CSP Pilot Program: Test Driving Marijuana DUI Devices

Drugged driving was responsible for 103 fatalities in 2013 according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Of the 288 drivers tested for drug and alcohol evaluations, 36 had cannabis or marijuana in their system. Many marijuana users argue that cannabis use does not impair their driving because of how the body metabolizes THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

Libation enthusiasts used the argument in the early days of drunk driving laws and the argument remains just as unpersuasive now as it did then. The best stance is to avoid driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Drugged Driving (Marijuana) Law

Even though medicinal and recreational marijuana drug use is legal in Colorado, Colorado criminalizes drugged driving (marijuana) and establishes an impairment level of five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of whole blood to support a drugged driving (marijuana) charge. Furthermore, Colorado’s open container laws, prohibit driving with marijuana paraphernalia such as pipes or marijuana in a broken seal in the passenger area of the vehicle. Remember, marijuana is illegal to consume on any public roadway in Colorado. If there are children in the vehicle, the drugged driver may also face child abuse charges.

CSP Pilot Program: The Potalyzer

In January 2016, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) rolled out a three-year pilot program testing marijuana DUI devices or a potalyzer. The oral fluid tester or device is able to measure the degree or absence of marijuana in the suspected drugged drivers blood system.

Law enforcement officials are able to test a suspected drugged drivers salvia by rubbing a cotton swab in his or her mouth and placing it on the device for testing. Within, minutes, the oral fluid tester is able to detect the presence or absence of marijuana in the suspected drugged driver’s bloodstream.

If the test itself sounds familiar, that is because it mimics the breathalyzer test often administered during drunk driving investigations and arrests. Five models are being tested by 125 troopers and suspected drugged drivers must consent to the administration of the test.

Refusing a chemical test, like a blood test, subjects the drugged driver to suspension of driving privileges and may include the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for two years and attendance in alcohol and drug education and treatment programs.

The only current drawback is that it is only able to test marijuana smokers. The law enforcement official may procure a warrant to demand the collection of a blood sample following a drugged driving arrest.

Contact An Aurora, Colorado DUI Defense Law Firm

If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI (Marijuana) in Aurora or the surrounding areas of Arvada, Brighton, Commerce City, Federal Heights, Northglenn, Strasburg, Thornton, Westminster, and Bennet you will need the help of an experienced Aurora, Colorado DUI Defense Lawyer. Contact the Law Office of John Anderson where we will provide information, analyze your, case and recommend a prompt solution to your DUI (Marijuana) matter, including trial if necessary.