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.
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.)
Ask a Stoner
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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