Much controversy still surrounds the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, even though the state law approved use for medicinal by qualified card-holders. Users driving who are patients that possess a medical marijuana card arrest for both possession, and Drug DUI.
Marijuana Possession Charges
Under current law qualified patients of the MM cards may purchase 2.5 ounces of Marijuana every two weeks. However, despite the fact that a person may be a qualified MM card holder they risk arrest for illegal drug possession. Some County prosecutors are not recognizing its’ medicinal legality. This is because they feel it conflicts with Federal laws which prohibit the use of it for any reason. Some Maricopa County prosecutors have vowed to prosecute these charges. They will likely be convicted in lower court, and then be compelled to appeal a possession conviction to a higher court, until a ruling can be ordered by the Court of Appeals or the Arizona Supreme Court.
Drug DUI charges
Possession of a legal MM card will not prevent a motorist from getting a Drug DUI. The effects of Marijuana can stay in a person’s system for days, weeks, and even months depending on how much and often they use it. So if a driver tests positive for Marijuana following a DUI stop, they may be arrested even if the Marijuana did not cause their driving to be impaired to the slightest degree.
If in fact, the driver was not impaired to the slightest degree due to the Marijuana found in their system, they will have a justifiable defense against the DUI drug charges under Arizona Law.
Arizona Drug DUI Laws
Under Arizona Drug DUI law A.R.S. 28-1381 it is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle if they are:
• Under the influence of any drugs or alcohol; and
• Impaired to the slightest degree;
• While there is any drug defined in section A.R.S. 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s system
The law specifies that it is not a defense that a defendant was entitled to use the drug under Arizona Law. This will be charged as a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
Criminal Defense Attorney for Drug DUI and Possession Mesa, AZ
It is important that you consult an experienced criminal attorney to discuss your matter and options for defense following an arrest. You should never plead guilty to charges without first discussing the matter with your legal counsel or without their legal representation. The Arizona laws are very strict and the penalties are harsh. Sentencing includes jail time; fines; fees; drug or alcohol counseling and treatment; suspension of driver’s license; use of interlock device on vehicle; probation, and other penalties ordered by the court. Defenses should be argued by a qualified criminal attorney under Arizona Rules of criminal procedure through proper court channels. Successful challenges may lead to evidence suppression, charge dismissal or other favorable outcome in your case.
• Arizona Department of Health Services
• Arizona Legislature Revised Statutes
• Maricopa County Superior Drug Court