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Colorado testing roadside drug detection device

Impaired driving in Colorado includes not only drunk driving, but also driving under the influence of drugs. Coloradans may be familiar with breath tests and other blood-alcohol tests as a means of determining whether a driver is driving under the influence of alcohol. But a recent program aims to provide police in the state with a device that can help them detect whether an individual is driving under the influence of drugs.

A three-year pilot program has begun that would provide Colorado police with a testing device that would detect whether a driver has certain drugs in his or her system, including marijuana. The devices test the driver's saliva via a cheek swab. The device then provides police with an electronic readout regarding whether the driver has certain types of drugs in his or her system.

The information provided by the device could provide officers who stop a driver with the information needed to establish probable cause for the purpose of placing the driver under arrest. Although the use of marijuana is legal in Colorado, the legal limit of THC a person may have when behind the wheel is no more than five nanograms.

While it remains to be seen how such tests will hold up in a court of law, it is important to remember that police must obtain the driver's consent to be tested under this pilot program. It is important also to remember that any roadside sobriety test can have its inaccuracies. Testing instruments must be properly calibrated and administered, and field sobriety tests can be subjective. Therefore, anyone who is concerned that they have unfairly been accused of DUI should seek the advice they need to learn more about their rights in such situations.

Source: KDVR.com, "Colorado State Patrol troopers testing marijuana DUI devices," Rob Low, Jan. 26, 2016

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