Although visiting a new state can be quite exciting, there is one thing you always need to do beforehand: Check the state’s laws and regulations. Let’s be honest, it’s a safe bet that there are some that would be different from yours, and the last thing you want to do is get into unnecessary trouble, especially when “I didn’t know!” won’t fly. One thing to start with is learning about the DUI laws in specific, because those vary from one place to another, all over the country, and you can easily end up in legal trouble if you don’t know what they are. For instance, Colorado is known to have strict laws when it comes to possession of marijuana and driving under its influence.
Marijuana laws and driving under the influence
Driving around in your car can be the most relaxing thing ever, but it’s also quite the responsibility. If you happen to be driving when you’re not in full control of your faculties, you’d not only be jeopardizing your life, but also the lives of others. A car is a dangerous tool in irresponsible hands, and this is why you should never drive under the influence. This is even more so the case in the state of Colorado because their laws on marijuana are a bit tight, despite it being legal there.
For instance, you have to be 21 years or older in order to use recreational marijuana in Colorado, or with a medical card if want to get some between the ages of 18 and 21. It’s also illegal to give marijuana to anyone under the age of 21. You can’t buy it from anywhere; it has to be a store that is licensed as a marijuana dispensary.
As for quantity, for both residents and visitors, you cannot purchase more than 1 ounce of marijuana at a time –– medical marijuana users can buy 2 ounces at a time. More importantly, you cannot smoke marijuana in open spaces in Colorado, like buses, trains, parks, restaurants, theaters, office buildings, and so on.
You can’t also fly from Colorado with marijuana. For example, Denver airport has stringent laws when it comes to the transfer of marijuana from the state, and you can’t even walk into the airport with some or put it on display for any reason whatsoever. Other airports might be less strict, but it’s a risk, in any case, to go into one with some on you because you don’t really know how that will end.
Criminal charges for DUI
While it is legal to carry marijuana in your car in the state of Colorado, it has to be in a sealed container and you can’t leave state boundaries with it. It’s also illegal to consume it in your car, and if you drive with 5 nanograms of THC –– the active component of marijuana –– or more, you’ll be subject to DUI charges. According to M. Trent Trani & Associates, you need serious legal representation if you’re arrested with charges of DUI in Colorado. The penalties should you be indicted can vary, but they definitely need some serious attention or else you might find yourself in jail.
First of all, fines vary between $600 and $1500, and you may spend jail time between 5 days and 1 year according to the severity of the crime. You could also have your driver’s license suspended for 9 months, and if the offense is repeated, it could get suspended for 1 year. If it even happens a third time, you’ll have your license taken for 2 years, in addition to having an ignition interlock device for a year or two after you have it back. There’s also the option of spending anything between 48 and 120 hours of community service according to which offense you committed –– which is a lot of time that you won’t definitely enjoy.
In any case, you shouldn’t be using marijuana and driving for any reason. Whether it’s legal or not, it’s proven that marijuana can have a serious effect on your brain and it slows your senses down, which is the last thing you need out there on the road. Anything can happen while you’re driving, and that is why you should be in full control of your senses so you could react quickly if something unexpected happens like someone crossing the street when it’s dark or a car crossing a red light, and so on. If you’re driving under the influence, chances are you won’t be in full control to react to something like that happening, and as a result, you might suffer an accident.
Driving, while fun, is a serious responsibility, and you should definitely handle it with caution because any accidents that happen while you’re in your car can have catastrophic effects on others as well. So, play it safe, and don’t use marijuana and drive.