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Colorado DUI: Drugged Driving


If you are pulled over while driving under the influence of illegal drugs, drugs prescribed by your doctor, or over-the-counter drugs that impact your ability to operate safely, you’re risking a DUI. Drugged driving includes illicit (street) drugs, prescription medications and marijuana.

When receiving prescription drugs from a doctor or pharmacist, it’s important to make sure you understand whether taking the medication impacts your ability to operate a vehicle safely. Understand how the medication interacts with alcohol — many common prescription medications intensify alcohol’s effect.

It is simpler to measure the amount of alcohol someone has ingested (by testing breath, blood or urine) than many other drugs. However, Colorado law enforcement has fought back by training more Certified Drug Recognition Experts (DREs). These officials are qualified to detect drugged drivers and drunk drivers also under the influence of drugs. Law enforcement officers always look for signs of poor mental judgment or physical capacity when pulling over a driver. But the DRE-trained officers are trained to detect specific signs that the driver is under the influence of drugs.

Driving while drugged also applies to the lesser charge of driving while ability impaired (DWAI). This means that the driver was impaired, but to a lesser degree than the standard for DUI impairment. It is really only a lesser charge for the first offense — a second offense is approached by the court just like a second DUI charge.

Over the five-years from 2006 to 2010, 16 percent of all car crash fatalities — 411 people — were killed in an accident with a drugged driver. Needless to say, law enforcement officials take drugged driving very seriously. If you face charges for driving under the influence of drugs, contact an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney today.