In Arizona, it is against the law to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Routinely, clients facing Arizona DUI charges are surprised to see that their blood or breath contained as much of a substance as the test results indicate. Thus, this post is dedicated to informing motorists about the length of time that many of the most common drugs stay in the human body. To start, it is important to note that alcohol is the only drug that police can detect through a breath test.
Thus, if police officers suspect someone of driving under the influence of alcohol, they may ask the driver to take a breath test. However, if police suspect someone is driving under the influence of drugs, they will most often take a blood test. Blood tests will detect both drugs and alcohol but breath tests will only detect alcohol.
The next critical fact to keep in mind is that someone can be found guilty of driving under the influence of prescribed medication. Occasionally, therapeutic doses of some prescription medications will not put someone in jeopardy. However, certain prescribed medications, if found in sufficient levels, can result in a DUI conviction.
How Long Do Drugs Stay in a Driver’s System?
The science behind determining how long a drug stays in someone’s system is complex. From the moment someone takes a drug, whether they smoke, snort, swallow or inject it, the drug immediately starts to break down. As a drug breaks down, it leaves behind metabolites, which are the byproduct of the breaking-down process. When it comes to determining whether someone was intoxicated by a substance, drug testers look for the “active” metabolite. Inactive metabolites, especially for marijuana, do not necessarily indicate that someone was intoxicated.
The most common way police test for drugs in a motorist’s system is through a blood test. Below is a list of how long each drug stays in someone’s blood.
- LSD – three hours
- Morphine – eight hours
- Heroin – 12 hours
- Amphetamines – 12 hours
- Methamphetamines – 37 hours
- MDMA – 48 hours
- Cocaine – 48 hours
- Barbiturates – 48 hours
- Cannabis – 336 hours
Of course, these figures are all estimates, and the actual amount of time that a substance stays in a motorist’s system depends on a variety of factors including the frequency with which they ingest the substance, their age, height, weight and more. Additionally, urine and hair follicle tests, while very rare in the context of an Arizona DUI, tend to reveal substance use for a longer time frame, up to 90 days. Anyone with questions about the validity of a chemical test should reach out to a dedicated Arizona DUI defense attorney for immediate assistance.
Have You Been Arrested for an Arizona Drug DUI?
If you have recently been arrested and charged with an Arizona drug DUI, contact Attorney James E. Novak for immediate assistance. Attorney Novak is a dedicated Tempe criminal defense attorney with extensive experience handling all types of DUI cases. Attorney Novak prides himself in staying up-to-date with all recent legal and scientific advances regarding Arizona DUI law, and puts this knowledge into each of his client’s cases. To learn more, and to schedule your free consultation, call 480-413-1499 today.