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Know the facts re marijuana and CDOT regulations

You may be one of many people who frequently visit or live in the city at the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains known as Colorado Springs. From beautiful sandstone formations to expansive mountain views, the area attracts thousands of tourists annually, some of whom eventually become permanent residents. If you also happen to among those who flock to this region because you're glad about the recreational marijuana laws the state has enacted, you are definitely not alone in your opinions. 

Colorado's marijuana laws are some of the most lenient in the nation. You should be aware, however, that you can use the drug in a private setting but can't smoke it then get behind the wheel of a car to drive. If prosecutors charge you with DUI and prove that your bloodstream contained at least five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol, the court may hand down a conviction. If you understand your rights and know where to seek support if a problem arises, you may be able to avoid serious, long-lasting problems. 

Understand cannabis laws and facts before driving 

The thing about impairment is that you can't correctly assess your own condition if, in fact, you are impaired. This is why it's so important to make well-informed decisions ahead of time. The following information may help you avoid marijuana-related legal problems regarding the operation of a motor vehicle under the influence of the drug: 

  • A police officer can request you to submit to chemical testing to detect THC in your bloodstream if he or she has arrested you on suspicion of DUI involving marijuana.  
  • If you refuse to comply, you risk severe administrative penalties that may include driver's license suspension or mandatory interlock device installation on your vehicle.  
  • These are automatic administrative penalties you incur because of implied consent laws in Colorado; it matters not whether the court hands down a conviction. When you obtained a driver's license in this state, you agreed to take any chemical test a police officer lawfully requests during a DUI investigation. 
  • The open container laws that apply to alcohol while driving also apply to marijuana. If police say the found marijuana in your car in an open container or package with a broken seal, you may face criminal charges.  
  • Police may make an initial stop against you for many of the same reasons they might pull someone over if they suspect they are intoxicated. A driver veering out of his or her lane or traveling at erratic speeds draws the attention of any police officer in the area. Just because you did not consume alcohol does not mean the officer won't arrest you for DUI if he or she thinks you might be high.  

A DUI conviction can really mess up your personal and professional lives. Free time on the ski slopes or hiking trails in one of Colorado Springs' beautiful parks could turn into time spent in jail. The more you know about your rights before you smoke pot, the better. If a problem does occur, you may be able to mitigate your circumstances if you tap into available support resources. 

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