Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Tempe Lawyers for Marijuana DUI Charges

In 2020, Arizona voters passed a new law that decriminalizes certain marijuana-related activities in the state. Prosecutors shouldn’t charge you, for example, if police found you possessed less than an ounce of marijuana after the new law went to effect. However, you can still be charged for a marijuana DUI under the new law if you drive while impaired by pot. It’s crucial to stay aware that your blood alcohol concentration is more readily detected than the levels of marijuana in your body. When they believe you’re driving under the influence of pot, police will check for active metabolites that tend to show you recently smoked or consumed marijuana. If you were arrested and charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, you should consult seasoned Tempe DUI defense attorney James E. Novak about your situation. Mr. Novak is a former prosecutor who now use his insights into how prosecutors think to build strong defenses on behalf of clients accused of marijuana crimes and DUI.

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana Under the New Law

A new marijuana law went into effect November 30, 2020. It decriminalizes certain marijuana activities even when they are conducted for recreational, rather than medicinal, purposes. This law allows you to lawfully possess up to an ounce of marijuana if you are age 21 or older. Even though the law with regard to possession, cultivation, transferring, and manufacturing has changed, you can be charged with a drug DUI if you are caught driving with active marijuana metabolites in your system.

Under A.R.S. section 36-2852, you can be found guilty of a marijuana DUI under section 28-1381(A)(3) only if you’re impaired to the slightest degree. Moreover, the smell of marijuana or burnt marijuana won’t amount to reasonable articulable suspicion of a crime, except during a DUI investigation by a law enforcement officer.

Sometimes THC metabolites, such as carboxy THC, remain able to be detected in a smoker’s body for days, regardless of how frequently the smoker uses pot. Under section 28-1381, it is illegal for you to drive or be in actual physical control of a car in or around Tempe while there is any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in your body. This issue may be complicated by Arizona’s medical marijuana law.

Chemical Test

Trace THC can stay in your body for a long time, especially if you smoke, vape or otherwise ingest pot frequently. A chemical test may be administered if a law enforcement finds probable cause in a DUI case that causes him to believe you were driving under the influence of marijuana and arrests you. It takes longer to get results for a blood test. Everyone’s body responds differently to pot. If you don’t smoke very often, you could be impaired by a very small amount of metabolites in your body. Or, you could be a functional driver as a frequent smoker in spite of having you have a notable concentration of metabolites in your blood.

Defenses to Marijuana DUI in Tempe

As with other DUI charges, there may be a strong constitutional or procedural defense that our experienced lawyer may be able to raise. For example, if a police officer didn’t have a reasonable suspicion you were driving under the influence and pulled you over on a hunch, we may be able to bring a motion to suppress any evidence obtained afterward on the grounds that the stop violated your Fourth Amendment rights.

How long marijuana stays in your body depends on numerous factors such as medical condition, hydration, metabolism, body mass, and sex. These factors can impact the outcome of your chemical test. As your attorneys, we may be able to challenge the procedures used to test your blood or raise reasonable doubt about the results.

It may be appropriate to point to your medical marijuana card if you’ve been charged with a DUI after smoking pot due to a medical condition for which you were given a prescription.

Hire an Experienced Marijuana DUI Defense Attorney

Marijuana can impact your ability to drive. It’s important to be aware of this and avoid getting behind the wheel while high. If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, you should hire James E. Novak. He is a seasoned Tempe drug DUI defense lawyer who represents those charged with drunk driving in Phoenix, as well as Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, and Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.

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