Common DUID Defenses in Colorado
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The term DUID is really a made up term by the legal community to bifurcate a “traditional” DUI case involving alcohol from DUI case involving drugs. The statute for DUI includes drugs, alcohol or a combination of both. Therefore, the penalties associated with a conviction for a drug-related DUI are exactly the same as those involved in a alcohol-related DUI offense.
The Denver DUID attorneys at The Orr Law Firm have extensive experience handling DUID cases and understand the nuances and differences in how these need to be defended.
THC – Marijuana & the 5ng/ml Permissible Inference Law
Colorado recently passed a “Permissible Inference” law regarding marijuana and its active ingredient – THC. This arbitrary limit is now set at 5ng/ml of blood. A blood content of 5ng/ml gives rise to permissible inference that the defendant was under the influence.
Defendants could avoid conviction by presenting evidence that they were not in fact impaired. Although that approach is better than a per se rule, the five-nangogram cutoff remains arbitrary. It is not supported by scientific evidence showing that people generally are impaired at that level, and tests suggest that many marijuana consumers drive competently at THC levels far above five nanograms.
The five-nanogram cutoff completely ignores all the science, which indicates that there is no particular number that determines impairment by THC across the population. THC affects everybody differently. There are many people who are not impaired at well over five nanograms, and there are some who are probably impaired at fewer than five nanograms. What this law does is shift the burden of proof to the defendant to prove he or she was not impaired or under the influence.
Understanding these hurdles and the science or lack thereof behind this law is critical in developing a defense strategy to defend clients against DUID cases that involve THC or marijuana. Even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) agrees that there is no valid scientific evidence to support a specific level for impairment by THC.
Prescription Drug DUI
Most people think of illegal narcotics or marijuana when they think of a DUID or drugged-driving allegation. However, driving under the influence of prescription drugs is probably the most common DUID case that we see. The elements of the offense are the same, except that state does not have a set per se limit or number that they can use to say everyone over “x” limit is under the influence and everyone over “y” limit is impaired.
In these cases, officers will rely heavily upon poor driving behavior and alleged observations of displayed impairment, such as, blood shot and watery eyes, delayed reaction times, unsteady balance, poor motor skills, pupil size and reaction to light, being confused or disoriented, etc. The state will also rely upon its hired experts to opine as to the levels of the active and inactive drug found within your blood and how those levels correlate to impairment based on the officer’s alleged observations.
Defending DUID cases is even more complex than “traditional” DUI cases involving alcohol. Hiring an attorney who understands the differences and the science behind DUID cases is critical.
Call The Orr Law Firm at (303) 747-4247 if you need help with your DUID defense.