DUI and Marijuana in Arizona

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

The criminal charge of Driving Under the Influence in Arizona means that one has been charged with driving a vehicle while impaired with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of .08 or higher.  In Arizona, this includes Driving Under the Influence of marijuana.images (3)

Althought Arizona allows medical marijuana use under limited circumstances; it is a crime to drive after such use, if driving is impaired.  It is not lawful to operate a vehicle while under in influence of any substance.  For example, any drug or metabolite in the person’s body that impairs the driver’s mental or physical faculties.  So, regardless of whether a driver is “impaired”, the mere presence of a drug in a driver’s body is grounds for a DUI charge.

Changes to the Arizona Supreme Court Ruling for THC

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that traces of inactive THC (the metabolite found in marijuana) whether taken legally or illegally.  Furthermore, it does not mean a person is automatically guilty of DUI.

Before this ruling, if you smoked pot and decided to drive, you were guilty of breaking a law.  The statute stated that it is unlawful for a person to drive or be in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of any drug if impaired even to the slightest degree.  You could also be prosecuted if there is any drug in your body while driving a vehicle.

 Technically, then, if you were around someone smoking marijuana and experienced second hand smoke inhalation, you could be charged with a DUI in Arizona if your driving was believed to be impaired.  Even if the State couldn’t prove that driving was “impaired,” you would still get charged for having the drug in your system and operating a vehicle.

State vs. Harris Arizona Supreme Court Ruling

In the State vs. Harris on April 22, 2014, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that “mere presence” of the metabolite is not valid evidence of impaired driving.  This ruling is important, because it will affect all prescription drugs such as:

  • high blood pressure medications
  • anti-depressants
  • drugs used for ADHD such as Adderall

The Arizona Supreme Court disagreed with “…a driver who tested positive for trace elements of a non-impairing substance could be pFotor1226164953rosecuted.”

The DUI laws in Arizona are enforced and consequences are harsh, but the last is not always as cut and dry as it seems.  If you have been charged with the crime of DUI in Arizona, it would be in your best interest to discuss the specifics of your case with an attorney at My AZ Lawyers.  My AZ Lawyers can help you make decisions about your case, and help you through the process.  In any event, schedule an appointment in office or over the phone.  My AZ Lawyers could dismiss or diminish the penalties of a DUI.

Arizona DUI Penalties

The penalties for a DUI in Arizona are the same whether a driver was impaired by alcohol or a drug or marijuana: (first conviction)

  • jail time
  • fines and fees
  • drug/alcohol screening and/or treatment program
  • license suspension
  • community service
  • probation
  • ignition interlock device installation

Second conviction DUI in Arizona

  • Jail time
  • fines and fees
  • community service
  • license suspension
  • ignition interlock device installation
  • drug treatment program
  • probation

Arizona Implied Consent

Anyone who operates a vehicle in Arizona gives the state an implied consent to a test that will determine the presence of a controlled substance in their system.  A driver’s license may be suspended for 12 months if a driver refuses to submit to the test, and evidence of refusal is admissible in any legal proceeding or action.

Lastly, if you have been arrested for a majiuana-related offense in Arizona, you face some severe penalties and consequences that could seriously affect your life and your future.  Contact My AZ Lawyers in order to seek legal advice and get options so that you can make responsible decisions regarding your case.  The experienced attorneys at My AZ Lawyers are familiar with Arizona DUI cases involving marijuana, and will advise you on the best way to proceed with your articular case, keeping your best interests and freedoms in mind.

Call (480) 833-8000