Consider this scenario: you’re driving down the street and a friend is sitting next to you in the passenger seat. After you’ve been on the road for a while, your friend pulls out a blunt and decides to light it in your car and smoke it while you drive. You’re not 100 percent sure about how legal it is for someone to smoke marijuana in a car on the road –even if they are not behind the wheel– but you’re not sure you should say anything or if your friend would take you seriously and get rid of it anyway.
Unfortunately, as your friend smokes, you pass a police car and the officer inside sees your friend doing it. You get pulled over, but what is going to happen next? Is your friend in trouble even though they weren’t the one driving? Are you now in trouble even though you weren’t the person smoking and don’t have any drugs in your system?
Smoking Marijuana on the Road
In Colorado, it’s only legal to smoke marijuana on private property or in a hotel that permits the use of this drug. When you take this law and apply it to a street scenario, it means that smoking it while you are in a vehicle on public property —which includes state roads, highways and streets— is not legal. Therefore, even if you were smoking it in your car on the street where you live, you are still not doing it in an area where it is legal.
When you apply this law to the potential scenario with your friend outlined above, it’s clear the police would be able to charge your friend for illegal possession of marijuana. Although they weren’t driving your car, your friend was still using the drug on public property at the time.
Can You Be Charged?
Your friend is likely to be charged, but you may be wondering if you’re facing the same consequences in this situation. Essentially in Colorado, you can be charged with a traffic offense related to marijuana if you have a marijuana product in your car with the seal broken, some of the product missing —this indicates it’s been consumed— and there is some evidence it was used in the car. The police can charge you for using marijuana while driving based on the simple fact that your friend was using it, which suggests you were, even if you weren’t.
Even though the use of marijuana is legal in Colorado, you still need to hire a criminal lawyer if you are being charged with an offense related to it. It’s still possible to be criminally charged and convicted of offenses related to marijuana, and the consequences can be far-reaching, affecting your life at home and even your career. An experienced criminal lawyer, like a criminal defense lawyer in Denver, CO, will defend your rights from the onset of the case regardless of the situation you have found yourself in, so it’s wise to get representation as soon as you possibly can.
Thanks to the Law Office of Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into what happens if your friend uses marijuana in your car while you are driving.
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