Arizona marijuana DUI laws are very strict when it comes to enforcement. Although the most common DUI in Arizona are alcohol based you can be charged with Marijuana DUI if you use cannabis and drive.

 Arizona Marijuana Metabolite DUI?

Before December 2016, Arizona Marijuana DUI laws you could be charged with a metabolite DUI in Arizona. A metabolite is the substance your body processes marijuana into once consumed or smoked. Metabolites are often residual and may not have any affect on the sense or capability of a person while driving. If someone was driving in Arizona with marijuana or its metabolite in their body, they would be charged with a DUI. This is an unfortunate law for law abiding medical marijuana users. One could engage in medical marijuana hours before getting into their car, completely sober, but the metabolite in their body will be present. Should they get pulled over, they could be charged with a DUI while completely and totally sober. Thankfully this is no longer the case as It has been removed from Arizona state law.

State Court Rules THC In Blood Not Grounds For DUI

Medical marijuana users cannot be convicted of driving while under the influence of the drug absent proof that they were actually impaired, the state Court of Appeals ruled. In a major setback for prosecutors, the judges pointed out that Arizona, unlike some other states, has no law that spells out that at a certain level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the blood a person is presumed to be impaired. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. What that means is every case where prosecutors charge a medical marijuana user with breaking the law requires expert testimony to show that particular individual was impaired at that particular level of THC.

How Will Arizona Law Enforcement Test For Marijuana DUI?

Law enforcement investigation actually begins before you’re pulled over. They will begin observing and taking note of all events that take place. In some cities, police cameras are being mounted on the police vehicle, the officers clothing, accessories, or person, to record the incident. Their investigation will include their observations; suspect’s statements; vital signs; suspect’s behaviors and ability to follow instructions; divided attention or Field Sobriety Tests, breath testing, and/or chemical testing.

If the police suspect you are driving impaired, they will then ask you to participate in Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs). FSTs are not mandatory in Arizona. It is not recommended that you participate in them, because of their history of their low reliability ratio. They are often considered biased because police instruct, conduct, and grade the suspect unilaterally. Also, it is a known fact, that many unimpaired motorists are unable to pass the FSTs.

There are only three Field Sobriety Tests, called Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) approved for use in police field screening by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). Any other field tests, the police request you take, are not admissible in court. The Standard FSTs are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) eye test; Walk-and-Turn test; and One-Leg Stand test.

Penalties for Arizona DUI Conviction

First offense Marijuana DUI is a Misdemeanor. Convictions will expose a person to the same or similar penalties as an alcohol DUI conviction. Sentencing includes but is not limited to the follow:

  • Minimum of 1 to 10 days in jail
  • Driver’s License suspension of up to 90 days
  • Mandatory drug screening, education, counseling or treatment
  • Require SR22 Insurance
  • Fines, fees, and assessments of $1250.00;Probation or Community Service

Second Marijuana DUI is also a Misdemeanor. But convictions result in more severe penalties

Third offenses within 7 years will be charged as an Aggravated DUI (Felony) exposes a person to prison terms:

  • 4 months in prison for third offense
  • 8 months in prison for subsequent offense after three
  • $4,000.00 fines, fees, costs, assessments
  • Driver’s license revocation for three years
  • Require SR22 Insurance
  • Possible forfeiture of vehicle
  • Mandatory drug education, counseling or treatment
  • Parole, probation, and community service

The bottom line is if you use marijuana let some one else drive or take a cab or Uber. Keep your’e self and everyone else on the road safe by only driving when sober.