The following scenario is becoming more and more prevalent in Arizona. A person is pulled over for some very minor driving offense (like having a license plate light out or turning into the middle lane and not the curb lane), and a police officer approaches and asks if they’ve had anything to drink. The person then honestly answers that they’ve had one beer with dinner. That person trusts police officers, so, even though they do not believe they were driving while impaired, they comply with every request, hoping to be let go, only to be told that they’ve failed all of the balancing tests and are being arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. The person’s car is then towed, and he or she is taken to a police station and held until a phlebotomist arrives and draws his or her blood. The person’s blood alcohol level is accurately tested, and it comes in as expected: way below the legal limit, perhaps a 0.00 BAC.
The problem is that instead of receiving an apology, the person could be told that their blood is being sent back out for drug testing. It is the policy of many Arizona crime labs to automatically test blood for drugs (legal and illegal) when blood alcohol results are returned under the legal limit. So, how does this affect our innocent, non-impaired driver? Well, if that person had taken a prescription pain killer two days earlier, then the Prosecutor’s office may argue that the combination of drugs (regardless of the amount) and alcohol (the one beer) combined to impair the person to the slightest degree, and the person could be charged with a DUI. Or, if that person smoked marijuana three weeks earlier in California when they were on vacation, and there were metabolites of the drug in his or her system, then the Prosecutor’s office would likely charge the person with DUI drugs.
The biggest problem is that by the time the person realizes that they’ve been caught in this nightmare, it may be a long time after the arrest occurred. As a result, it is important that even if you are innocent and arrested for a DUI in Arizona, you immediately call a competent Arizona DUI defense attorney at 480-248-7666 to discuss your options and possible issues.