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Marijuana DUI

Marijuana DUI

Marijuana DUI

Driving under the influence in Arizona can involve a number of substances. An individual does not have to be under the influence of alcohol in order to be charged with this serious offense. If you have smoked weed or eaten any type of pot brownies, ingestibles or baked goods before getting behind the wheel, you could potentially be pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). Even though many studies show drivers are more cautious when driving after consuming marijuana, a conviction for DUI marijuana can result in serious repercussions, including jail or prison sentence, fines and/or a criminal record.

It is important to understand that if you have been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, it does not necessarily have to result in a conviction. The state prosecutor is required to prove you committed every element to the DUI offense beyond a reasonable doubt. This can be a very difficult burden to meet and if the judge or jury has any doubt you committed every element to the offense, the charges against you may be reduced or even dismissed. Therefore, it is essential to consult an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Maricopa County to help you create your best legal defense for your particular situation.

Mesa Marijuana DUI Lawyer

If you have been charged with a marijuana DUI in Mesa, or any of the surrounding areas in Arizona, including Tempe, Gilbert, Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale or East Valley, contact the Law Office of James E. Novak. Attorney James Novak is experienced in defending all areas of Arizona’s DUI laws and will make every effort to help you avoid the most serious penalties and repercussions to your alleged offense. Call the Law Office of James E. Novak for a free consultation at (480) 413-1499 about your alleged marijuana DUI.


Tempe Marijuana DUI Information Center


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Driving Under the Influence in Tempe

The Arizona Revised Statutes prohibits driving while under the influence of marijuana or cannabis in section 28-1381(A), in addition to driving under the influence of alcohol and other controlled substances. This means an individual who smokes weed then drives or operates their vehicle can be pulled over and arrested for a DUI. Section 28-1381(A) specifically states an individual can be charged with driving under the influence if they drive or are in actual physical control of a vehicle while:

  • Under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, drug, including marijuana, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance, or any combination of these if the individual is impaired to the slightest degree; or
  • There is any controlled substance or its metabolite in the alleged offender’s body.

An individual can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of marijuana if they are impaired to the slightest degree. This means if a law enforcement officer believes the alleged offender in impaired at all and they have any amount of drugs, marijuana, controlled substances or alcohol in their system, they can be arrested for a DUI in Arizona.


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Marijuana Definition in Mesa

All controlled substances that can result in a DUI offense are defined in Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3401. This includes marijuana in ARS § 13-3401(19), which is defined as all growing and non-growing parts of the cannabis plant, including the seeds, from where resin hasn’t been extracted. However, marijuana is not considered to be the mature stalks of the plant or any sterilized seeds that aren’t capable of germination.

Marijuana is also commonly referred to as:

  • Weed
  • Pot
  • Hydro
  • Chronic
  • Reefer
  • Bud
  • Ganja

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Tempe Actual Physical Control

In order to charge an individual with driving under the influence, they have to be driving or operating the car or motor vehicle or have actual physical control (APC) of the car. A motor vehicle is defined under Arizona law (ARS § 28-101(33)) as a self-propelled vehicle or any vehicle that is operated on highways and propelled by fuel.

Actual physical control is not specifically defined under Arizona law. However, the Arizona Supreme Court held in Arizona v. Zaragoza that actual physical control is based on the totality of the circumstances when the alleged offender’s control of the vehicle presented a danger to the driver or the public at the time of the arrest.

This decision implies that a driver does not have to actually be driving when they are arrested. The court will look at any of the following factors, in addition to many others, to determine if the alleged offender had actual physical control of the vehicle:

  • The time of day;
  • The weather conditions;
  • Where the driver was in the car;
  • Where the keys were located;
  • Whether the driver had already pulled over;
  • Whether the driver was awake or asleep;
  • Whether the ignition was on; and/or
  • Whether the vehicle was running or stopped.

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Proving a DUI Marijuana in Tempe

In order to prove an alleged offender was driving under the influence of marijuana, the law enforcement officer generally must first administer a blood or urine chemical test. A typical breath test will not show if the alleged offender had any marijuana in their system.

There are a variety of factors that can affect the results of a chemical blood or urine test and can be challenged in court by your criminal defense lawyer. These factors can include:

  • Whether the sample was properly handled;
  • Whether the sample was properly preserved;
  • Whether the sample was properly administered;
  • Whether the sample was contaminated; and/or
  • Whether the test was expired.

Additionally, law enforcement officers will often arrest an individual for DUI marijuana if marijuana is found in the vehicle. Your criminal defense lawyer will determine whether the stop and search of the vehicle was handled properly, whether the seizure of the marijuana was legal, and if the police followed correct procedures when performing the arrest.


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Marijuana DUI Penalties in Mesa

An individual charged with a first marijuana DUI can be convicted of a class1 misdemeanor under Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-1381(C). This degree of DUI offense is punishable by a mandatory jail term of ten consecutive days, in addition to any of the following:

  • A $500 assessment to be deposited in the prison construction and operations fund,
  • A $500 assessment to be deposited in the public safety equipment fund,
  • A 90 day driver’s license suspension,
  • A criminal record,
  • A fine of $250 or more,
  • Alcohol or drug education or treatment program,
  • Alcohol or drug screening,
  • Community restitution,
  • Court costs, and/or
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for one year or more.

An individual charged with a second offense for driving under the influence of marijuana within 48 months of any previous conviction can face any of the following penalties, according to Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-1381(K):

  • 30 hours or more of community restitution,
  • A $1,250 assessment to be deposited in the prison construction and operations fund,
  • A $1,250 assessment to be deposited in the public safety equipment fund,
  • A criminal record,
  • A fine of $500 or more,
  • A mandatory 90 day jail sentence, 30 of which must be served consecutively,
  • A one year driver’s license suspension,
  • Alcohol or drug education or treatment program,
  • Alcohol or drug screening,
  • Court costs, and/or
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for one year or more.

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Law Office of James E. Novak, PLLC | DUI Marijuana Attorney in Tempe

Contact the Law Office of James E. Novak today for a consultation about your marijuana driving under the influence offense throughout Maricopa County in Arizona. James Novak is an aggressive DUI defense lawyer in Mesa who will make every effort to fight the allegations against you. Contact the Law Office of James E. Novak at (480) 413-1499 for a consultation about your alleged marijuana DUI throughout Maricopa County in Arizona.