By Staff Attorney
By The Gasper Law Group
If police recently arrested you for marijuana DUI, or your daughter called from a jail cell after being stopped at a DUI checkpoint, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed and scared. At the same time, you might also be curious about how Colorado’s recent legalization of cannabis has affected DUI rates and police enforcement attitudes.
The discussion below explores an overview of the changes.
Fewer Pot Arrests
Ever since Colorado’s landmark legislation allowed adults to possess, cultivate and privately use marijuana, unsurprisingly, there have been fewer cannabis-related arrests. Colorado state data show a dramatic decline in possession charges from 30,000 in 2010 to below 2,500 in 2014. In addition, an analysis of National Incident Based Reporting System data found a 41 percent reduction in all drug arrests during the past two years.
Police Shift Stance on Cannabis
A Police One poll reveals evolving attitudes among law enforcement officials as well. In 2009, 64 percent of police opposed legislation legalizing pot. A recent poll shows that stance softening somewhat; today only 56 percent of law enforcement in the state think the law was a bad idea. Police do remain divided on the issue, but more and more officers now view cannabis in a nuanced light. Continue reading →
There are few movies more quotable than The Princess Bride (Hmm, maybe The Godfather, but that’s a different blog). Mandy Patinkin as the master swordsman Inigo Montoya gets one of my favorites when he responds to his employer, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” In the movie, the word in question is “inconceivable.” In Colorado, that word is “driving.”
“Driving,” as in “Driving” Under the Influence or “Driving” While Ability Impaired, does not mean what you think it means. Consider the following situation. You’re out on the town and have had too much to drink. You know you can’t drive home and want to do the right thing. You decide to walk a block to the parking lot and sleep it off in your car. You get in the driver’s side, recline the seat, and put your car keys in your pocket. An hour later you’re woken up by a patrol officer rapping on your window. “Bad news,” he says, “You’re under arrest for Driving Under the Influence.” In fact, even though you didn’t know it and common sense would say otherwise, and even though the car was never turned on and never moved an inch, you’ve been “driving” for the past hour.
In Colorado, the courts have determined that the terms “drive” and “drove” include “actual physical control” of a vehicle, even if the vehicle is not actually moving. Factors a judge or jury may consider in deciding whether or not a person was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, include, but are not limited to the following:
A. Where the vehicle was found;
B. Where in the vehicle the person was found;
C. Whether or not the keys were in the motor vehicle’s ignition;
D. Whether or not the motor vehicle was running;
E. Any other factor which tends to indicate that the person exercised bodily influence or direction over a motor vehicle or not based on your every day experience.
Effective January 1, 2009, the revocation period on first offender DUI cases has changed in the State of Colorado. While the period of revocation of license for blood alcohol content in excess of .08 has increased from a three-month period to a nine-month suspension, the reinstatement process appears to have eased considerably. The following information outlines the revocation and reinstatement rules currently in effect.
REVOCATION: The first episode of driving with a B.A.C. of .08 or greater results in a nine-month revocation.
• The revocation remains in effect until you complete the reinstatement process.
• ALL excess B.A.C. reinstatements are processed by mail. You should begin the reinstatement process approximately one (1) month prior to the month you expect to reinstate.
• If you were 21 or older at the time of the violation and have no other unsatisfied license restraints, you may reinstate after only 1 month of revocation – provided you install an Ignition Interlock Device (Interlock) in every vehicle you own or may drive.
• If your B.A.C. was below 0.17, you reinstate early, drive only an Interlock vehicle and do not have any B.A.C. when you drive, you may be eligible for an unrestricted license after four (4) continuous months of successful driving.
REINSTATEMENT: (9-month revocation): You must
1. provide an SR22 from your insurance company and maintain it for 9-months following reinstatement (3-years if you were involved in an accident);
2. complete an Alcohol Certification, Form DR 2598
3. complete an Application for Reinstatement, DR 2870, and
4. mail the SR22, the Alcohol Certification and the Application along with your personal check or money order for $ 95.00 to the address provided on the Application.