Medical marijuana usage in Arizona is becoming more widespread every year. It can have great health benefits but can also land you in trouble if you are driving in El Mirage or other parts of Arizona. You can still be convicted of a DUI for driving under the influence of medical marijuana, even if you have a perfectly valid medical marijuana card.
How Can You Be Arrested For Drug DUI With Medical Marijuana Card?
A common misconception is that an Arizona Medical Marijuana Card will protect you against DUI charges if you are arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana. To understand why this is a misconception, you need to know that there are two different ways that a person can be charged with a DUI if they have marijuana in their system:
Unfortunately, a medical marijuana DUI is treated the same as any other DUI involving drugs when it comes to penalties. That means that a person charged with driving under the influence of medical marijuana faces the same penalties as a person that is charged with driving under the influence of illegal drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine, or heroin. If convicted for a medical marijuana DUI you will face the following penalties:
Many people have a medical marijuana card and for whatever reason there is a lapse in time between when the card expires and when they renew the card. If you are in this situation, know that even if you renew your medical marijuana card right after your arrest, it will not be a defense to the DUI charges. The same applies for people that intended on getting a medical marijuana card but pushed it off; evidence of obtaining a medical marijuana card after your arrest will not be a defense to the charges.
If you find yourself in this situation, there may be other ways to challenge your DUI arrest based on the forensic testing, reason for the traffic stop, improper police investigation or violation of your constitutional rights.
If you are charged with a DUI and you have a medical marijuana card, while you may be in a better position than someone without a medical marijuana card, you are not out of the woods just yet. Prosecutors will still attempt to obtain a conviction by alleging that you were impaired to the slightest degree by marijuana. If convicted, you will face the same punishments as someone who was convicted of driving while under the influence of illegal drugs. Unfortunately, given the mandatory sentencing guidelines in Arizona, you have a lot to lose if convicted.
It is recommended that you contact an experienced and aggressive DUI attorney that will challenge the state’s evidence to show that you were not impaired. The attorneys at the Rosenstein Law Group are very familiar with defending Medical Marijuana DUI cases. A smart defense must begin with an understanding of the scientific studies in the area of driving impairment caused by marijuana. While prosecutors and police will attempt to claim that very small amounts of THC in a person’s system may impair them, there are ways to challenge this assertion. One of the defense strategies involves presenting scientific evidence that a medical marijuana patient’s tolerance to THC will increase over time with routine use. This is like most prescription medications. Doctors may modify dosages of medications over time to ensure the health of their patient.
It is also important to understand the inconclusive nature of studies on the effects of marijuana on a person’s driving behavior. Unlike alcohol-based DUI charges, where there is a “per se” legal limit of .08, there is no equivalent limit at which the scientific community agrees that all people are impaired to drive as a result of marijuana ingestion. With the relative recency of widespread medical marijuana usage, this is an area of DUI law that is rapidly evolving. You need an attorney that stays up to date on this area of the law to ensure that you receive the highest quality defense possible. The attorneys at the Rosenstein Law Group consult with leading experts in the field of forensic toxicology and monitor the most recent medical marijuana DUI studies. We strive to stay on the forefront of medical marijuana DUI defense so that our clients can rest assured that their rights will be protected.