Drugged Driving Bill Being Developed by Lawmakers for 2016 Session

July 31, 2015

Currently, drivers in Colorado who are suspected of being under the influence of drugs face the same DUI charges as those accused of alcohol impairment. That may soon change, however, as Colorado legislators are planning to propose a new drugged driving bill for the 2016 legislative session that would create new drugged driving charges in the state in order to be able to improve tracking of drugged versus drunk driving.

Our Denver & Boulder DUI attorney discusses CO lawmakers’ plans to draft a new drugged driving bill to improve tracking of drugged v. drunk driving in the state.

Our Denver & Boulder DUI attorney discusses CO lawmakers’ plans to draft a new drugged driving bill to improve tracking of drugged v. drunk driving in the state.

This bill is being spearheaded by Rep. Jon Keyser, R-Morrison, who says that it is time that Colorado had a better way of tracking drugged driving so that safety officials and others can better ascertain:

  • Whether drugged driving is a problem in Colorado
  • The impacts that marijuana legalization in the state may being having on roadway safety/motorist impairment.

Keyser reportedly is planning to draft the drugged driving bill this summer with the help of Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont. Explaining the motivation behind putting together a drugged driving bill now, Keyser has noted that “the motivation is really to be able to have a real discussion with real numbers and real data…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.”

Bill May Create More Problems than Solutions, Some Point Out

Although creating new drugged driving charges in Colorado (if the bill is ultimately passed) could be a solution to the problem of tracking drugged versus drunk driving in the state, not everyone is convinced that this is the right solution for getting the data that everyone is after.

In fact, one of the more prominent figures to show some initial resistance to new drugged driving charges has been the executive director of the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council, Tom Raynes. As Raynes has pointed out, new drugged driving charges could end up generating a number of different problems when it comes to:

  • Police evaluating impairment in the field, as traffic officers will have to assess whether alleged impairment is due to alcohol, drugs or both, and most cops are not currently drug recognition experts
  • Bringing these charges and cases to court, as litigating drugged versus drunk driving cases can become tricky if the wrong charges are filed.

Raynes elaborated that, “[this bill is] 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.”

What do you think about this bill? Do you think Colorado should have separate drugged driving charges? Sound off on our Facebook & Google+ pages.

Contact a Denver & Boulder DUI Attorney at the Griffin Law Firm

Have you been charged with drunk driving or any other offense? If so, you can turn to the Denver & Boulder DUI attorney at the Griffin Law Firm for experienced help and the best possible defense. With more than 18 years’ experience in the criminal justice system, our attorney understands the complexities of the system, the challenges different defendants can face and the best ways of overcoming these challenges to bring criminal cases to successful resolutions.

To receive a complete evaluation of your case, along with professional advice regarding your best options, contact us by calling (303) 280-1070 or by emailing us using the contact form at the top of this page.

Categories: DUI News