This summer, a few Colorado lawmakers are planning to ban together to develop a new drugged driving bill that would create separate charges for drug-related DUIs in the state.
Currently, anyone arrested for a drug-related DUI in Colorado faces the same DUI charges as those who are alleged to have been driving under the influence of alcohol. While this may not be a problem from a punitive standpoint, when it comes to tracking the risks and incidence of drugged driving versus drunk driving, it is a problem, legislators and law enforcement officials say.
A Closer Look at the Proposal for a New CO Drugged Driving Bill
The bill in question will reportedly be proposed by Rep. Jon Keyser, R-Morrison, during the 2016 legislative session that will get underway this coming January. Looking to colleague and marijuana legalization advocate Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, for help, Keyser is focused on developing a statute that will allow drug-related DUI arrests, charges and cases to be better tracked in the state.
Elucidating this, Keyser has explained:
The motivation is really to be able to have a real discussion with real numbers and real data [regarding drugged driving versus drunk driving]…If [drugged driving] is a problem we definitely need to address it, but right now we can’t even say if it’s a problem.
Echoing these intentions, Singer has stated:
We want to be able to pinpoint what public safety issues are out there related to impaired driving and whether that’s alcohol, prescription pills or marijuana, or some combination of all those things… It’s important for the public to know what the real public safety risk is and that way we can fine tune our approaches at the state level.
New Drugged Driving Charges Could Present New Problems, Some Worry
While there certainly seems to be some important reasons to develop a new drugged driving charge in Colorado, some worry that a new charge could trigger a host of new problems when it comes to filing drugged versus drunk driving charges and litigating these cases.
In fact, some noted that, while data regarding drugged driving versus drunk driving in Colorado is important to start gathering (more precisely), problems may arise for:
- Law enforcement officials who may be put in situations in which they have to make quick decisions regarding whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both
- Prosecutors if the wrong impaired driving charges are filed against someone.
As Tom Raynes, executive director of the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council, has explained:
It’s something that I think needs to be done cautiously…You don’t want to build in an inherent defense if an officer on the street has to make a decision at that very moment – is this person impaired by alcohol or marijuana?… Is there another way to pursue this data?… Because I’d love to have the data.
As more news about the progress of this bill becomes available, we’ll report it to you here in our blog. In the meantime, share your thoughts about this proposed bill with us on Facebook & Google+.
Contact a Broomfield DUI & Criminal Defense Attorney at The Datz Law Firm
Have you or a loved one been charged with a DUI or any criminal offense? If so, an experienced Broomfield DUI & criminal defense attorney at The Datz Law Firm is ready to provide you with superior defense representation.
Let’s discuss your defense options during an initial consultation. Call us at (720) 256-2404, or email us using the contact form at the top of this page to set up this meeting.
Although our office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., we make ourselves available anytime of the day or night to talk about your important legal matters – or simply to discuss your worries and concerns. The bottom line is that we are flexible, available, and responsive.
From our offices in Broomfield, we represent clients throughout the Denver metro area, as well as throughout Boulder County, Broomfield County, Jefferson County, Weld County, Adams County, Arapahoe County and Douglas County.