Everything You Need to Know About a DUID in Colorado

Is There A Legal Limit Of Impairment For Marijuana?

Yes, there is a legal limit of impairment in Colorado for marijuana. The state has declared that a driver found with five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of blood can be prosecuted for driving under the influence. That being said, police officers reserve the right to arrest you based solely on ‘observed impairments’ (i.e. glassy, red eyes, slow speech, etc.).


What If I’m Medically-Prescribed Marijuana?

Similar to if you were prescribed pain medication by a doctor, if you have taken anything that has impaired your ability to operate a motor vehicle, it is illegal for you to be driving.


Is It Illegal To Have Marijuana/Marijuana Paraphernalia In the Passenger Seat?

According to Colorado’s open container laws, it is illegal to have marijuana in the passenger seat if it is in an open container (i.e. a sandwich bag, a dispensary container with an opened seal, etc.) or if there’s probable cause that the marijuana has been consumed recently. Further, it is entirely illegal to consume marijuana on any public roadway.


How Can Law Enforcement Determine If I’m Impaired By The Consumption Of Marijuana?

Law enforcement in Colorado are trained to detect impairment caused by drugs. Many have received training in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and some are even certified Drug Recognition Experts (DRE), which have considerable pull in a court of law. After the officers have determined that they believe you are driving under the influence of marijuana, they will arrest you and bring you into the station for blood testing for verification.


Can I Refuse To Take A THC Drug Test?

Firstly, Colorado’s ‘expressed consent’ law states that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence, then you expressedly consent to taking a chemical test of your blood or breath for the purpose of determining if you are impaired while driving. Thus, a driver who is pulled over and an officer alleges that they had consumed marijuana recently, it is implied that that driver consents to a chemical test. 

You do reserve the right to refuse a chemical test, but bear in mind that the consequences are often far greater than if you had a ‘dirty test.’ Further, the District Attorney is able to use the test refusal as assumptive evidence in court. Though it is not a full admission of guilt, juries will often view a refusal as your ‘having something to hide.’

Immediately after a chemical test is refused, the DMV categorizes you as a high-risk driver and will revoke your license for up to a year (as opposed to 90 days for a ‘dirty test’). Further, consequences for a chemical test refusal include mandatory ignition interlock, level two alcohol education classes, therapy classes, and fines.


Penalties For Refusing A Chemical Test In Colorado

  First Offense Second Offense Thirds Offense Length of License Suspension 12 months 24 months 36 months Probationary Driver's License? No No No Early Reinstatement? No After 12 months After 12 months


Are There Additional Charges If There Are Children In The Car?

Short answer is, yes, there will be additional charges brought against you if a child is in the car. Depending on the situation, you could be charged with child abuse.


How Can I Fight A DUID-Marijuana Charge?

Remember, the DUID charges merely state that a driver was impaired while driving. If you can prove that you were not impaired, you may have the charges dropped. If you want to read more about this defense, check out our post on the “One Defense You Must Know For A DUID In Colorado.”

Revised: May 16, 2022, 3:25 a.m.
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