It is illegal to drive while impaired by pot in Arizona. Historically, Arizona prosecutors have pursued these charges aggressively. The sentencing after a driver was convicted for a marijuana DUI could be very harsh. However, the laws and attitudes have changed. While sentencing might still be harsh, voters have passed a new marijuana law that can help those accused of marijuana crimes. If you’re charged with driving under the influence of marijuana following passage of the new marijuana law, it is crucial you seek legal representation from a seasoned Phoenix drug DUI attorney. James Novak uses insights gained in his former work prosecutor to defend those accused of driving under the influence of marijuana in Maricopa County.Driving Under the Influence of Pot in Phoenix
A.R.S. section 28-1381 provides that driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs is unlawful. You could be charged if you are caught in actual physical control of your car while under the influence of drugs, along with any vapor-releasing substance or intoxicating liquor. You could also be charged if you have a metabolite of marijuana or one of its components in your body. For instance, if you are arrested because you were weaving and your eyes are bloodshot and you fail field sobriety tests, you may be arrested. You may need to undergo chemical testing. If the chemical test reveals you have marijuana metabolites in your body, you could be charged.
Under A.R.S. section 36-2852, you can be convicted of a marijuana DUI under section 28-1381 if a prosecutor can establish: (1) there were metabolites or components of marijuana in your body and (2) you were impaired to the slightest degree.
These elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, a difficult standard. However, in most cases, you won’t be charged unless a prosecutor believes it has enough evidence to meet this stringent standard. In some situations, we may be able to defend your case by raising reasonable doubt about whether you were impaired to the slightest degree. In other cases, we may be able to challenge the chemical test results. Chemical tests are known to be unreliable. Different people’s bodies process and react to marijuana in individual ways.Attorney to Bring Motion to Suppress Chemical Test Results for DUI
We may be able to mount a strong defense by moving to suppress urine test results that reveal you have metabolites of marijuana in your system. This would be appropriate, for instance, if you were pulled over without reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing or you were arrested without probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Chemical tests need to be administered according to proper protocols. We may be able to get the results suppressed or excluded from presentation to the jury in a pretrial motion if we can show proper protocols for chemical testing were not followed.Reasonable Suspicion
Generally, the smell of burning, dried or fresh pot can’t form the basis for an officer’s reasonable, articulable suspicion of a crime under the new marijuana law. However, the odor could constitute reasonable suspicion if an officer is investigating you for DUI.Our Maricopa County Marijuana DUI Defense Attorney May be Able to Defend You
As you may already realize, a marijuana DUI is a serious charge. Although the new law provides a number of defenses to this charge and stops prosecutors from pursuing charges related to marijuana under some circumstances, driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal. It is important to realize the potential impact of this charge or related charges and retain a seasoned Tempe DUI defense lawyer. James E. Novak possesses many years of experience those accused of drug DUIs in Phoenix, as well as Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, and Maricopa County. He can look at your particular situation and determine the strongest available strategy to build your defense, whether that involves investigation, pretrial motions such as a motion to suppress, negotiations with the prosecutor for a plea bargain or fighting for you at trial. Call us at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.