Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the more common safety-related traffic violations that people commit. Most people mentally associate DUI charges with alcohol, and there is little question that alcohol is a factor in many serious car wrecks. Too many people underestimate how much impact alcohol has on their driving safety, a mistake that could cost them or someone else their life.

However, alcohol is not the only chemical substance that can impact your ability to drive safely. People in Colorado who get pulled over while under the influence of intoxicating substances or drugs that cause impairment besides alcohol could face driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) charges under Colorado law.

Marijuana is legal, but driving after smoking it isn’t 

Colorado leads the nation in marijuana reform when it became the first state in the country to allow for legal adult recreational use. Unfortunately, along with legalization came a host of other problems, not the least of which is people choosing to drive after consuming marijuana.

Not everyone who ingests marijuana understands the risk for safe driving. The state limits marijuana in the bloodstream to five nanograms per milliliter of blood. Many people below that threshold also overlook how dangerous combining alcohol and marijuana can be.

Illegal drugs can have an impact on someone’s driving

If a person gets pulled over while under the influence of a prohibited substance like cocaine or methamphetamine, they could easily find themselves facing criminal charges related to chemical impairment. If it is illegal for you to consume or possess a drug, it is likely also illegal for you to drive while under its influence.

Many prescription drugs affect driving ability

Just because a drug is legal doesn’t mean it is safe to use it while driving. Everything from muscle relaxers and painkillers to benzodiazepines or sleeping medication can impact someone’s ability to drive safely. Just because you have a prescription to the drug doesn’t mean that police will give you a free pass for driving while under its influence.

It’s also important for Colorado drivers to note that certain over-the-counter medications, like cold and cough drugs, could also lead to impaired driving charges if they taking large doses or exhibit symptoms of impairment during a traffic stop. Drugs, both legal and illegal, could lead to someone facing jail time, fines and the loss of their license if they don’t defend themselves.