Arizona is one of the strictest states when it comes to punishing individuals for impaired driving, and the laws are stringent when it comes to being under the influence of drugs. Even though Proposition 207 passed and the recreational usage and possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is now legal in Arizona, it is still illegal to drive impaired.
Driving under the influence of marijuana or any controlled substance can negatively impact a driver’s reactions and puts other drivers on the road at risk. If a police officer suspects you of driving while impaired, they can pull you over, and if they determine that you are impaired, you are facing serious charges.
Being arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana is very serious in Arizona, and the penalties you will face are severe. If you have been arrested for a marijuana DUI, it’s best to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you with your case.
Proposition 207 Effect on Marijuana DUI in Arizona
Proposition 207 went into effect in late 2020, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana by adults 21 years of age and older — similar to how alcohol is legal to consume by adults over the age of 21.
Because all drugs and alcohol can negatively impact your ability to drive, it is still illegal to be under the influence of marijuana (or to have any in your system) while driving a vehicle in Arizona.
How Do the Police Test You For a Marijuana DUI?
Once a police officer has pulled you over under the suspicion of driving while impaired, they need to determine whether you have any drugs or alcohol in your system that affect your driving ability. To see if you are impaired, the police officer will run one or multiple of the following tests on you:
When the police officer pulls you over, the first thing they will do is ask you for your license, registration, and proof of insurance and ask you some basic questions. During this time, the officer observes you to hear if your speech is slurred or if there are open alcohol containers, drug paraphernalia, or the smell of marijuana.
If the officer notices anything that would insinuate that you are driving under the influence, they will continue with more tests.
Field Sobriety Test
If the police officer suspects that you are driving under the influence, they will ask you to complete a field sobriety test. This test is wildly inaccurate, and you have the right to deny taking it.
One of the most common tools police use when determining if someone is driving while impaired is a breathalyzer test. This test can determine if there is alcohol in your system or not, but it cannot determine if you are under the influence of drugs.
The sure way to determine if someone is under the influence of drugs is through chemical testing, including blood tests and urine tests. These samples need to be taken by officers qualified and trained in phlebotomy or by certified medical professionals and are then sent to a lab to be tested. This process is time-consuming, and if the police elect for this test, they will transport you to a different location to collect the sample.
Marijuana DUI Penalties in Arizona
The first offense for a Marijuana DUI is a Misdemeanor. The penalties are as follows:
- Minimum of 1 to 10 days in jail
- Driver’s license suspension up to 90 days
- Mandatory drug screening, education, counseling, or treatment
- Fines, fees
- Probation or Community Service
A second Marijuana DUI is also a Misdemeanor, but it comes with more severe penalties:
- Minimum three months jail, with 30 days consecutive
- Driver’s License Revocation for one year
- Fines, fees
- Mandatory drug education, screening, counseling
- Probation and/or community service
A third offense within seven years results in an aggravated DUI, which is a felony and has the following penalties:
- Four months in prison
- Eight months in prison for subsequent offenses after a third DUI
- Fines, fees
- Driver’s license revocation for three years
- Loss of your vehicle
- Mandatory drug education, counseling, or treatment
- Parole, probation, and community service
Getting Help With Marijuana DUI Charges
As JacksonWhite’s criminal defense team, we have years of experience representing clients who have been charged with driving under the influence. We know the ins and outs of what it takes to lower felony charges to misdemeanors and helping their clients avoid jail time and unnecessary fines. If you have been charged with a marijuana DUI, Arizona’s best drug defense attorneys are here to help.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 418-4281 to schedule a free case review today.