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June 21, 2024

Navigating Arizona’s Marijuana DUI Laws

Filed under: Marijuana DUI Law — admin @ 10:37 am

Overview of Arizona’s DUI Laws

Arizona has some of the strictest DUI (Driving Under the Influence) laws in the United States. Although medical marijuana was legalized in 2010 and recreational marijuana in 2020, driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal. Drugs and alcohol receive equal attention under Arizona law when it comes to DUI offenses. Drivers can be prosecuted for driving while impaired by marijuana just as they would for alcohol.

Marijuana Impairment Testing

Testing for marijuana impairment in Arizona typically involves a combination of field sobriety tests, chemical tests, and drug recognition expert (DRE) evaluations:

  1. Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs): These are standardized physical and cognitive tests conducted by law enforcement officers at the roadside to assess a driver’s level of impairment. Common FSTs include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand test. However, FSTs are less reliable for detecting marijuana impairment compared to alcohol.
  2. Chemical Tests:
    • Blood Tests: The most common method for detecting marijuana impairment is through a blood test, which measures the concentration of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component of marijuana, in the bloodstream. Arizona has a “per se” DUI law, which means that any detectable amount of THC can potentially result in a DUI charge.
    • Urine Tests: While less common, urine tests can also be used. However, these tests are less reliable for determining current impairment because THC can remain in the system for days or even weeks after use.
  3. Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Evaluations: A DRE is a law enforcement officer specially trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs. The evaluation involves a 12-step process that includes FSTs, vital sign measurements, and interviews to determine whether a driver is impaired by substances other than alcohol.

Penalties for Marijuana DUI

The penalties for a marijuana DUI in Arizona are severe and increase with subsequent offenses:

  1. First Offense:
    • Jail Time: A minimum of 10 consecutive days in jail, though 9 days may be suspended if the offender completes a drug screening, education, or treatment program.
    • Fines and Fees: Fines start at $1,250, but additional fees and assessments can significantly increase the financial burden.
    • License Suspension: The driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days.
    • Community Service: Mandatory community service hours may be imposed.
    • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): While typically associated with alcohol DUIs, an IID may be required at the court’s discretion.
  2. Second Offense:
    • Jail Time: A minimum of 90 days in jail, with at least 30 days served consecutively.
    • Fines and Fees: Fines start at $3,000, with additional fees and assessments.
    • License Revocation: The driver’s license will be revoked for one year.
    • Community Service: Increased community service hours are mandatory.
    • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): Mandatory installation of an IID for at least one year after the reinstatement of the driver’s license.
  3. Aggravated DUI: This applies to offenders with multiple DUI convictions, those driving on a suspended license, or those with a minor under 15 in the vehicle.
    • Prison Time: A minimum of 4 months in prison.
    • Fines and Fees: Substantial fines and fees.
    • License Revocation: License revocation for 1 to 3 years.
    • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): Mandatory installation of an IID for at least two years.

Why You Should Hire Blumenreich Law Firm When Facing Marijuana DUI Charges

Due to the state’s strict laws and severe penalties, facing a marijuana DUI charge in Arizona can be extremely stressful. Hiring an experienced DUI attorney is imperative for several reasons:

DUI Law Expertise

We specialize in DUI cases and have in-depth knowledge of Arizona’s DUI laws, including the nuances of marijuana-related charges. We understand the legal standards and requirements that the prosecution must meet to prove impairment, and can leverage this knowledge to build a strong defense.

Navigating Legal Procedures

The legal process for a DUI case involves numerous steps, from the initial arrest and arraignment to pre-trial motions and potential trial. We can guide you through each stage, ensuring all paperwork is filed correctly and deadlines are met. This helps avoid procedural errors that could jeopardize your case.

Challenging Evidence

Blumenreich Law Firm can scrutinize the evidence against you, including the methods used to test for impairment. We can present challenges to the accuracy of field sobriety tests, the validity of chemical tests (blood or urine), and the qualifications of the officers or DREs involved. We exploit weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence to your advantage.

Protecting Your Rights

Throughout the legal process, having someone who will protect your constitutional rights is essential. We will ensure that any evidence obtained unlawfully is excluded from the case. We also represent you in court and negotiate with prosecutors to seek reduced charges or alternative sentencing options.

Minimizing Penalties

If you are convicted of a marijuana DUI, Blumenreich Law Firm can advocate for the minimum possible penalties. We can argue for reduced jail time, lower fines, and alternative sentencing options like community service or treatment programs. This can help mitigate the long-term impact of a DUI conviction on your life.

Emotional Support and Guidance

We not only provide legal expertise but also offer emotional support and reassurance. They can answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you understand what to expect, reducing the anxiety associated with the legal process.

If you have been charged with a Marijuana DUI, please contact Blumenreich Law Firm for expert legal defense.