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Marijuana DUI bill is closer to becoming Colorado law

Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado for some time. But with the more recent vote to legalize the recreational use of the drug, some lawmakers and traffic safety advocates have upped their persistence to get a law on the books that would prevent DUI accidents caused by marijuana use.

Previous bills to set a THC (similar to a BAC) limit on drivers that would make it clear when they are legally too impaired to drive have failed. A modification to the most current bill House Bill 1114 might be the difference between what has led to the failure of prior legislative efforts and the potential success of this one.

Last week, the Colorado House of Representatives approved the bill, sending it to the Senate to approve or reject. The difference in this legislation is that it provides some flexibility for those charged with driving under the influence of marijuana to make individual arguments regarding their tolerance of the drug and how the THC level that got them charged doesn't mean that they were necessarily too high to drive. Basically, there'd be room to argue that some drivers (those who consistently use marijuana, likely for medical purposes) are highly-functional even if their THC limit meets or even exceeds the legal limit.

If passed, the THC limit for Colorado drivers would be five or more nanograms per milliliter of whole blood. A blood test is necessary to collect the evidence, which is a bit more of an invasive procedure than a breath test in drunk driving cases.

What wouldn't change, even if the legislation passes, is that police would need probable cause to take a blood test from a suspect. No probable cause? No investigation. No arrest. No criminal charge. Our Colorado criminal defense lawyers help those charged with DUI. We will post an update when there's a development in this DUI drug law.

Source: Yahoo! News, "Colorado House Passes Marijuana DUI Bill," Susan Graybeal, April 5, 2013

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