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Arizona Drugged Driving Laws

Posted on October 15, 2021 in Drug DUI

Driving under the influence, or DUI, does not only refer to driving drunk in Arizona. It is also a crime to drive under the influence of intoxicating drugs – including prescription medications. If you get arrested for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) in Arizona, contact a Tempe drug DUI lawyer immediately to protect your legal rights. This type of charge can significantly impact your future.

When Can You Get Arrested for Drugged Driving?

In Arizona, it is against the law to be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of any impairing or intoxicating substance, including both drugs and alcohol. For the purpose of the state’s DUID law, being under the influence means being impaired to even the slightest degree by alcohol or having any amount of a “dangerous drug” in your system. The definition of a dangerous drug is wide in Arizona, and can include:

  • Illicit substances. Illegal drugs such as heroin, methamphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy.
  • Prescription medications. A drug the driver is taking after being prescribed it by a doctor.
  • Marijuana. Lawfully obtained recreational or medical marijuana under Arizona state law.

Even if you were legally allowed to possess or take the drug in question, if it appears to have altered your judgment, vision, reaction times or ability to control the motor vehicle in other ways, you could get arrested for alleged drugged driving in Arizona. This is why it is important to understand how a drug or medication will impact you before taking it and attempting to drive. You should also pay attention to drug warnings if they say not to operate heavy machinery.

The DUID Arrest Process

A police officer must have probable cause to pull you over before making an arrest for an alleged DUID in Arizona. If a police officer believes that your ability to safely control a motor vehicle is impaired to any extent by an intoxicating substance, he or she may arrest you for an alleged DUI. Signs such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and disorientation may point to drugged driving and result in an arrest. The officer will arrest you for suspected DUID and may order a blood test to check for drugs. 

You may be held in jail overnight or longer upon your arrest in Arizona. You will get to make a phone call, however, to request counsel. You have the right to have an attorney present while you are answering any questions asked by the police. Next, you will need to make an appearance for your first hearing, known as the arraignment, where you will hear the charges being brought against you. Your attorney can advise you on what to plead and help you craft your defense strategy from there.

Penalties for DUID in Arizona

It is important to have a qualified criminal defense attorney by your side during a drugged driving case. Arizona takes these crimes seriously, with penalties that can be severe enough to change your life. The most common penalties for a drugged driving conviction are fines, jail time, driver’s license suspension or revocation, mandatory alcohol education course, and an ignition interlock device. The cost of a DUID can easily reach into the thousands. The penalties will increase in a case involving a car accident caused by a drugged driver, or other aggravating factors.

How a Defense Attorney Can Help

A criminal defense lawyer in Arizona can help you come up with a defense that may be able to reduce the charges or penalties you face for a drugged driving charge. A lawyer will tailor your legal defense based on the unique circumstances of your case, including your criminal history and the evidence obtained during your arrest, if any. Then, your attorney can guide you through the criminal justice system to help you get past a difficult and overwhelming time in your life. Hiring an experienced DUID defense attorney can help you protect your future from the worst possible consequences of this type of criminal charge.

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