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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.

Facts about getting behind the wheel, high on weed

Similar to alcohol, recreational use of marijuana requires responsible choices and behavior, such as asking another person to drive you to your destination if you recently smoked a joint. Keeping the following in mind may help you stay safe and out of jail:

  • Driving drugged is dangerous: Your ability to react to situations while driving, as well as to focus and perform various vehicle maneuvers may be greatly impaired if you drive while you're high.
  • Driving drugged increases chances of a collision: Many people think they have heightened cognitive abilities after smoking weed, but the reality is smoking while driving decreases hand-eye coordination, distance perception and other cognitive functions. This places you and those around you at great risk for accidents.
  • Driving drugged may result in DUI if you get pulled over: If an officer stops you because your car allegedly swerved, your tail light wasn't working or some other possible infraction, your situation may quickly escalate into serious legal problems if the officer detects a scent of marijuana coming from you or your vehicle. This may lead to criminal charges against you.
  • Drugged driving convictions may carry severe penalties: If the court hands down a conviction against you, you may be penalized with fines over $10,000, as well as have to spend extensive time in jail.

The best means for avoiding such problems is to completely abstain from smoking marijuana if you plan to drive. However, if you are arrested and charged with DUI, it's also crucial to know where to turn for support in order to begin building as strong a defense as possible.

One valuable resource is a criminal defense attorney, with whom you may request a meeting as soon as an officer detains you. As a personal advocate, an attorney can act on your behalf in all interactions with law enforcement officers and court officials.

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