is costly. These cases can cost defendants more than $13,500. You also face the possibility of losing your driver's license. Time in jail and other penalties are also possible.

If you do get pulled over and are charged with drugged driving, remember your rights. These include remaining silent and having your attorney present for questioning. Anything that you tell the officers might be recorded or placed in the record of the arrest, so choose your words and statements carefully if you do opt to say anything to the officers. As soon as you can after the arrest, you must get to work on your defense.

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