Recently we discussed how Colorado law enforcement is ramping up enforcement of DUIs in Colorado for alcohol under the Heat is on Campaign. Well, in March of 2014, the Colorado Department of Transportation is starting a new campaign aimed at stoned drivers called “Drive High, Get a DUI.” CDOT is allocating $430,000 on a media blitz aimed both at Coloradans that are prescribed medical marijuana and out-of-state tourists hoping to enjoy Colorado’s new recreational marijuana system.
Law enforcement agencies have not released data to show how many DUI arrests have occurred since the recreational marijuana system went into effect at the beginning of this year, but local reports imply that the number has increased since this time last year. This is bad news for anyone that uses marijuana either for medical reasons or recreationally. Under the new blood limits, a person can be convicted of a DUI for marijuana if they test higher than 5 ng/ml of THC. The blood limits have been criticized as widely inaccurate wherein a chronic smoker may have over 5 ng/ml of THC in their blood even if they have not smoked in 48 hours while a casual smoker may have under 5 ng/ml of THC even if they recently smoked.
The campaign is split into two parts: the media campaign and additional enforcement. The media campaign is based on television and radio ads describing the large penalties that a DUI conviction could have, including jail time and $1000 fines. In addition, the campaign made three YouTube videos aimed towards young adults that let people know that getting high is now legal, but driving is not (Video #1,Video #2, Video #3).
Regarding enforcement, police departments across Colorado seem to be using the campaign as a cash grab to receive more than the $3 million they are currently receiving from recreational marijuana taxes. Police departments are increasing the amount of officers receiving drug recognition expert (DRE) training. A DRE is a police officer that is trained in spotting when a person is under the influence of drugs, and if they are, what specific drug they recently used. Currently, there are only 200 DREs in Colorado, however that number is increasing by 10% in March alone. Non-DRE police officers are also receiving additional training on how to spot high drivers based on their driving patterns. High drivers are said to drive at erratic speeds, sometimes well below the speed limit.
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI for marijuana, you need to have an experienced attorney representing your interest. There is not a Breathalyzer machine that quickly tests for marijuana nor a set of road side maneuvers designed to test whether a person is high. That means any case against you will be based largely on a police officer’s statements. Police officers are trained to write their reports in a way that makes you look as guilty as possible. Make sure you have an attorney to say what really happened, not what is in the police report. The attorneys at Peter Loyd Weber & Associates know the intricacies involved in defending marijuana DUI cases, call us at (720)863-7755 today for a free consultation.