Will Recreational Marijuana Legalization Impact DUIs in Arizona?
Marijuana Legalization and DUI Law
Arizona is one of many states that have legalized the use of marijuana recreationally, not just for medicinal purposes. That means that if you have marijuana in your possession, you will not be required to produce a medical marijuana card proving that you are legally entitled to possess it.
Though people are now allowed to use marijuana for any reasons they choose, they are still not allowed to drive under the influence of marijuana or any other drug, legal or otherwise. Nor are they allowed to drive under the influence of alcohol.
DUI Arrests and Suspicion of Impairment
Typically, when an officer pulls someone over on suspicion of driving under the influence, they can administer a breathalyzer test that measures a person’s blood-alcohol content. However, if the person is under the influence of marijuana or another drug, the breathalyzer test is useless. Instead, the officer will have to rely on other symptoms they observe or will have to administer a series of field sobriety tests.
If you are showing signs of impairment, you can be arrested for DUI. It doesn’t matter if you were imbibing legally – it only matters that you were driving under the influence illegally. It is also important to remember that you can be arrested for having any amount of drugs or alcohol in your system if you are showing signs of impairment.
Testing to Prove Impairment
Unfortunately, there is not a quick and easy test to find out if someone is currently impaired by marijuana use. There is only a blood test to assess the presence of metabolites in your system. However, marijuana does not clear from your system quickly. So even if you used marijuana a week or a month ago, a blood test could show it in your system.
Under Arizona law, an officer does not have to show the presence of a drug or alcohol in your system to arrest you or for a court to convict you. You just have to show signs of impairment. If the officer reports that you are showing signs of impairment at the time of arrest and a test shows that you have marijuana metabolites in your system, that could make it hard for you to prove your innocence.
Mounting a DUI Defense
There are many reasons you could have been showing “signs of impairment” at the time of your arrest that do not mean that you were actually impaired. You could have a balance issue that causes you to fail a field sobriety test. You could have a speech impediment that makes it seem like you are slurring your speech. You could have simply been ill but still perfectly capable of driving safely.
It will be important to provide whatever evidence you can that you were not impaired or that the tests or evidence used against you were flawed in some way. The best way to do that is to work closely with an experienced Phoenix DUI defense attorney. A good DUI attorney will review every detail of your case to find all the information that can be challenged, from the symptoms of impairment reported, to the protocol the officer used, to the nature of the charges assessed. Your attorney will then look for ways to build a case in your favor, including evidence that you were driving responsibly. Your attorney will explore all legal options for undermining the case against you to help you avoid conviction. A DUI conviction can follow you for many years and can carry severe consequences, so your DUI attorney in Phoenix will do everything possible to help you avoid it.
Call My AZ Lawyers today if you are facing DUI charges. Our Phoenix DUI defense lawyers have been representing clients on DUI charges for many years, and they know the best strategies for challenging these charges and helping clients get the results they need. We’ll do everything we can to help you avoid conviction. Where that’s not possible, we’ll work to help you get reduced penalties so you can move forward faster after your conviction. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced DUI defense lawyer and learn more about your legal options.
20325 N 51st Avenue Suite #134, Building 5
Glendale, AZ 85308
Office: (602) 509-0955
2 East Congress St., Suite #900-6A
Tucson, AZ 85701
Office: (520) 441-1450
12725 W. Indian School Rd., Ste E, #101
Avondale, AZ 85392
Office: (623) 469-6603