DUID Lawyer in Denver, Colorado

Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) is a serious offense. With the legalization of marijuana and the rise in prescription drug use, DUID cases are becoming more common. If you have been charged with DUID, you need to understand the laws, potential penalties, and your rights. 

Unlike alcohol-related DUIs, where blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels provide clear evidence, DUID cases often rely on law enforcement observations, field sobriety tests, and blood or urine tests.  

Colorado has a "per se" limit for THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, set at five nanograms per milliliter of blood. However, even drivers below this limit can be charged if they exhibit signs of impairment. 

At The Law Office of Christopher H. Cessna, Attorney Chris Cessna offers one-on-one counsel and assistance to every client. With over 20 years of experience, trust him handle your case with the focus and care it deserves.

Common Drugs Involved in DUID Cases 

  • Marijuana: Even though marijuana is legal in Colorado, driving while impaired by marijuana can lead to serious charges. 

  • Prescription medications: Drugs like painkillers, antidepressants, and sleep aids can impair driving. Always check warnings on medication labels. 

  • Illegal drugs: Substances such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin can result in significant DUID charges. 

  • Over-the-counter medications: Certain over-the-counter drugs, such as cold medicines and antihistamines, have side effects that can impair driving, including drowsiness, fatigue, and slowed reaction times. 

  • Benzodiazepines: Commonly prescribed medications for anxiety or insomnia, like Xanax or Valium, can greatly affect coordination and judgment, making them significant contributors to DUID. 

  • Opioids: Due to their powerful pain-relieving effects, prescription opioids like oxycodone, morphine, and fentanyl can impair cognitive functions and motor skills, leading to dangerous driving conditions. 

  • Hallucinogens: Drugs such as LSD, psilocybin, and peyote can distort perception and significantly impair one's ability to operate a vehicle safely. 

  • Synthetic drugs: Substances like synthetic cannabinoids (e.g., Spice or K2) and synthetic stimulants (e.g., bath salts) can have unpredictable and significant impairment effects, which pose a high risk for drivers on the road.

Charged With a DUID?

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DUID Laws in Colorado

Colorado takes DUID offenses very seriously. The state has strict laws and penalties for those found driving under the influence of drugs. Colorado's “per se” laws for certain drugs state that any amount of these drugs in your system can result in a DUID charge.

For marijuana, the legal limit is five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. However, you can be charged even if you’re below this limit if law enforcement believes you to be impaired. Some of the penalties you could potentially face in Colorado include:

  • Fines: These can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. 

  • Jail time: Jail time can vary depending on the severity and whether it is a repeat offense,  

  • Community service: Courts often require community service as part of the sentencing. 

  • License suspension: Your license may be suspended for a certain period. 

  • Drug education classes: Attendance in drug education and rehabilitation programs may be mandatory. 

Additional Considerations for DUID Charges

  • Field sobriety and chemical tests: In Colorado, law enforcement officers use standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) to assess impairment. When combined with chemical tests like blood or urine analysis, these tests can serve as evidence in DUID cases.  

  • Zero tolerance for underage drivers: Colorado has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21 who are found to be driving under the influence of any amount of alcohol or drugs. Underage drivers face strict penalties, which can include fines, mandatory community service, and license suspension. 

  • Aggravating factors: Certain circumstances can lead to harsher penalties for DUID offenses. These include having a child in the vehicle at the time of the offense, being involved in a traffic accident, causing harm to another driver or pedestrian, or having prior DUI or DUID convictions. 

  • Implied consent laws: Colorado's implied consent law states that by driving a vehicle in the state, you automatically consent to chemical tests if law enforcement suspects you of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Refusing to take these tests can lead to immediate penalties, such as long-term license suspension and increased fines. 

  • Medical marijuana users: While medical marijuana is legal in Colorado, it does not exempt cardholders from DUID laws. Medical marijuana users are subject to the same 5-nanogram THC limit and impairment standards as recreational users. 

  • Drug recognition experts (DREs): In some cases, officers trained as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) may be called to the scene to assess suspected drug impairment. These experts conduct a series of tests and observations to determine the presence and influence of drugs on a driver, which can be used in court. 

  • Sobriety checkpoints: Colorado allows law enforcement to set up sobriety checkpoints, where officers can evaluate drivers for impairment. During these checkpoints, officers may look for signs of drug use and administer initial tests to determine sobriety. 

  • Harsher penalties for habitual offenders: Drivers who have multiple DUID convictions may face harsher penalties, including longer jail sentences, extended license suspensions, and higher fines. Habitual offenders may also be required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles. 

  • Diversion programs: First-time offenders or those with low-level DUID charges may be eligible for diversion programs. These programs typically involve drug education, community service, and regular drug testing. Successful completion of a diversion program can result in reduced charges or penalties. 

How to Handle DUID Charges 

This is what you should do to protect your rights and strengthen your defense. 

1. Stay calm and compliant: If you're pulled over on suspicion of DUID, remain calm and comply with the officer's instructions. Arguing or resisting can worsen the situation. 

2. Know your rights: You have the right to remain silent and request an attorney. Politely refuse to answer any questions until your attorney is present. 

3. Contact an experienced DUID attorney: Early intervention by a skilled attorney can significantly affect the outcome of your case. 

4. Document everything: Write down everything you remember about the arrest, including your actions, the officer's behavior, and any tests performed. This information could be crucial for your defense. 

5. Follow legal advice: Your attorney has the experience and knowledge to work through legal complications and build a strong defense. Trust their advice. 

DUI & Criminal Defense Attorney in Denver, Colorado

If you're fighting DUID charges in Denver, Colorado, The Law Office of Christopher H. Cessna is your best choice. Attorney Chris Cessna is the only defense attorney in Colorado who is an NHTSA-certified instructor in administering standardized field sobriety tests. Call The Law Office of Christopher H. Cessna for a consultation and take the first step toward protecting your future.