The Arizona State Supreme Court very recently made a significant ruling in the category of drugged DUI and marijuana use. Specifically, the court overturned a lower court’s decision that allowed law enforcement to prosecute marijuana users for DUI even when there is no evidence of impairment. In short, you can no longer be prosecuted for DUI just because there is evidence of marijuana metabolites in your blood. If you are not impaired at the time of the DUI stop, the issue of whether or not you have used marijuana will not be a contributing factor toward a DUI conviction.
This ruling takes into account what is now lawful medical marijuana use, and, in some states, lawful recreational use as well. Drug tests that determine the presence of marijuana metabolites reveal two different substances. One of these substances causes impairment and the other does not, but the non-impairing compound stays in the user’s system for weeks. In English: if you used marijuana and then a week or so later get picked up on a DUI, that non-impairing chemical cannot be used as evidence against you (unless you are impaired at the time of the stop).
Not all of the Justices agreed with the ruling. And some U.S. states still have no-tolerance statutes regarding marijuana use and DUI. This ruling will benefit people in Arizona who use marijuana for medical reasons. However, as of this writing, recreational marijuana use is still illegal in Arizona, and so is driving while drug-impaired. But laws, like many other things in our lives, continue to change and evolve.
As a DUI attorney in Arizona, I stay current with the laws that affect my clients. If you have questions or concerns about how any marijuana DUI-related laws may affect you, or you are seeking legal advice, please get in touch with us at Zachary Law Group. We offer a FREE 30-minute case evaluation, so we can talk about your issues. When we represent you, we’ll focus on the best possible outcome, and “Zach-It”! So give us a call soon, at 1-855-Zach-law.