Colorado Increases Enforcement of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Increased Law Enforcement

Due to the increased press surrounding DUI-D now that marijuana is legal in Colorado, as well as a substantial increase in federal grant money to train officers and increase DUI-D enforcement, there is a sharp increase in the amount of DUI-D cases being filed in Colorado. While some point to legalization as the cause, Tiftickjian says this is simply not the case. “When law enforcement dedicate three times the amount of officers and resources to look for a certain crime, arrest numbers will skyrocket. This is no different than the increase in DUI arrests during the summer months when the federal Heat is On grant is being tapped for extra officers to set up checkpoints and run saturation patrols.”

Police officers are also receiving training to look for particular indicators of drug impairment. Officers are taught pursuant to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) federal training program. Specific to marijuana, officers are trained to look for things such as divided attention, poor coordination, an odor of marijuana, poor perception of time, red conjunctiva (the white part of the eye), eye lid and body tremors, disorientation, and inattention.

Colorado also subjects drivers suspected of drug impairment to a drug recognition evaluation.  A police officer who has received the NHTSA drug-specific DUI training will claim to be a Drug Recognition Expert, and prosecutors will attempt to call them that in front of a jury.

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