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Denver Criminal Lawyer Reveals Challenges of Marijuana DUI Charges


August 23, 2017

Everyone knows that drinking and driving is illegal, but you may not be aware that it’s also illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana. Colorado law states that anyone with over five nanograms of THC in their system can be charged with DUI. But, police officers have the right to arrest anyone they suspect is impaired, regardless of their THC level. If you are accused of driving under the influence of marijuana, it’s important to understand that there are many ways that a Denver criminal defense lawyer can defend you against these charges. Here are some of the aspects of the case that may be challenged:

Observation Errors

As previously mentioned, police officers have the right to arrest anyone they believe to be impaired based on their observations. Officers are trained to look for signs of impairment, but that doesn’t mean they always get it right. A police officer could think you are under the influence of marijuana just because you are tired or acting nervous. If you are arrested based on a police officer’s observations, an attorney may be able to prove that the police officer was incorrect in assuming that you were under the influence of marijuana.

Blood Testing

Police officers can determine how much alcohol is in your system using a roadside breathalyzer test, but there is no such approved device that can be used to test for marijuana. The only way to detect marijuana in someone’s system is to perform a blood or urine test. Blood and urine tests detect THC, which is a cannabinoid found in marijuana. Unfortunately, THC can remain in your system for days or weeks, especially if you are a regular cannabis user. Therefore, the blood or urine test results may show that you have THC in your system even if you have not smoked marijuana recently. If the test shows that you are above the legal limit of five nanograms of THC, an attorney may be able to disprove these results based on the unreliability of the testing method.  Also, urine tests can't show current levels of THC so most police officers won't even offer that as an option.  They will insist that you take a blood test.

Legal Limit

The legal limit for alcohol, which is 0.08%, was established after numerous studies showed that it would be dangerous to drive at or above this level of intoxication. However, the legal limit of five nanograms of THC is not backed by scientific evidence. In fact, a study commissioned by AAA found that it would be impossible to set an impairment limit for THC because marijuana affects everyone differently. Regular users may not be impaired with five nanograms of THC in their system, while first-time users may be significantly impaired. If you are charged with DUI because you had more than five nanograms of THC in your system, an attorney may still be able to argue that you were not impaired at the time. Read driving high: legal limits have no scientific basis.

If you are arrested and charged with DUI, seek legal representation from the Law Office of John Buckley right away. Our attorneys work tirelessly to defend your rights and ensure you receive the best legal representation possible. Contact John L. Buckley as soon as possible to schedule a legal consultation regarding your case.