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What is Arizona’s Law Regarding Marijuana DUIs

What is Arizona’s Law Regarding Marijuana DUIs

The legalities of marijuana DUIs have been in the news recently, drawing more attention to the complexities of these types of cases.  As a criminal defense attorney in Arizona, I am extremely interested in these new findings and all the issues surrounding marijuana DUIs as well as the effect they have on other types of DUIs.  In recent years, more and more states are legalizing marijuana use.  Some have legalized recreational use, other states have legalized medical marijuana, and some have maintained a total ban on the substance.  The laws have not kept up with the rapid legalization and according to a recent article, drivers are being held to arbitrary standards.  Furthermore, the spectrum of legalization, with many levels in between, makes each state a little different.

THC Can Impair Driving Performance

The issues that have been publicized this month is regarding the amount of THC that is considered impairing, and thus considered driving while impaired or driving under the influence.  There seems to be no clear agreement in the scientific community as to how much THC in the blood is “safe” to drive.  Many states have zero tolerance, that any amount of THC level or its metabolites will immediately result in a DUI charge.  But the science shows that this means some pot users will be convicted of DUI when in fact they are not impaired at all.  For example, a regular legal user of marijuana will always show some level of THC or the metabolites in the blood whether they have consumed pot recently or not.  This makes any amount of driving for this person illegal even when perfectly sober.

What’s Arizona’s Legal Limit For Marijuana DUI

What seems to be in agreement is that there is no obvious level at which states that draw the line of impairment from marijuana, like we do with alcohol.  Alcohol impairment has many different methods of detection (accuracy aside): portable breath tests, roadside agility tests, horizontal eye tests, and of course blood tests.  The consensus is that 0.08 is the level of impairment.  Impairment caused by marijuana and by other drugs is not as easily determined, and the law enforcement and legal communities have not reached consensus as to the most accurate level on which to base a criminal charge.

Marijuana DUI Defense Law Firm

Drug DUIs and marijuana DUIs in Arizona are just as complex as in the rest of the country.  Marijuana is legal if used for medical purposes and with a card, so to rest on a zero tolerance law for THC or metabolites in the blood, with conflicting statutes and the absence of clarification, is counterproductive.  The science behind THC and marijuana impairment must catch up to the new laws sweeping the nation or there will be more and more innocent law abiding people in jail and with criminal convictions on their record.

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