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Arizona DUI Defense Blog

Court ruling is a setback for prosecuting marijuana DUI charges

The legalization of marijuana for medical use in Arizona has created a whole new set of issues regarding marijuana DUI charges. Now, a recent court ruling will make it more difficult for prosecutors to convict individuals who are driving under the influence of marijuana with a DUI if they have a medical marijuana card.

Reported recently in Tucson .com, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that, "medical marijuana users cannot be convicted of driving while under the influence of the drug absent proof that they were actually impaired."

What exactly, though, does this ruling mean, and how will it affect the way marijuana DUI cases are prosecuted in the state of Arizona?

DUI consequences for healthcare workers

In Arizona, licensed Health Care workers have a duty to report a misdemeanor DUI arrest within ten days of the date of arrest. This presents some difficult problems for health care workers. First, it not only applies to doctors and nurses, but in Arizona this law applies to dental hygienists, veterinary technicians, athletic trainers, massage therapists, pharmacy technicians, respiratory therapists and dozens of others.

Even if the arrest does not result in a conviction, most Arizona health care licensing boards will start an investigation while the DUI is still pending in court. The health care worker is usually asked to send the Board the police reports, and meet with them. The Boards have the power to take an individual's medical license away, although it rarely happens for first offense misdemeanor DUI. They can take force an individual to get a substance abuse evaluation. Additionally, they can place an individual on probation. Some of the factors the board will examine are:

  • What your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was.
  • If you were charged with an Extreme DUI, it is likely that the Board will order an addiction evaluation.
  • How many prior DUI convictions you have had.
  • Whether you have a history of substance abuse.
  • Do you have a record of substance abuse with your past employers

    What does the Arizona Board of Nursing say?

    According to the Arizona State Board of Nursing website, the duty to report includes mandatory report (or self-reporting) of any conduct that involves:

    • Criminal charges, including misdemeanor or felony DUI, within 10 days of formal charges
    • Felony conviction, within 10 days
    • Misuse of alcohol or dependency on unprescribed chemical substances that may be detrimental to the safe performance of nursing responsibilities

It is essential for an individual with an Arizona Health Care provider licenses to act quickly and seek legal assistance with these complicated matters. If you find yourself facing charges related to DUI, you should seek out an experience criminal defense attorney and a professional license defense attorney. In addressing such cases, it is important to be proactive, and to know your rights, obligations and responsibilities as they apply to your duty to disclose an arrest or conviction, and how to defend against a licensing agency that seeks to inquiry about, or discipline a license based upon, a DUI.

PBT vs Intoxilyzer - Which one do I have to do?

A common misconception made by individuals pulled over for DUI is that all breathalyzers are equal. If you are stopped for suspicion of DUI, it is important that you know the difference between a Portable Breath Test (PBT) and an Intoxilyzer.

Is it wise to do a field sobriety test?

Often times when law enforcement stops a person suspected of a DUI, they will ask the person to conduct Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs). These tests can include the one leg stand, following the tip of a pen with your eyes (HGN test), the walk and turn, and other tests to determine if you are intoxicated. Knowing what to do when an officer asks you to perform these tests can be very important and make a huge difference in the outcome of your overall case.

What do I do when I'm getting pulled over by the police?

When you see a law enforcement officer activate his red and blue emergency lights, do not panic. First and foremost, begin to find a safe place to pull over. Do not keep driving to get to your final destination because a law enforcement officers are looking for additional "signs" to say that you are impaired.

Will a DUI hurt your chances of getting a mortgage?

Being charged with a DUI often carries consequences that extend beyond the legal ramifications of the crime. One common concern for people who have been charged and convicted for driving under the influence is whether or not their chances of getting a mortgage will take a hit. While the answer depends on a number of factors, there is certainly cause for concern.

DUIs and home loans

DUI and employment background checks

Everyone makes a mistake at some point in their lives. For the purposes of this hypothetical scenario, let’s assume that the mistake you made happened shortly after you turned 21. While out to dinner with friends, you have a couple of drinks and because you do not feel intoxicated, you decide to go ahead and drive yourself home. On your way home, you are pulled over by the police and admit to having had some drinks before getting behind the wheel. A breathalyzer test shows that you are just barely over the legal BAC recognized in Arizona, which is 0.08% for standard drivers (or 0.04% for drivers of commercial vehicles). Due to Arizona’s zero tolerance policy in regards to driving under the influence of alcohol, you find yourself being arrested for a DUI. 

Obviously, nobody is thrilled to be getting a DUI - but you might feel that it’s best in a situation like this one to simply accept responsibility for your actions, even if you may feel that the punishment is a little too harsh for the crime. But deciding to plead guilty can result in very unfavorable consequences years later when a prospective employer runs a standard background check on you prior to making a hiring decision. Suddenly, you may find yourself passed over for a job based on your DUI arrest and/or conviction.

Arrested for DUI after you pulled into your driveway?

Consider the following hypothetical scenario - you’ve gone out to celebrate good news with friends. Over dinner and good conversation, someone buys one last round of drinks. You have your last drink, maybe one more than you normally would, but you don’t really feel as though it was excessive. On your drive home, you find yourself feeling a little more intoxicated than you thought you were. You catch yourself swerving a little once or twice, but are relieved to make it to your house without incident. You park in your driveway, head inside and go straight to bed. 

It’s a certainty that situations just like this play out somewhere every day. While most people probably get home and make their way to bed, considering themselves lucky and telling themselves they’ll be more careful in the future, sometimes nights like this end with a very unpleasant surprise - police officers at your door with a breathalyzer and a DUI arrest. 

Explaining DUI blood alcohol concentration (BAC)

All drivers in Arizona, regardless of their own possible experience with DUI charges, should at least be somewhat familiar with the procedures that are followed when someone is pulled over by the police and there is reason to believe that they might be intoxicated. One of the key components of Arizona’s notoriously strict approach to drinking and driving relies on what is commonly referred to as the driver's BAC  (blood alcohol concentration) at the time of the traffic stop. But what does that really mean? How much does the average person know how the BAC is calculated and whether it is accurate evidence of being over the DUI limit?  And more importantly, are the results of these tests as infallible as we’ve been led to believe? 

Is Utah’s .05 BAC law a glimpse into Arizona’s future?

The state of Arizona does not fool around when it comes to drinking and driving. Our laws regarding driving under the influence are, let’s be honest, somewhat infamously strict when compared to the rest of the country. But is it possible for a state to create DUI laws that are so restrictive that they cease to be truly beneficial?

This question may have an answer relatively soon, thanks to a new DUI law in Utah which is currently set to go into effect at the end of 2018. 

We play an active role in the civic life of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
We support Scottsdale's Taste of the Town festival that benefits the local chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association as well as the annual Toys for Tots campaign. Our firm also contributes to a number of other local organizations, including Home 'Fur' Good, a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating the euthanasia of adoptable homeless cats and dogs in Maricopa County.
AACJ Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb Top Attorney DUI Super Lawyers Arizona Trial Lawyers Association Attorney At Law Magazine Contributing Editor Arizona Attorneys For Criminal Justice Established 1986

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