On April 22, 2014, the Arizona Supreme Court shut down the government's ability to prosecute Arizona motorists for driving under the influence of marijuana unless the person is impaired at the time of the stop. The ruling focuses on two chemical compounds found in marijuana; Carboxy-THC, which does not cause impairment, or Hydroxy- THC, which does cause impairment. The issue presented was whether the legislature intended to include "its metabolite" in the plural form which would include Carboxy-THC, even though it has proven to be non-impairing.
The world's view of marijuana, or pot, is changing. We see this with an ever-growing amount of states passing medical marijuana laws, and have also seen it with the 40% of California residents that voted to legalize pot outright in California. Despite these facts, Arizona's laws on the subject haven't changed. Arizona has incredibly strict DUI Drugs laws on its books, under which guilt is determined by the mere presence of a drug or its metabolite in your system. That means that if you smoked one marijuana cigarette or joint three or four weeks ago, then every time you drove during that time (until your urine was absolutely free of the marijuana metabolites), you were driving under the influence of drugs (also known as DUI Drugs).
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.