In Arizona, driving under the influence (DUI) isn't restricted solely to alcohol; it encompasses various substances, including marijuana. If you've consumed marijuana, be it through smoking or ingesting edibles, and then operated a vehicle, you could find yourself facing suspicion of DUI. Despite some studies suggesting that marijuana users tend to drive more cautiously, a conviction for DUI marijuana can result in severe consequences, such as jail time, fines, and a criminal record.
It's important to note that being charged with a DUI for marijuana doesn't automatically lead to a conviction. The state prosecutor must prove every element of the DUI offense beyond a reasonable doubt, a challenging burden to meet. If there's any doubt in the judge or jury's mind regarding your guilt, your charges may be reduced or dismissed. Consequently, it's crucial to seek guidance from an experienced DUI defense attorney in Maricopa County to build a strong legal defense tailored to your specific situation.
If you find yourself facing a marijuana-related DUI charge in Phoenix, it is crucial to reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. Our law firm not only offers top-notch courtroom representation but is also board-certified in criminal law. This certification signifies that our firm is held to an elevated standard of performance compared to other criminal defense practices throughout Arizona.
We are dedicated to working closely with you to protect your rights and pursue the best outcome possible given, the specifics of your case. To provide you with a clear understanding of your options, we offer a complimentary case evaluation. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us today to arrange a consultation. Your future may depend on it.
In Phoenix, driving under the influence of marijuana is prohibited under Arizona Revised Statutes section 28-1381(A), in addition to DUI involving alcohol and other controlled substances. This means that individuals who consume marijuana and then operate a vehicle can be pulled over and arrested for DUI. Section 28-1381(A) specifies that an individual can be charged with DUI if they drive or have actual physical control of a vehicle while:
Under the influence of any intoxicating substance, including marijuana, to the slightest degree, impairing their ability to drive safely.
They have any controlled substance or its metabolite in their body.
An individual can be charged with DUI marijuana if they exhibit any impairment, no matter how slight, and have any amount of marijuana, drugs, controlled substances, or alcohol in their system.
To charge someone with DUI, they must either be driving the vehicle or have actual physical control (APC) of it. A motor vehicle is defined as a self-propelled vehicle or any vehicle propelled by fuel and operated on highways under Arizona law (ARS § 28-101(33)).
APC isn't precisely defined in Arizona law, but the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in Arizona v. Zaragoza that it depends on the totality of circumstances when the alleged offender's control of the vehicle posed a danger to the driver or the public at the time of arrest. This means that driving at the time of arrest isn't a strict requirement, and various factors, such as time of day, weather conditions, location within the vehicle, key placement, and the driver's state (awake or asleep), are considered.
A first marijuana DUI conviction in Arizona, classified under Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-1381(C), is a class 1 misdemeanor and carries mandatory penalties, including:
A second marijuana DUI offense within 48 months of any prior conviction can lead to penalties including:
While marijuana use is legal for various purposes in Arizona, driving under the influence of marijuana in Phoenix remains a serious offense with substantial legal consequences. Understanding the laws surrounding marijuana DUI charges, including what constitutes impairment and how chemical tests are conducted, is crucial for anyone living in or visiting Phoenix. If you find yourself facing marijuana DUI charges, seeking legal counsel is your best course of action to protect your rights and minimize the potential penalties.
If you're in need of a skilled attorney to handle your marijuana DUI case in Phoenix or the greater Phoenix area, Chad Pajerski is your trusted partner for expert legal representation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and take the first step toward securing your rights and your future.