Marijuana Defenses in Arizona
As of November of 2020, marijuana use is now legal in the state of Arizona. This legality is only found through the passing of Proposition 208, however. Despite this legality for recreational or medical use, you can face a DUI on marijuana if you drive while under the influence of the drug.
The lawyers at Gurion Legal fully understand how difficult these new marijuana laws are to comprehend. It is difficult even for police officers to determine if someone faces impairments when driving under the influence of the drug. If you get pulled over with marijuana, talk to a criminal defense team who can help.
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What is Arizona Proposition 207?
Proposition 207’s name is the “Smart and Safe Arizona Act.” The state of Arizona put the proposition for a vote in the November elections, and those living in the state decided to pass it. Over 60% of individuals did vote in favor of legalizing marijuana in the state.
The legal basis of this proposition is only for adults who are over the age of 21. Not only is the drug legal to use, but it is also taxable now in the state, meaning businesses can make a profit off of its sale. Legal issues remain, however, with marijuana DUI or driving under the influence of the drug so that it impairs you.
You can only transport less than two and a half ounces, so long as you do not smoke the drug. You also are unable to transport or possess more than six plants if you decide to try growing it yourself. These are all essential factors in your marijuana-related convictions that you may face.
Understanding a DUI on Marijuana
A DUI on Marijuana is still considered an offense under Arizona code ARS 28-1381. Under this law, a marijuana DUI occurs when you consume any marijuana while operating a motor vehicle and are impaired to the slightest degree by an active metabolite of marijuana (THC). You can receive this conviction if your blood test shows a presence of marijuana or if you show signs of impairment. Again, you do have to be over the age of 21.
If an officer suspects the use of marijuana, you will be asked to consent to a blood test. If you refuse, you may have your license suspended for up to a year, and the officer will then usually get a warrant to have your blood drawn anyways.
These penalties and other consent measures are in code ARS 28-1321. The consequences for the DUI are in ARS 28-1381. If you have questions about whether to consent or not you should call an attorney immediately before making any decision.
When you take a blood test, it will detect the presence of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) within your bloodstream. If there is any presence of THC at all, you may face a conviction of a marijuana DUI. The officer may also administer roadside tests like asking you to walk a straight line to indicate impairment.
DUI While on Medical Marijuana
Even though you have a prescription for medical marijuana, you can still face a marijuana DUI for impaired driving. Again, you can present your card that shows the legality of the marijuana, but this does not affect the officer’s choice. The difference in the two laws is a point of confusion, however. The confusion comes from the fact that medical marijuana laws state you can have the drug with you as long as you have the card.
Some attorneys work to ensure that the presence of a medical marijuana card is a strong defense.
Having a medical marijuana card is a defense to a drug DUI under ARS 28-1381A3, but not under 28-1381A1.
What Does Actual Physical Control Mean?
To receive a charge of a DUI, you do not need to drive. A lack of driving means you do not have to be going down a road for a charge. You only have to be in control of the vehicle.
Considerations behind a charge include:
- If you parked the vehicle and turned it off
- If you were in the driver’s seat
- If you were awake in your vehicle
- If the keys were in the ignition of the vehicle
- If you pulled over first
- If the battery was on in the vehicle
- If you put on your seatbelt as if you were to drive
Every case behind a DUI charge is different. It requires a review of the evidence to determine if you were in physical control. Even if you were temporarily living in your vehicle and parked, you may not face the potential penalties that come from the DUI.
First-Time DUI or DWI Consequences
Alcohol-related and marijuana-related DUIs all face the same penalties. For repeat cases of marijuana DUIs, you will receive harsher consequences.
First-time Marijuana DUI offenses face the following consequences depending on your case:
- Minimum of 10 days in jail
- Potential 24 hours in jail with drug-related classes
- Fines of at least $1,600
- Substance abuse treatments for sobriety, unless medical reasons present
- License suspension of at least 90 days
- Traffic safety school and eight driving record points
- Probation possible depending on the severity of your case
- Community service is possible if the judge determines to order it
To better understand the jail time penalties, you may only face 24 hours in a cell. Nine days can be suspended upon the successful completion of any variety of substance abuse and safety courses concerning DUIs. Be sure to speak with your Phoenix DUI lawyer if you have an interest in lowering your sentencing in this way so that you can remain home.
Second DUI or DWI within 7 Years
Second-time marijuana DUIs are also misdemeanors. In the state of Arizona, a second-time offense can occur any time within seven years after the time of your first offense.
Penalties are more significant for these second-time offenses, and you will spend more time in jail. You can still shorten your sentence, however, through an approved substance abuse treatment course.
- At least 90 days spent in jail
- Substance abuse treatment plans with approved facilities in the state of Arizona
- At least 30 community service hours in your local district
- Probation of no more than five years
- Driver’s license suspension for at least a year
- Traffic safety courses under a certified instructor and eight points put on your driving record
Third DUI or DWI within 7 Years
Being arrested and convicted of a third DUI within a seven-year timeframe, including if you use marijuana or alcohol, is the most serious of all the convictions. These are class four felonies, and the technical name for the charge is a felony aggravated DUI. You will notice that the consequences are much more stressful to go through for this conviction.
It is not possible to lower your jail sentencing with this felony conviction either. You do have to spend at least four months behind bars, no matter what. You do still have to complete substance abuse classes, however, after you leave jail. These instructors in the classes will teach you about the harms of driving while under the influence of THC.
- Minimum of four months spent in jail
- Payment of a fine equating to at least $4,000
- Treatment courses concerning substance abuse under the supervision of an approved instructor or treatment facility
- Probation of no more than five years with an approved parole officer to aid
- Revocation of a driver’s license for at least three consecutive years
- Traffic survival classes taught by an approved instructor with approved certification
- Eight points on your driving record in the state of Arizona
Additional Marijuana DUI Lawyer Defense Tactics
Even if this is your third offense, there are still defenses available for your marijuana-related DUI. Proposition 207 helps with the criminal defense especially.
Attorneys at Gurion Legal will process through all the evidence along with you to bring you a positive outcome.
Suspicion Beyond Reasonable Doubt
In order for a police officer to even pull you over, there must be a suspicion beyond reasonable doubt that some kind of infraction or crime has been observed. Police officers cannot validly just pull you over and arrest you for no reason.
No Probable Cause
The police literally cannot arrest you without reason. If the legal team takes you in without evidence, criminal defendants are ready. Any developed evidence after the arrest should not count towards the charge.
Miranda Rights Violation
You may know that when you face an arrest, police must read you your Miranda rights. If you received an interrogation before hearing your rights, you have a solid defense. Any information you discuss with the police will not be legally valid.
Scientific Evidence & Accuracy
The final defense criminal defendants have readily available in the scientific evidence. No studies indicate that marijuana use leads to significant impairment behind the wheel. It is also nearly impossible for scientists to determine a 100% accurate level of impairment in the THC.
Speak Today to a Marijuana DUI Lawyer at Gurion Law
The DUI defense team at Gurion Legal may have other defenses not mentioned above. Other tactics could include errors in blood tests or even tolerance to marijuana. You should trust and be honest with your criminal defendants, however, so they can help you.
Give Gurion Legal a call today to discuss your case during a free consultation (480) 800-0020. It doesn’t cost you anything and typically takes only 30-60 minutes to determine the best course of action to get the charges reduced, or even the entire marijuana DUI dismissed.
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