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Dear Stoner: What to do if you get pulled over?

Dear Stoner: This summer I was charged with marijuana DUI after a trooper stopped me for swerving on I-70 on the way to the mountains (I was actually looking at my cell phone for directions). The officer instructed me to do roadsides (which I passed with flying colors), submit to an alcohol breathalyzer (which came back at 0.0), and finally forced me to take a blood test after he was unsatisfied with the results of the previous tests. My blood test results came back at twice the legal limit, so I am petrified about what will happen and not sure what I should do. I know you're not an attorney, but maybe you know someone else who has been in this situation.

Scared

Dear Scared: We totally understand your very rational fear; unfortunately, there's not much help we can offer at this point other than to hope for a merciful judge who'll listen when you say that you weren't impaired, but distracted and looking at your cell phone (which is illegal in this state, but much less of a crime than THC DUI). Or maybe that judge will pay attention when you argue that the test really doesn't show impairment, anyway: Back in 2011, yours truly was tested more than twelve hours after smoking herb, deemed sober by a doctor and still tested at nearly three times the five-nanogram limit. (You can read all about that in the Westword archives.)

But your situation got us thinking about what someone should do if a cop pulls them over and suspects them of driving under the influence of cannabis. So we put that question to an actual lawyer, Colorado marijuana attorney Warren Edson, who shared his top five tips for what to do if you're suspected of a THC DUI.

1. Pull over smoothly and have your information easily accessible so there is no fumbling.

2. Roll your window down just enough to hear the officer and for him to hear you — to limit odors — but remain courteous.

3. Exercise your right to opt out of voluntary roadsides, which are not appropriate for THC, anyway.

4. Make no admissions or statements of any kind, including the fact that you might have a red card.

5. Accept a blood test if retaining your driver's license is important/refuse if losing your license is an acceptable risk and if your nanogram count is likely going to be high (no pun intended).

 
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25 comments
johnh677
johnh677

Missouri has the same implied consent that Colorado has.  It has been deemed to be unconstitutional to hold a drivers license hostage to conduct that unconstitutional search.  With a warrant, there has to be probable cause.  If you have passed the roadside sobriety test and a breath test, what is their probable cause.  A cop cannot use refusal to search as probable cause.

johnh677
johnh677

Missouri v. McNeely (2013) determined that it is unconstitutional to force a blood test without a warrant. 

rjsweeney
rjsweeney

A bit off the subject but.....I plan on being in Denver on Jan 1, 2014 - how do I get a list of the approved recreational pot stores in Denver? 

nemopunk15
nemopunk15 topcommenter

If you are not impaired and like the fella in the article you pass the road sides that can be evidence you present in court as to your sobriety. 


Also, post getting the DUI-THC ticket you can find a Dr-with luck the same one that signed your Red Card to testify as to your THC blood level and your intoxication. See the Federal Medical Program for more info. 



groundskeeperwilly
groundskeeperwilly

OR don't toke and drive.. Duh..

Stay at home until you are fully cognizant of  reality.. There are other people on the road. erratic drivers whether drunk, phone distracted or ripped on weed, shouldn't drive period. 

The lives of others depend on it.

soaddictive
soaddictive

Get a good lawyer. My friend got charged with duid past 420. Luckily lawyer got it down to careless driving. He paid a good 4000 but better than loosing his license for 5 years due to he already had a dwai and driving revoked this would have made him habitual

soaddictive
soaddictive

Get a good lawyer !!! My friend got his charge dropped to careless driving which is only points! Paid $4000 but better than having a duid because they already had a dwai in the past and driving revoked this would have made them habitual offender and lost license for 5 years.

Domingo Lopez
Domingo Lopez

Ur stab ur self before he gets to the window you'll save 4000 dllrs going to the er lol

Domingo Lopez
Domingo Lopez

Just don't stop till u cross state lines, or makes u u got a box of doughnuts at all times

Virgil Dunn
Virgil Dunn

What if you're a morbidly obese male? They have tits, too.

Megan Haenny
Megan Haenny

Hope It's not obvious. It's a dui just like liquor.

Jeri Shepherd
Jeri Shepherd

Repeat after me: I do not consent to a search. You do not have to answer the officer's questions.

Ed Haas
Ed Haas

Pays to have tits, so says my wife, haha.

.McShyster.
.McShyster.


I know you're not an attorney, but ...

... I'm dumb enough to accept legal advice from another brain-dead bong-sucker.

.

..McShyster..
..McShyster..

@johnh677 ... it doesn't say the cops can't get that warrant, or that refusing the IMPLIED CONSENT you agreed to when you signed for and got your drivers license will not result in the suspension of that license ... and the consequential massive increases in insurance premiums when you do get it back.


insanity.speaks
insanity.speaks

@groundskeeperwilly I guess you don't realize just how long the stuff stays in your bloodstream. The effects of marijuana last just a few hours, but the nano count can remain above any legal limit for a long time, even though you are completely capable of driving. Marijuana is much safer than alcohol. I've never met a person who blacked out from smoking too much but sure have met plenty of people that don't remember a thing that happened last night. 

JimTom
JimTom

@groundskeeperwilly It can takes days as stated above if you actually read the article to reduce your nano count to below the legal limit. So I am supposed to stay home all the time? Idiot the law need to be changed to reflect something useful in the testing. I can probably out drive you right after downing a few bongs.

JimTom
JimTom

@soaddictive Your friend sounds like and idiot. I mean really getting a DUID on 420? IDIOT!

 

soaddictive
soaddictive

They will say they have probable cause and search anyways or get a dog

davelikesfish
davelikesfish

@Jeri Shepherd - That's what you do if you want the cop to break out your windows, beat you to a pulp and then shoot you. You'd be in the right. The cop might get suspended with pay for awhile and a slap on the wrist.

perduringone
perduringone

@tylerdean1379 yes, watch out.  it hasn't happened to you yet, but to night your ring to send this question in.  Now is the time to act to prevent this whole mess.  Its up to you, Marty.

 
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