Troopers with the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) are currently trying out new marijuana testing devices to evaluate motorists for alleged THC impairment in the field.
This pilot test, which was kicked off in March 2015, will reportedly continue over the next two years, though officials are planning to convene this March to evaluate how successful the use of these devices has been to date.
What Motorists Should Know about the Pot Testing Devices & Their Rights
- How the devices work – According to CSP, the devices that their troopers are currently using to test motorists for marijuana impairment require saliva samples, which are obtained by swabbing drivers’ cheeks. The samples are them input into the device, which prints out the rests results within 5 minutes. These results can reportedly identify marijuana and various other drugs that may be in motorists’ systems.
- Motorists’ rights to refuse testing – Currently, this marijuana saliva testing is only being administered on motorists who agree to submit to it. Unlike with chemical testing for alcohol DUI stops, there are not automatic penalties for refusing marijuana saliva testing (at this time). According to CSP, more than 80 drivers have agreed to this testing since the pilot program was rolled out last year.
- Additional pot testing devices in the works – Although CSP troopers are testing out the marijuana saliva devices, a number of other THC testing devices are being developed (and may soon be available for testing). Just some of these include devices that can reportedly evaluate THC levels based on testing breath or sweat/perspiration. At this point, however, some remain critical of breath testing devices for THC, as these devices are only able to detect the presence of marijuana that has been smoked (rather than eaten).
- Impacts of the results – To date, the results of marijuana saliva testing have yet to be used in court as part of a DUI case. It remains to be seen just how reliable the results will be in a courtroom setting when DUI charges are on the line.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to marijuana testing devices and pot DUIs, the bottom line is that authorities are focused on cracking down in impaired driving – and they are focused on finding better methods of evaluating pot (and drug) impairment in the field.
So, if you plan on enjoying some recreational marijuana or alcohol, make sure you also plan to have a sober driver or to stay where you are until you are sober enough to drive if you want to avoid a DUI arrest.
Contact a Broomfield DUI Attorney at The Datz Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI (including a pot DUI) in Colorado, a Broomfield DUI attorney at The Datz Law Firm is ready to provide you with superior defense representation.
Call us at (720) 256-2404, or email us using the contact form at the top of this page to find out more about your best DUI defense options.
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.