It’s easy to avoid an being stopped for impaired or intoxicated driving, right? Just don’t use alcohol or other substances that could impair you.
If it were that easy, we wouldn’t see so many people arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs in Colorado.
We all understand that driving sober is the ideal. Unfortunately, the reason it’s illegal to drive under the influence of these substances is that they often impair your judgment in addition to affecting your driving performance. That means that people can and do make mistakes. Here are a few ways to avoid them:
Never have open containers of alcohol or unsealed marijuana in your car. Colorado has a strict open container law which makes it illegal to have open containers in the passenger compartment of your car, even if you haven’t been partaking. If police officers see an open container in your vehicle, they may simply give you an open container ticket, or they may suspect you are driving under the influence. Save yourself the trouble by only carrying sealed containers of liquor or bud and always stowing them in the trunk, if you have one.
Make a plan to get home after you’ve partaken. In the case of marijuana, Colorado police can arrest you for DUI if they suspect that you are impaired or intoxicated by marijuana. “Impaired” in this context means impaired even to the slightest degree. You could still be impaired for some time after you stop feeling high or drunk. Don’t risk it. Make a plan in advance — you might not be up to the task if your judgment is impaired.
Be aware that legally prescribed drugs can impair you. There are large classes of drugs that can impair driving, and many of them are legally prescribed. A few of them include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, antihistamines, sleep aids, opioids and even stimulants, according to the FDA. These drugs often come with warnings not to drive or operate machinery until the patient is familiar with the effects. However, some people underestimate the effects — and the effects can be different or more impairing when two or more drugs are mixed.
Be extra careful around DUI checkpoints. Even if you haven’t been drinking or smoking weed, a sobriety checkpoint can be nerve-wracking. In most cases, police will be stopping drivers according to a predetermined, random pattern. In others, police may stop every car that comes through the checkpoint. If you go through a checkpoint, drive slowly and carefully and comply with all police commands. If you’re arrested for DUI or DWAI, contact an attorney as soon as possible.