A recent court ruling will have a major impact on the 50,000 Arizona residents who use marijuana for medical purposes. Even if they have a legal right to use medical marijuana, they can still face driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI) charges. The Law Office of James Novak takes these cases involving marijuana just as seriously as cases involving alcohol. When you speak with our DWI and DUI defense team, we craft strong legal strategies to help reduce charges and arrive at fair rulings.
What's interesting about this recent case, however, is that it may prove unfair to legal users of medical marijuana simply given the nature of the substance.
The Basics of the Appellate Court Ruling
The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that if traces of marijuana are found in someone's system while he or she is driving, their medical marijuana card will not provide immunity from DUI or DWI prosecution.
Users Can Be Busted Even If They Have Not Recently Used Medical Marijuana
The most alarming issue of this ruling to medical marijuana users is that they can be busted on DUI/DWI charges even if they are not high while behind the wheel. If a chemical test is conducted and past traces of marijuana are present in the system, this is grounds for a DUI/DWI charge.
The primary concern is that it can take some time for the marijuana to leave the system even if the effects of the drug are not presently affecting an individual.
How long does marijuana stay in your system?
It can take as long as six weeks for all traces of marijuana to fully leave a person's system. This means that even if you have not smoked or ingested marijuana for some time, you could potentially face criminal prosecution.
Major Risks of Prosecution Even for Legal MMJ Cardholders
People who have cards for medical marijuana use are now in a potentially unfair position if they are pulled over and chemical tests are administered as part of an arrest. Just by commuting to work, a person who is legally using medically marijuana can be prosecuted as if he or she doesn't have a legal protection to use the drug.
Other protections under the state's medical marijuana laws may remain in place, but the lack of this protection while driving (even when not experiencing the effects of marijuana use) may catch medical marijuana users off guard and lead to many major legal hardships.
Our Team Will Continue to Fight for You
As the recent court ruling will likely lead to a larger discussion about medical marijuana use in the state of Arizona, what's important is that current users of medical marijuana have a skilled attorney on their side following any charges. We will be sure to fight for you or your loved one each step of the way. We will also keep tabs on this unfolding story given its legal ramifications and post updates on the blog given how many people are affected.
Speak with Our Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you would like more information about medical marijuana use and other matters related to driving while intoxicated, we encourage you to contact a skilled DUI defense attorney today. We at The Law Office of James Novak will make sure that you receive a just and strong defense for any charges you face.