If you live in Colorado, you know that smoking marijuana is now legal. However, that doesn’t mean you can do anything you want after you’ve smoked. Just as you can’t drive when you’re drunk, you can’t drive when you’re high. Driving under the influence does not only apply to drinking alcohol. Any time your judgment is impaired, it is considered driving under the influence.
How Much is Too Much?
While the safest bet is not to get behind the wheel after smoking or ingesting marijuana, Colorado specifies that drivers with 5 nanograms of THC in the bloodstream can lead to prosecution. Keep in mind, however, that even if you’re pulled over for impairment, you can be arrested. The concerning thing about this is that every person’s metabolism is different and 5 nanograms is going to feel different for each person.
Can I Carry Paraphernalia?
If you smoke marijuana and then go for a drive, keep in mind you are not able to have marijuana or related items in the car’s passenger area. This goes back to open container laws and has similar consequences. Since you are not allowed to smoke or consume pot while on a public roadway, you similarly can’t have any open containers of the drug or items indicating you are smoking while driving in an accessible area.
Do I Have to Submit to a Test?
If you have been pulled over and the officer thinks you are under the influence of marijuana, he or she may ask for a blood test to help determine if there is active THC in your system. If you refuse to take the blood test, you will be revoking your driving privileges. Refusing the test automatically puts you under the high-risk driver category. This may result in level two drug education and therapy classes, as well as up to two years’ mandatory ignition interlock.
What if There are Children Present?
If you decide to drive while under the influence of marijuana, keep in mind there are extra penalties for those who drive intoxicated with children in the car. In fact, according to Colorado law, you may face charges for child abuse if you drive with children in the vehicle while you’re impaired.
What Can I Do?
One of the most important things to do when you’ve been charged with driving under the influence is to contact a lawyer. A lawyer can work with you to try to lessen the charges or dismiss them altogether if they are invalid. However, it’s crucial you talk to a lawyer as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you may end up with severe penalties.
Make sure you understand the laws about marijuana and driving and how they can affect you. While marijuana is legal in Colorado now, it’s important to make sure you’re not driving while intoxicated. If you are caught driving with a higher-than-legal level of active THC in your system, you can get in serious trouble. The more you know about the process, the better you can make an informed decision for you.