Colorado State Patrol, as well as 90 other law enforcement agencies, are increasing their DUI patrols this weekend. Increased patrols are expected to continue through Tuesday. Last year, the Colorado Department of Transportation reported 486 DUI arrests over St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
Colorado State Patrol Chief, Scott Hernandez, is discouraging people from drinking and driving as well as discouraging people from doing drugs and driving, including discouraging the use of marijuana. With the legalization of recreational marijuana use, there has been a general push by the state to educate drivers that marijuana can cause a person to be under the influence or impaired at the time of driving. As such, even though marijuana may be otherwise legal, Colorado drivers cannot drive while under the influence of or impaired by the use of marijuana.
While a person can be specifically charged with a DUI drug (DUID), this type of DUI is no different than a DUI for alcohol. The possible penalties are the same. In addition, if a driver has a prior DUI or DWAI conviction, the type of DUI (alcohol or drug) is irrelevant. In other words, if a person gets arrested and charged with a DUI for drug use this St. Patrick’s Day weekend and has a prior conviction for a DUI for alcohol, the new arrest is nonethless considered a second DUI even though the prior was for alcohol and the new DUI is for drugs.