In 2010, Arizona legislature legalized the use of medically prescribed marijuana for individuals suffering from certain, defined conditions. Proposition 203, approved by voters in 2010, removes criminal penalties for the use and possession of cannabis by medical patients who can produce "written certification." Patients who qualify for such certification under this new law include those diagnosed with cancer, glaucoma, Crohn's disease, Alzheimer's disease, hepatitis C, Lou Gehrig's disease and those tested positive for HIV or AIDS.
Other patients may qualify if they suffer from any chronic or debilitating medical condition that produces certain severe symptoms. After a narrow vote margin of just over 50 percent, Arizona joined 17 other states that have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana. Therefore, if you've been charged with DUI for your medical marijuana use, it is imperative that you speak with a Phoenix DUI attorney from the Rosenstein Law Group for the help that you both need and deserve at this time.
Call us today at 480-248-7666 for a free consultation.
Blood Content Limits for Marijuana
Despite the legality of its use, Arizona legislature has yet to enact a blood-content limitation in order to set a standard for driving laws. Unlike other states such as Washington, where the state is taking measures to adopt standards for regulating the use of medical marijuana, Arizona still counts medical marijuana in the list of "any drugs" concerning a driving standard for blood content. Arizona Revised Statute § 28.1381 states that it is unlawful to drive under the influence of "any drug" to the "slightest degree." What this means for patients who have been certified for the use of medical cannabis is that there is no fixed standard for how much medical marijuana can or cannot be in their system while operating a vehicle. Unlike the standardized tests for blood alcohol content that provides a guilty presumption only for drivers with a BAC of over .08, the approach to medical marijuana is harsher and relies heavily on the subjective analysis of the law enforcement officer at the scene.
While a medical marijuana card will protect individuals from being charged with a possession violation of cannabis, it cannot exempt from DUI charges. That is why it is important, as with the use of any substantial amount of alcohol, to plan ahead when using medical marijuana. Regardless of how competent the driver may feel at the time, the slightest driving infraction committed while marijuana is in the body can result in a DUI charge if such a determination is made by the officer. Because the risk of such a charge relies on the subjective analysis of the officer and can vary from case to case, it is in the best interest of medical marijuana users to err on the side of caution when considering operating a vehicle.
Penalties for Medical Marijuana DUI
Since there are no set standards that separate legal use of medical marijuana from other drugs on the subject of driving, the penalties for a drug DUI charge is the same as any other substance. Conviction of DUI under ARS §28.1381 will result in being guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor and subjection to numerous fines and sanctions. If the accused can produce written certification for their marijuana prescription, they will not be subject to any drug possession charges pursuant to ARS §13.3409. However, sanctions and penalties may increase for DUI charges concerning medical marijuana based on the severity of the driving infractions or if the charges are repeated.
Work With a Phoenix DUI Lawyer
Since the law states that the driving must be impaired to the "slightest degree" in order to warrant an arrest for drug DUI, the prosecutor on the case will have the burden of providing evidence of this impairment. The standard for such impairment is low. However, defense against drug charges concerning medical marijuana are possible for DUI defense attorneys with knowledge of Arizona laws on the subject. Since the prosecution must prove that the driver was under the influence of marijuana, blood and urine tests must be administered in order to provide evidence of this. This makes the tests subject to scrutiny by the defense attorney and the right Phoenix DUI lawyer will be able to argue against this evidence based on the legality, reliability and administration of these tests.
Rosenstein Law Group is a firm dedicated to the defense of clients against DUI charges of all types. Board-Certified in DUI Defense, attorney Rosenstein holds the highest level of competence in DUI law, drug recognition and field sobriety testing — crucial factors that can be applied to your defense. If you have been charged with drug DUI concerning the use of medical marijuana, contact a Phoenix DUI attorney at our firm to discuss your case and how we may assist you in defending against the charges. There is too much at stake to risk a drug DUI conviction.
Get a Strong Advocate on Your Side
Equip yourself with reliable and proven DUI defense by hiring Rosenstein Law Group as your advocate. Call us today at 480-248-7666 or complete this form for a free consultation.
We defend people facing DUI charges in Phoenix, Scottsdale and other cities in Arizona.
If you need assistance in procuring a medical marijuana card, please contact Dr. Burns here