Accident DUI Based on Drugs

Drunk Driving Defense Lawyers for Phoenix Area Residents

Drugs, whether prescribed or illegal, can change a person’s ability to drive and make judgments on the road. Many drugs make drivers sleepy. If you are charged with accident DUI based on drugs, an experienced Phoenix DUI attorney can assess the potential defenses that may apply to your case. You may be facing multiple charges depending on the circumstances. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we can examine the circumstances under which you were arrested and help you navigate the justice system.

Accident DUI Based on Drugs

In most cases, a DUI based on drugs is charged as a misdemeanor rather than a felony when it’s a first offense. You can be charged under Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) section 28-1381 if you drove while under the influence of any drug. Drugs commonly associated with DUIs are Oxycodone, Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin, Codeine, Xanax, and Valium. It’s also illegal to drive while your body contains a drug (or its metabolite) identified in section 13-3401. You can be charged with a drug DUI even if you drove while under the influence of a lawfully prescribed medication if you used it outside the scope of the prescription or where the officer thinks your abilities were impaired by the prescription drug.

However, if you’re in an accident because you were driving under the influence of drugs, you can face felony charges, even if it’s a first offense. A whole host of charges that carry significant penalties may be brought against you, and the sentences may run back-to-back rather than concurrently. Depending on the circumstances, these charges could include aggravated assault, aggravated driving under the influence, or manslaughter. When illegal drugs are found in the car, you may also face a drug crime charge.

The penalties for an accident DUI based on drugs will be harsher if you had a minor in the car with you while you were driving under the influence of drugs. For example, if you took a Valium for anxiety and got into a car with your kids and crashed, you will likely face harsher penalties.

Aggravated Assault

In addition to the DUI charge, it is likely that you’ll be charged with aggravated assault if you’re in an accident DUI involving drugs. Under A.R.S. section 13-1204 (A), the prosecuting attorney needs to show you knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly used a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon in causing a victim serious injuries in order to obtain a conviction for this offense. If you’re under the influence of drugs, a car may be treated as a deadly weapon. For example, if you were on Oxycodone and got into your car and fell asleep at the wheel and crashed it into a pedestrian, injuring her, you would likely be charged with aggravated assault.

Hit and Run

It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident where somebody was hurt. You can be charged with a class 2 felony under A.R.S. section 28-661 if you cause an accident and flee. For example, if you are on cocaine, crash into another car, flee the scene, and are caught later, you could be charged with a class 2 felony.


When there are multiple charges arising out of a single event, such as an accident DUI based on drugs, you can face a sentence with concurrent or consecutive terms. Generally, sentences run consecutively, except where the judge expressly decides they should be served concurrently. You want the terms to be served concurrently because it means you serve them all at once. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to serve multiple sentences consecutively, or back to back. For example, if you face 2 years for one charge and 5 years for the other charge, you would face 7 years in prison in total if you were serving your sentences consecutively.

Consult a Skilled DUI Defense Attorney in Phoenix

Often accident DUIs based on drugs involve multiple charges and the threat of consecutive terms of imprisonment if you are convicted. If you’re DUI charges, a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can evaluate your situation and help you determine your next steps. Mr. Novak represents defendants charged with accident DUIs and other crimes in the Phoenix area including in Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler, and across Maricopa County. Call him at (480) 413-1499 or contact us via our online form.

Client Reviews
I was facing criminal charges with three priors in my history. Mr Novak was very helpful and got me a lighter sentence than I probably deserved. He is a great attorney and I would highly recommend him. A. T.
James worked tirelessly behind the scenes with the prosecution, to decrease my son’s charges to a more reasonable penalty. I could not have asked for a better, more professional attorney. He treated my son with the utmost respect and walked him through every step of a very difficult situation. S. G.
Attorney Novak did an outstanding job defending my son. Due to his extensive professional background within the court system, he was successfully able to defend my son during a very difficult time for my family. I highly recommend Attorney James Novak for your legal needs. T. G.