Marijuana is starting to lose its stigma as a dangerous drug, especially in states like Colorado that have legalized possession and use of small amounts of the drug. However, it is still possible to become high from marijuana, which could make it unsafe for a user to drive. For this reason, officers in the state may still place a motorist under arrest for driving under the influence of marijuana.
The recreational use of marijuana has been legal in Colorado for several years now, and many people may believe that smoking the occasional joint isn't a cause for concern. However, marijuana can have an intoxicating effect on a person, impairing their ability to think and react quickly. This could affect their ability to drive and could even lead to criminal charges.
Over the past holiday season, motorists in Colorado may have noticed an increased police presence on the roads. Every year, the Colorado Department of Transportation undertakes what it calls "The Heat Is On" initiative. Throughout the year, 14 separate high-visibility drunk driving enforcement periods are established, for example, there is one on New Year's Eve. The purpose of the initiative is to stop motorists from driving under the influence.
Recreational marijuana use is legal in in our state, but too much can still impair one's senses. However, is drugged driving as serious as drunk driving? One study by the U.S. Department of Transportation suggests perhaps not. The results of this study determined that drunk motorists were more apt to speed, weave into other lanes of traffic and in general engage in riskier behavior while behind the wheel compared to motorists who had used marijuana. Per the study, generally motorists operating a vehicle after using marijuana did not speed, stayed within their own lane of traffic and kept a greater distance between their vehicle and other motorists.
Now that it's November, people in Colorado are looking forward to Thanksgiving and all the winter festivities that follow it. It is a popular time of year for parties, and oftentimes alcohol is served at these occasions. However, whether you are watching football with a beer on Thanksgiving Day, or sipping champagne to ring in the New Year, it is important to keep in mind that the police will be on high alert this time of year for those who they believe are drunk driving.
Marijuana may be legal for recreational purposes in Colorado, but just like alcohol, it could affect a person's ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Therefore, police in Colorado will be on the lookout for drugged drivers, just as they are for drunk drivers. This means they could arrest a person for driving under the influence not only of alcohol, but also of drugs.
Most people in Colorado are aware that if a person has a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08 percent, he or she could be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). However, this is not the only drunk driving charge recognized under Colorado law. Motorists could also be charged with driving while ability impaired (DWAI). It is important to understand the differences between these charges and when they will be applicable.
Seeing red and blue lights flashing in your rear-view mirror is a sight no motorist wants to see. Especially on weekends and holidays, such as this past Labor Day weekend, police will be on the lookout for those they believe are driving under the influence, and motorists may be pulled over or even be stopped at a DUI checkpoint during these times. If a motorist is stopped by police, they may wonder what their rights are, particularly when it comes to drunk driving.