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Drunk and impaired driving laws in Colorado

If you've been accused of drunk driving, you know that you need to defend yourself. If you don't, you could be accused and convicted of a crime with penalties that you may have otherwise avoided with a proper defense.

Colorado law prohibits the use of a vehicle when a person is drunk or under the influence of drugs. These offenses are known as driving under the influence and driving while ability impaired.

The primary ways to enforce the law is to test the person accused of the DUI or DWAI with blood or breath tests. While marijuana is legal in the state, you can still be accused of driving impaired with it in your system. For marijuana impairment, the user's blood must contain 5 or more nanograms of Delta-9 THC to be considered impaired, although this is just an inference and not solid proof.

People with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher may be subjected to higher penalties, which is something to consider if you've been found with a particularly high BAC.

In Colorado, the law presumes that every driver has given permission for urine, saliva, blood or breath tests when asked to provide one by a law enforcement officer. The officer must have probably cause. If you refuse to take a test when requested, you could lose your license and have it submitted as evidence against you in court.

The reduction of penalties is possible in a few ways. A plea bargain is one. Another is to agree to alcohol or drug treatment. Trying to show that there was no reason to suspect you of drunk driving or impairment may also help your case; your attorney can help you learn more about your options.

Source: Office of Legislative Legal Services, "Law Summary: Colorado Drunk Driving Laws," accessed Aug. 10, 2016

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