Two Colorado legislators are currently spearheading the effort to develop drugged driving charges as distinct and separate from DUI charges.
Currently in Colorado, motorists who are accused of driving while impaired by drugs are generally charged with DUI, which are also the charges filed when motorists are alleged to have been impaired with alcohol. This has made it difficult for law enforcement officials, safety advocates and others to really ascertain whether drugged driving is a significant problem in Colorado. And finding this out has been a prominent concern since the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado.
“The motivation is really to be able to have a real discussion with real numbers and real data… If [drugged driving] is a problem, we definitely need to address it, but right now we can’t even say if it’s a problem,” Representative Jon Keyser, R-Morrison, has explained in relation to this effort.
With the help of Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, Keyser hopes to have a bill ready to present to legislators for the 2016 session.
Drugged Driving Bill Not Supported by All
While there seems to be a lot reasons to develop drugged driving charges in Colorado, not everyone is behind this effort. In particular, Tom Raynes, the executive director of the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council, has been one of the more prominent people to raise concerns about this proposed bill.
The reason for concern, Raynes has noted, is that it could end up generating a logistical nightmare when it comes to determining the nature of impairment in the field, as well as when it is time to litigate these criminal cases.
Specifically, Raynes has explained:
[The bill is] something that I think needs to be done cautiously… You don’t want to build in an inherent defense if an officer on the street has to make a decision at that very moment – is this person impaired by alcohol or marijuana?
Raynes went on to explain that cases could become difficult to prosecute when people may have been impaired by both alcohol and drugs – or when the wrong charges are filed (i.e., DUI charges are filed for drug impairment or vice versa).
It remains to be seen if Keyser and Singer will be able to get their bill together for the upcoming year’s legislative session. If they do and this bill is presented to Colorado lawmakers, however, we will report its reception and progress here in a future blog.
Until then, post your opinions about this bill on our Facebook & Google+ pages.
Contact an Adams County & Boulder DUI Attorney at Peter Loyd Weber & Associates
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