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Where were you arrested? A DUI is a state offense, but each jurisdiction handles them slightly differently.

First Offense DUI - How Bad Can That Be? (Part 3 of 5)

As you can see from our last two blog posts, a first offense DUI in Arizona can be pretty bad. In our first blog in this series, we covered the 'catch all' charge under A.R.S. Section 28-1381(A)(1). In the second, we covered the one most people have heard of: A.R.S. Section 28-1381 (A)(2)- Blood Alcohol Content BAC .08 or above.

Most people don't realize that in Arizona, you can actually be charged with up to five different statutes (or laws) for just one incident. The third statute we will cover has to do with drugs- both illegal and prescription.

Delayed Consequences - DUI and Drugs

In Arizona, you do not have to be feeling any psychotropic effects of an illegal drug while you drive for you to be guilty of violating Section 28-1281 (A)(3). Yes, you read that right, NO EFFECTS.

In other words, you don't have to be high to violate the law. All that has to happen is for you to be pulled over, suspected of DUI and have your blood or urine tested. If either comes back positive for any amount of any illegal drug, OR THAT DRUG'S METABOLITE, then you are guilty of violating Section 28-1281 (A)(3) (also known as 'DUI Drugs').

Am I Safe If I Smoked Marijuana A Few Weeks Ago?

Let's say you were to smoke marijuana, and then three weeks later you were pulled over in Tempe (or any other Arizona city) because you were suspected of driving under the influence. And let's say you then were arrested and given a urine test (under threat of immediate driver's license suspension). Now, even if you had not ingested any marijuana in the last three weeks, if you still had a trace amount of marijuana metabolite in your urine, under the law, you are guilty of DUI in Arizona.

How Can Taking Prescription Medications Lead To A DUI?

Okay, let's say that you hurt your back and took a Vicodin (or any other pain medication) that your spouse or parent had in the medicine cabinet, but was not prescribed to you personally. And let's say that two days later, you were pulled over in Scottsdale (or any other Arizona city), completely sober, but a chemical test was performed nonetheless. If your chemical test comes back as having the slightest residual amounts of metabolites of the drug that you took, then you are guilty of DUI in the state of Arizona. The key in this scenario is that you were not the one who had been prescribed the medication by a licensed physician.

What is the Punishment for DUI Drugs?

The minimum that any court in Arizona can impose upon conviction (or offer in a plea agreement) for DUI Drugs is: (1) ten days in jail, nine of which can be suspended, (2) $1,250.00 in fines, (3) additional fees, (4) even more in surcharges, (5) mandatory attendance at an alcohol screening, and (6) having an ignition interlock installed in your car for twelve months.

The penalties for a first offense DUI in Arizona can be harsh. Even though there are guidelines that are followed, you can still receive up to 6 months in jail and a fine of $2,500.00.


I know this sounds self-serving, but your friend should retain representation immediately. The MVD ramifications of a DUID are very severe. As a result of Mesa’s blood testing policies, it may be possible to significantly mitigate some of those extremely harsh penalties.

I have a friend here in AZ who was pulled over and arrested for DUI a couple nights ago. She blew a .12 and submitted to the blood test, which was the only official test they asked her to do, unfortunately although she wasn’t high at the time she had smoked earlier that day.. So when the blood results come back and show marijuana in her system she will receive a DUID no matter what? And is that very likely to make her punishment more severe?

I was charged 3 years ago with dui metabolite not driving but keys were in the ignition cops took me to hospital i took my own medication pain medication prescribed to me and they new it then they did blood test now three years later i find out they opened the case a year after being dropped.This is in Arizona

Usually if charges are filed after a year or more, then they are being filed as felony charges. In Arizona there is a 1 year statute of limitations to file a misdemeanor charge and a seven year statute of limitations on most felony charges. Of course, there are some exceptions. In your situation, I wonder if the government has filed charges outside of the statute of limitations or for one reason or another is charging you with felony DUI. In either event, I would seriously recommend that you retain competent counsel.

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