Accident DUI Based on Illegal Drugs

Attorney for Drunk Driving Charges in Phoenix

If you are charged with an accident DUI based on illegal drugs, you may be facing severe penalties. Although most DUIs are misdemeanors, when someone is injured or killed due to driving under the influence of illegal drugs, the result may be felony charges. Phoenix DUI lawyer James Novak uses the knowledge he gained in his prior work experience as a prosecutor to the benefit of those charged with DUIs. He looks closely at cases to determine the available strategies and can negotiate with prosecutors or take your case to trial as appropriate.

Accident DUI Based on Illegal Drugs

You are not allowed to drive while under the influence of illegal drugs, a vapor containing a toxic substance, alcohol, or a combination of drugs, vapor releasing substances, or alcohol if you are impaired. You may be found to be under the influence pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) section 28-1381 if you are even slightly impaired by a drug such as LSD, psilocybin, heroin, or cocaine.

You can also be found to be under the influence if there is any drug defined in A.R.S. section 13-3401 or its metabolite found in your body while you are driving. The list of drugs specified in section 13-3401 is long and includes LSD, mescaline, MMDA, PHP, marijuana, and many others. It does not matter if you are actually impaired by any of these identified drugs. Often, drugs leave metabolites behind in your body after the experience of being high has worn off. Metabolites can remain for weeks after you’ve actually consumed a drug. Nevertheless, you can still be charged for driving under the influence if these metabolites are found in your body while you are driving.

It’s important to realize that if you are a medical marijuana user, you are not shielded from charges in case of an accident DUI based on illegal drugs. The laws around medical marijuana and DUIs are complex, but you should be concerned about the penalties you will face if you caused an accident and were under the influence at the time, even if you were under the influence to treat a medical condition. A seasoned DUI defense lawyer can help you assess your legal options under these circumstances.

Injuries or Death

If your accident DUI involving drugs results in injuries or death, prosecutors will take the situation particularly seriously. You may be facing not only DUI charges, but also aggravated assault charges. You can be charged with aggravated assault where you use a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, such as a car, to seriously injure someone else. The prosecutor will need to show that you recklessly, knowingly or intentionally caused injury with the dangerous instrument to secure an aggravated assault conviction. She may argue that your use of drugs was reckless. For example, if you smoked crack cocaine and this made you more aggressive on the road and you rear-ended a slower moving vehicle out of anger such that the other driver crashed and suffered injuries, you could be convicted of aggravated assault.

What needs to be proven in a given case depends on the particular charges. For example, you could be convicted of negligent homicide under A.R.S. section 13-1102 if you caused another’s death with criminal negligence. Driving under the influence of drugs can be construed as a criminally negligent act. Negligent homicide is a Class 4 felony and you can face imprisonment for it. In addition to DUI charges and charges based on injuries or death, you may face charges for drug possession if the police are able to establish the presence of drugs in the vehicle.

You should be aware that if you are convicted not only of DUI but also of a charge related to death such as manslaughter or a drug crime, you could face consecutive rather than concurrent sentences for perpetrating multiple separate crimes.

DUI Lawyer Serving Phoenix

If you are charged for an accident DUI based on illegal drugs, you may be rightly concerned about the consequences. Skilled criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor James E. Novak represents defendants charged with accident DUIs in Scottsdale, Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, and Maricopa County, all throughout the Phoenix area. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form.

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