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Oct 17

In Colorado A DUI – Driving under the influence (DUI) charge is typically charged as a “per se” crime – when a driver whose blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or greater while driving, or within two hours of driving. This “per se” charge can be charged with the DUI charge – and is in addition to the DUI.

It is also is a misdemeanor that may be charged whenever a person drives after consuming alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and drugs, and as a result is substantially incapable of exercising clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of the vehicle.

DUI per se is a misdemeanor that may be charged whenever the results of a breath or blood test administered to a driver exceed the legal limits for alcohol. There is no corresponding DUI per se charge for drivers accused of driving while under the influence of drugs.

A proposed law – Colorado Senate Bill 12-117, which was deemed lost in the House, would have expanded the definition of DUI per se to apply to drivers whose blood contains five nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter in whole blood while driving or within two hours of driving.

The bill also would have repealed the law specifying that it is a misdemeanor for a habitual user of any controlled substance to drive a motor vehicle or low-power scooter.

The bill was defeated – and there is no “per se” equivalent – meaning no presumption for having a certain LEVEL of marijuana in your system .

Thus – for marijuana based DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs) – the DA must prove the crime charged using an expert ( usually a drug recognition expert ) and that expert cannot rely on an instruction to the jury that they can use a specific level of marijuana to presume the person is unfit to drive.

This makes the prosecutor’s burden of proof in these cases – a little tougher..

Here is a LINK to the failed law:

http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2012a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/3830B379C5DC1E8487257982007166A1?open&file=117_ren.pdf

This was the preamble to the new law – it helps in an understanding of what the law intended to do:

In any prosecution for a driving under the influence (DUI), driving while ability impaired (DWAI), vehicular assault, or vehicular homicide, if at the time of the commission of the alleged offense, or within two hours thereafter, the defendant’s blood, urine, or saliva contains any

amount of a schedule I controlled substance, except for tetrahydrocannabinols; a schedule II controlled substance; salvia divinorum; or synthetic cannabinoids, or the defendant’s blood contains 5 nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter in whole blood, such fact gives rise to the permissible inference that the defendant was under the influence of drugs.

The bill expands the existing definition of “DUI per se” to include driving when the driver’s blood, urine, or saliva contains any amount of a schedule I controlled substance, except for tetrahydrocannabinols; salvia divinorum; or synthetic cannabinoids, and driving when the defendant’s blood contains 5 nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter in whole blood.


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