Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

In the U.S., more than a million motorists per year are arrested for impaired driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that figure applies to drivers operating a vehicle under the influence of either alcohol or narcotics.

In Colorado, FBI figures show more than 17,000 arrests each year for various drug abuses. Certainly, there are plenty of opportunities for Colorado drivers to be placed under arrest for driving while impaired by drugs.

This is sometimes referred to as DUID – driving while under the influence of drugs. Regardless of labels, the state treats drug-impaired driving in the same ways it treats alcohol-impaired driving.


Our lawyers are well versed in the laws that apply to driving under the influence in Colorado – whether the substance in question is alcohol or drugs. Because the same state statutes govern both situations, you’ll be in good hands with our experienced defense attorneys. We’ll work for you to protect your rights and your property.

While drunk driving laws are very specific as to blood alcohol levels and legal limits, it can be somewhat more difficult to quantify just what constitutes impairment due to drugs.

There is not a specified blood level for drugs, and technology remains more limited in detecting the presence of drugs. Some substances may remain in the body for an extended period of time while others do not. In some instances, the ability of law enforcement officers to accurately identify the aspects of a driver’s behavior and appearance that might indicate drug impairment can be questionable.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that about 16 percent of people driving after dark on weekends test positive for drugs, whether legal or illegal. The agency says that 11 percent test positive for illicit substances. Further, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that as many as 10 million Americans may drive while under the influence of drugs in a year’s time.

It is important to know that driving under the influence of drugs doesn’t just refer to illicit drugs. If your doctor has prescribed medication and you’ve taken it legally, you can still be charged if ingesting the drug interferes with your ability to drive safely. If you’re stopped by a law enforcement officer, you may be asked to submit to blood or urine testing to determine the presence of drugs in your body. There is significant room for argument about the results of such tests, especially if officers find no evidence of drugs in a search of your car. Further, there is great variation in the ways people respond to drugs. In other words, a drug might affect you differently than it affects someone else who takes it. When your attorney defends you against a DUID charge, that variation can open avenues for argument.


” driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, that affects the person to a degree that he or she is substantially incapable, mentally or physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.”