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DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Drinking

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Driving under the influence is a charge that can be leveled at any driver whose ability is impaired by a substance, whether that substance is alcohol, illegal drugs or even prescription drugs. While the majority of DUI stops in Colorado are for driving while under the influence of alcohol, drivers can be convicted of DUI or DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) if their ability to drive is compromised by any substance. However, there are some things about criminal charges for driving under the influence of drugs that drivers should be aware of.

Testing drivers for impairment by alcohol or drugs begins as soon as a Colorado police officer stops you. The field sobriety test is how Colorado law enforcement gets probable cause to arrest you for DUI, and the field sobriety test will show an officer that your ability to drive is impaired by any kind of substance. Prescription drugs, being tired or ill, as well as use of illegal drugs can all show impairment on a field sobriety test.

The field sobriety test isn’t the only test in a police officer’s arsenal against DUIs, but most other tests that Colorado police officers have on hand for DUI stops target alcohol use, such as breathalyzers. To test for drugs in a driver’s system, officers must test either urine or blood. These tests must be administered at the police station within two hours of the DUI stop.

A police officer can test you for drugs if the field sobriety test showed that you have impairment and there is no sign of drinking such as the smell of alcohol on your breath. Probable cause for a drug DUI arrest can also be the scent of marijuana on your person or your car. If you have illegal drugs in your car at the time of the DUI arrest, you may also be charged with possession.

If you have been stopped for a DUI involving drug use, contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney today.

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