Differences Between Colorado Drug & Alcohol DUIs

People have been charged for alcohol-induced DUIs for years, but as recreational marijuana has been legalized, more and more users are getting charged with marijuana-induced DUIs. While both charges are labeled as “driving under the influence,” they do have some fundamental differences.

Penalties

You may be surprised to learn that the penalties for a DUI and a DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) are the same. A DUID in Colorado is considered a DUI charge on someone’s record, which means a DUID conviction counts as a first-time DUI offense. If someone receives a DUID and then is convicted of a DUI, he or she will be convicted of their second DUI offense despite the first offense being a DUID.

Provability

The most significant discrepancy between drug and alcohol DUIs is the provability of the offense. With alcohol-induced DUIs, the person’s BAC is (sometimes, as a breathalyzer can be faulty) a clear indicator of their intoxication. Any driver who blows above a 0.08% BAC is likely to face a DUI charge; however, a drug-induced DUI is much harder to prove.

DUIDs cannot be proven through a breathalyzer, and generally speaking, a blood test is performed as a permissible inference that a driver was under the influence of drugs. A blood test can accurately prove that drugs were in a person’s system, but police officers must follow rigorous procedures when gathering someone’s blood.

Common reasons a blood test is invalid in court:

  • The police did not store the blood properly;
  • the police did not swab the area properly;
  • the police did not collect the sample properly;
  • the police did not follow chain of custody properly;
  • the police did not have an adequate reason to take a blood sample.

Although the penalties of a DUI and a DUID are precisely the same, the provability of these two charges is exceptionally different. DUI charges are much easier to prove, and DUID charges require more evidence for a charge to stand. Regardless of your charge, an experienced criminal defense attorney like Kevin Cahill may increase the chances that your case will be thrown out.

Have you been charged with a DUI or DUID, call (720) 548-2990 now for a free consultation concerning your case!

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