New Ruling Does Not Change Arizona DUI Laws

arizona dui lawsArizona has been at the forefront of medical marijuana laws for years now. Since 2010, when voters approved the use of medical marijuana, we have seen an ever-evolving body of law in the state. Many law enforcement officials have struggled to figure out what people can and cannot have in their possession. A recent state Supreme Court ruling that allows those with medical marijuana cards to possess cannabis extracts shows how the laws continue to change.

However, the Arizona Department of Public Safety director has a message for the public – you can still be arrested for DUI if you are under the influence of drugs while driving. Today, we are going to discuss this case and can happen if you are pulled over and arrested for a drug DUI. You may need to secure assistance from an Arizona DUI defense attorney.

What are we talking about here?

We know that dealing with medical marijuana has not been easy for Arizona’s law enforcement officials and the court system. While there are certain limits on how much a person can legally carry if they have their medical marijuana cards, there have still been unlawful arrests made against people who legally carry.

Recently, the state Supreme Court said that cardholders can carry and have in their possession hashish and other marijuana extracts. This decision reversed a lower-court ruling that allowed police to arrest people for possession of any marijuana extract not specifically outlined in the 2010 voter-approved law.

However, Col. Frank Milstead, director of the AZDPS, says “Just because the Supreme Court said you can now possess those with your medical marijuana card, it does not mean that you can drive impaired or drive under the influence of those.”

Yes, you can get a DUI after using marijuana or any other substance that causes impairment. Two Arizona laws deal with drug DUI charges:

  • R.S. 28-1381(A)(1) says it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree.
  • R.S. 28-1381(A) says it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while there is any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body. Drugs defined under section 13-3401 include most drugs that are illegal to possess.

These statutes can become tricky when it comes to DUIs. Yes, we understand that people should not drive impaired. However, how do we measure impairment for someone who is suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana or another drug? For alcohol, we have a blood alcohol test.

The law is written so that a person with a drug’s metabolite in their system can be charged with DUI. The problem is that many drugs’ metabolites stay in a person’s system for days or weeks after they use them. A person who uses marijuana, legally or illegally, could face DUI charges even if they are not impaired by the drug at all.

What happens after you are charged?

When the handcuffs go onto you or a loved one, that is not the time to sit back and wait. The charges are coming, and you need to secure help from a skilled Arizona DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.

Why do you need an attorney?

Above, you saw what the consequences for DUI are. On top of that, you may end up facing drug charges as well. Do not let this get out of control. Let your attorney get out in front of this and control the narrative. The ultimate goal is to build a defense to get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether.

Click here for information on CDL and DUI in Arizona.