The title of this blog sounds like an oxymoron, and it was done so intentionally. Because, a person can high what are considered high levels of cannabis in their system, and still not be high. There have even been instances of people getting out of DUI convictions, but it’s not the norm. And, we’ll take a look at how they did it in their trial defense. But, we must state first and foremost that our law firm does not condone driving while impaired, under any circumstances.

Testing for Marijuana DUI

Can You Beat A DUID Conviction for Driving High, But Not Impaired? | Broomfield DUI/DUID Defense Attorney

Can You Beat A DUID Conviction for Driving High, But Not Impaired? | Broomfield DUI/DUID Defense Attorney

If you are pulled over and law enforcement officers arrest you for suspicion of DUI, they’ll more than likely ask you to perform roadside tests. If you fail the roadside, they’ll arrest you for suspicion of being too stone to drive and take you to the station or a certified facility to have your blood drawn. In Colorado, the legal threshold for impairment is 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood.


Colorado is also currently taking part in a volunteer DUI pilot program that uses saliva to determine the amount of THC in your system. The state through the attorney general’s office has invested $233,747 in the machines for 125 state troopers to use for field sobriety testing.

Of the nearly 90 cases that are pending using the new technology devices, none have used the results as evidence in the court. Typically, when new technology is introduced for use in determining sobriety results, it has to go through a certification process, and the more attorneys know about a new device and its technology the more than can look for ways to undermine its usefulness.

The Colorado “Stoner” Roadside Test

ABC News recently broadcast a news segment featuring a roadside sobriety test and subsequent arrest because the driver exhibited behaviors of being too stoned to drive. Here is a listing of the roadside testing performed in that segment on that driver, who acknowledged they he had smoked one joint and volunteered to take a field sobriety test:

  • Walk the line: Officer asked the allegedly impaired driver to walk in a straight line with heal-to-toe walking for 10 feet or so. This tests for impaired coordination.
  • Follow the Light: Officer asked the motorist to follow his finger, while shining a flashlight in the motorist’s eyes. This tests for lack of peripheral vision.
  • Count Backwards: Officer asked the motorist to count backwards from the number 57 to the number 43. This tests for alertness and attention to detail.

DUID Defense Strategies

According to a High Time Magazine report, two people have beaten the legal Marijuana DUID limits of testing higher than 5 ng/ml. While studies have shown that alcohol impairs people pretty much the same way, marijuana has proven to be a bit more deceiving when it comes to determining the influence and impairment of cannabis consumption on drivers.1

  • Alcohol is water soluble, while cannabis is fat soluble.
  • What that means is alcohol stays active while it’s still in your body, until it is flushed.
  • Cannabis’ psychoactivity may be over, but your body may still measure a lot of it in your body.
  • Conventional wisdom also says that a heavy marijuana user may have really high levels of residual marijuana metabolites in their bodies even though the body has broken down the psychoactive cannabinoids.

Other things to remember about taking a marijuana impaired case to trail:

  • Not all juries and counties will have the same outlook on marijuana and its ability to influence and impair a person.
  • Not all users are heavy users. Some only consume the product on weekends or infrequently.

Lastly, if you are high on marijuana, you should not get behind the wheel and drive. Even in counties that reflect liberal consumption values, the law is still the law there. If you are high and you get pulled over, you do risk getting arrested and either having to pee in a cup or give blood to determine your level of impairment.

Contact a Broomfield DUI/DUID Defense Attorney at The Datz Law Firm

Have you or a loved one been charged with a DUID for driving high? If so, the Broomfield DUI/DUID Defense Attorney at The Datz Law Firm is ready to help you build the strongest case possible to take to trial, if necessary. Please contact as soon as possible to set up a free, no-obligation consult, by calling us at (720) 253-0539, or email us using the contact form on this page.


1“How to Beat a Marijuana DUI” published in High Time, Jan. 2017.