Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Defense Attorneys in Colorado
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a crime in Colorado and can carry stiff penalties depending on the circumstances. Colorado has very strict definitions governing what constitutes DUI.
DWAI, or “driving while ability impaired,” under the Colorado Statues, is defined as:
“…driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, which alcohol alone, or one or more drugs alone, or alcohol combined with one or more drugs, affects the person to the slightest degree so that the person is less able than the person ordinarily would have been, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.”
DUID is defined as:
“… driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, which alcohol alone, or one or more drugs alone, or alcohol combined with one or more drugs affects the person to a degree that the person is substantially incapable, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.”
Societal focus tends to fall onto the influence and impairment of alcohol; however, drugs, both medications and controlled substances, are equally dangerous and heavily penalized. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, you would be well advised to speak to an experienced Colorado Springs DUI attorney with The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. that can help minimize the effect a DUID or DWAI charge can have on your life.
The penalties imposed for driving impaired by drugs, a first time, misdemeanor offense, include:
- 10 days to 12 months in jail
- Mandated attendance to a drug evaluation and treatment program
- Mandatory community service, 48 to 96 hours
- Fines from $600 to $1,000
- 12 points on your license
- License revocation or suspension
You may believe you have the right to drive if you are taking prescribed medication. However, should you cause an accident due to impairment, you will face the same penalties as a driver who was found to be driving a vehicle while impaired by illegal or recreational drugs. Any medication that affects your ability to drive could lead to legal charges being filed against you, particularly if you are accused of causing a vehicle accident because of impairment.
Over-the-counter medications such as Benadryl, Nyquil, or prescription medications for depression such as Xanax, or opioid or other prescription painkillers, or other prescribed medications will not keep you safe from criminal charges if it is alleged that you were driving impaired.
If you are charged with DUI with drugs, your first step is to exercise your right to remain silent, and your right to an attorney – the right attorney. Several defenses may be successful if you are accused of this offense, including:
- Blood testing was improperly administered: Blood testing to identify a drug in your system may have been incorrectly performed, the sample contaminated, switched, or improperly stored, or the lab had sloppy testing procedures.
- A medical condition appeared to be drug intoxication: Some medical conditions can give the appearance of intoxication, such as diabetes, epilepsy, a stroke, reactions to medications, hypoglycemia and many others.
- Field sobriety testing was incorrectly administered: After the initial police stop, field sobriety tests are performed, but must be performed per the regulations, which are often violated.
- Drug testing performed without probable cause: You have legal protections against being accused of a crime without probable cause, which is reasonable grounds for a police stop, such as erratic driving behavior or traffic violation.
- You were the victim of an illegal police stop – no probable cause: The initial police stop which led to the arrest for DUID was illegal, whether due to an illegal roadside checkpoint, or a random stop for no reasonable reason.
- You were not exhibiting impaired driving conduct: You were driving safely, following posted speed limits, and had no reason to be stopped in the first place.
In the Colorado Revised Statute's (CRS) definitions of DUI and DWAI, a "drug" is defined as any of the substances recognized as drugs in the U.S. pharmacopoeia, official U.S. homeopathic pharmacopoeia, national formulary, or other official supplement, which are intended for the cure, diagnosis, mitigation, prevention, or treatment of a disease in humans or animals. Components of any such substances are also considered drugs. A "controlled substance" is defined as a substance, drug, or manufacturing component as identified in the CRS, including marijuana, marijuana concentrate, cocaine, salvia divinorum, and any synthetic cannabinoid.
"Driving under the influence" refers to a substantial inability, mentally and/or physically, to safely operate a vehicle. "Driving while ability impaired" means driving a motor vehicle or vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, that affects the person to the slightest degree so that the person is less able than the person ordinarily would have been, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.
Contact The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. at once if you are accused of a DUID offense – call (719) 475-2555 for a free case consultation.
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