In the state of Arizona, it is illegal to use or possess marijuana, sell or distribute marijuana, produce marijuana, and transport marijuana. It’s also illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana. The state has stiff penalties against people who violate marijuana DUI laws, which is why having a Phoenix, AZ defense attorney is crucial.
We’d like to consider some of the financial penalties associated with marijuana DUI charges so you understand the difficulties ahead. It will reinforce the importance of having a skilled lawyer by your side to help reduce or drop the charges against you.
Arizona Laws on Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
The state of Arizona prohibits people from driving a vehicle if they are under the influence of any sort of drug. This includes people who are licensed to use medical marijuana to treat a health condition.
Keep in mind that the presence of metabolites (the residue in the bloodstream after marijuana use) does not necessarily mean you were using marijuana while behind the wheel. Metabolites can stay in your blood for weeks, meaning you may be charged with marijuana DUI even though you were not under the influence of the drug for some time.
Financial Penalties for First Offense Marijuana DUI
The financial penalties for a first-time marijuana DUI will include a fine that starts at $1,250. This is on top of jail time, license suspension, probation, and community service.
Financial Penalties for Second Offense Marijuana DUI
If you have another marijuana DUI within 7 years of the first offense, you will face harsher penalties. The financial penalties for second offense DUI include a minimum fine of $3,000. Jail time, license suspension, enrollment in a drug treatment program, and other penalties also apply.
Financial Penalties for Third Offense Marijuana DUI
If there is a third marijuana DUI within 7 years of previous offenses, the driver will face the harshest penalties yet. Fines for a third offense marijuana DUI can be as steep as $150,000. This is on top of prison time, probation, and forfeiture of your vehicle.
Marijuana Possession and DUI
If you are pulled over for driving under the influence of marijuana, additional charges may be filed if you are found in possession of marijuana. Marijuana possession is a felony in the state of Arizona.
The severity of your possession charges will depend on how much marijuana you have on you at the time. Having just small amounts of marijuana on your person will typically result in a misdemeanor charge rather than a felony. The most severe charges are given to those who are in possession of more than two pounds of marijuana. The financial penalties for marijuana possession can vary depending on the amount on your person at the time of arrest.
Additional Penalties to Keep in Mind
In addition to possession and multiple marijuana DUI offenses, additional penalties may apply depending on the nature of your driving infraction. For instance, harsher penalties will be levied against you if you have a passenger in your vehicle who is 15 years old or younger. Causing vehicle damage or injury to others will similarly result in harsher penalties.
Learn More About Your Legal Rights
If you have been arrested for driving while under the influence of marijuana, it’s important that you contact an experienced marijuana DUI defense lawyer. We at the Law Office of James Novak, PLLC will help you in your time of legal need, offering expert legal counsel on your options.