The state of Colorado’s wonderful and notable contribution when it comes to changing the atmosphere of the legalization of marijuana in the US is significant. The state is known for Amendment 64 where the voters amended the Constitution of the State of Colorado was to legalize the production, sale and use of recreational marijuana for adults. While marijuana is legal in this state, tourists should know that there are still laws that govern the boundaries of the use of this substance, especially when it comes to driving. We’ll further discuss some of the essential points to keep in mind to stay out of legal trouble while you stay in this state.
Possession and Purchase of Marijuana
If you are an adult, 21 years or older, you can legally possess 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana in Colorado. You will need a government-issued identification to prove you are 21 years or older. If you’re a tourist, bringing a driver’s license or passport is sufficient proof of your age.
Initially, tourists were only allowed to purchase not more than 7 grams, while Colorado residents could purchase up to 28 grams during the early years of the legalization of marijuana in the state. In June 2016, however, this law changed, and now both tourists and residents can purchase 28 grams in a single transaction.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Laws in Colorado
While Colorado became one of the first 11 US states to legalize marijuana, its DUI penalties are harsh, to say the least. A contributing factor to the unforgiving DUI penalties is the rising number of drunk driving and stoned driving cases in the state. This prompted the state legislature to take strict measures to curb drunk driving and prevent repeat offenses of DUI.
An article by M. Trent Trani at www.tranicriminaldefense.com/dui-attorney-denver-co states that driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs (DUI or DUID) is classified as a misdemeanor offense in Colorado from the first to third DUI offense, except when the person’s involvement in an accident resulted to the injuries or death of another person. DUI can also escalate to a Class 4 felony once a person has a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction.
What’s Your Best Defense to DUI?
First and foremost, prevention is your best measure for any problem including legal ones. In the case of DUI, the best thing to do is drive sober. If you have recently smoked a joint, it would be smart to sleep off the high or wait until the effects wear off. There can still be residual amounts of THC in your bloodstream, but at least it’s far below the legal limit of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood.
Even if you’re driving slightly stoned, there always exists the possibility of you being involved in a car accident or have sudden erratic driving patterns which can prompt police officers to suspect and arrest you for DUI. When you find yourself in a bind due to driving under the influence of marijuana, alcohol or other drugs, your best legal course of action is to seek assistance from a reputable and experienced DUI or criminal defense lawyer. Your case isn’t a lost cause yet if you have a good lawyer who can aggressively defend you and challenge the circumstances of your apprehension.
Knowing the laws of the state that you’re going to visit can help to stay out of legal trouble. While Colorado may seem open about the recreational use of marijuana due to the state being one of the first states to legalize its recreational use, you still have to be careful about the stringent penalties imposed by the state’s laws on DUI. If you are a tourist and you’re driving through the streets of this state, it always pays to be careful, smart and rational: avoid using marijuana, alcohol or any other drug.