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Colorado Springs Criminal Law Blog

Illegal use of legal marijuana: Wait. What?

You may already know that Colorado is one of at least 29 states that has legalized the recreational use of marijuana. This has apparently made many who enjoy an occasional toke quite happy. However, the laws in place do not give total free rein for growing, buying, selling or smoking this drug. In fact, it's important for anyone who hopes to avoid legal trouble to research the specific marijuana laws in this state before using or purchasing cannabis. Not doing so may lead to events that will land one behind bars.

A key factor to remember with regard to marijuana use in Colorado is that while it is indeed legal to smoke marijuana under certain conditions, it remains illegal to drive under its influence. There are several things you can do to avoid legal problems, as well as keep yourself and others in your vicinity safe.

How do breath tests work?

After having a couple of drinks you may feel fine, so you get into your car and head home. Next thing you know, flashing lights and sirens appear behind you. When the officer comes to the window to talk to you, you suddenly become concerned because your breath may smell like alcohol. Then the officer asks you to step out of the vehicle and submit to a breath test.

How often have you heard similar stories from your friends or family members? More than likely, anytime a discussion about drunk driving comes up, these little machines are mentioned. So, how exactly do alcohol breath tests work?

When is search and seizure illegal?

If you are under investigation for drug-related criminal activity, you may find that at some point, law enforcement will move to search your property and seize any evidence that could relate to their case against you. When engaging in a search and seizure, Colorado law enforcement must adhere to certain laws, rules and operating procedures. Regardless of your current circumstances, you still have rights.

The Fourth Amendment grants you certain rights regarding your personal property and the government's right to enter the premises. You would be wise to know your rights and be aware of how you can protect your interests, even while you are facing a challenging legal situation.

When an eyewitness identifies you

As summer approaches, police become concerned. Warmer weather typically means people are away from their homes for extended periods of time or are involved in summer activities. This season tends to bring an uptick in crimes, and law enforcement has already seen more cases of theft and burglary this spring.

Officials are warning residents to take standard precautions, such as locking their vehicles, keeping valuable items from sight and keeping their garage doors closed. However, police are also asking citizens to participate in the apprehension of people who commit crimes in their neighborhoods and recreational venues. In fact, it may have been the report of a good citizen that led to your arrest for burglary.

Can I face criminal charges related to recreational marijuana?

Recreational marijuana use is legal in Colorado, but there are many restrictions still in place. This means that you could still face drug-related criminal charges, even for the personal or recreational use of a small amount of marijuana. Drugged driving and the unlawful use of this drug is still a serious crime, and charges could lead to consequences that may have a serious impact on your life.

If you are facing charges related to the illegal use of marijuana, there is much at stake. You would be wise to secure legal guidance regarding your potential defense options in order to protect your future interests. It is always worthwhile to protect your rights and explore the ways that you may effectively confront any legal charges against you.

Changes in Colorado’s law may affect your marijuana supply

Like many in Colorado, you may have been excited when the state voted to legalize the use of marijuana, both medicinally and recreationally. If you have registered to use medicinal marijuana or you care for people who do, you likely welcomed the state's permission to grow your own plants. It saves you money and hassle.

Apparently, many in Colorado misunderstood the law that permitted the growing of as many as 99 marijuana plants in a residence. While the law specifically indicated that the 99-plant limit was exclusively for medical marijuana patients and caregivers, some took advantage of the permit to build commercial-grade growing operations in their homes.

3 strikes, you’re out: Felony DUI in Colorado

Each year, Colorado law enforcement arrests thousands of motorists for driving under the influence of alcohol. Until recently, you could be arrested innumerable times, and each arrest would be a misdemeanor. However, frustrated by the number of repeat offenders and the rising number of DUI accidents, lawmakers passed a bill in 2015 establishing a driver's fourth offense as a felony.

Now facing a felony DUI charge, you risk much harsher penalties and more serious overall consequences, although the new law stopped short of imposing mandatory sentences. Because of this, some are concerned about the lack of consistency in sentencing drivers faced with felony DUI charges. Judges send some offenders to jail for months for a third misdemeanor while someone convicted of a felony DUI may receive a much shorter sentence. You may wonder how this will affect your case.

Colorado Supreme Court tightens witness qualifications

Your trial is coming up, and it is possible that you aren't sure what to expect. The court will call witnesses to give their accounts of the events in question, and experts may take the stand to show how the evidence allegedly points to you. Law enforcement involved in the investigation will probably add their expert testimony. However, is law enforcement testimony really expert?

The high cost of drinking and driving in Colorado

You probably know that the best way to avoid arrest for drunk driving is to avoid getting behind the wheel after you have been drinking. However, things happen. It may not have been your plan to drive, or perhaps you didn't intend to have as much to drink. Now you are facing charges that threaten to derail life as you know it.

If your blood alcohol concentration was .08 or higher, police probably charged you with DUI. However, even if your BAC was below .08, you may face consequences for "diving while ability impaired." Your BAC for that charge may go as low as .05.

To toke or not toke in Colorado: That is the question

If you're one of many young adults, over age 21, who use marijuana as a recreational pastime, the state of Colorado welcomes you to do so while you're here. Recreational use of the drug has been legal in this state for several years. Unlike Jackson Browne's famous lyric of being a "midnight toker" suggests, you no longer have to slink around after dark when you fire up a joint. Whether this is a good or bad thing remains hotly debated throughout the nation.

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