How the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act Affects DUI Defense

On Friday, November 20, the Arizona Supreme Court finally made room for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act to be a part of DUI defense cases.

Originally, Arizona statute A.R.S. 28-1381(A)(3) stated, “It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state…while there is any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body.” According to this law, a person could be arrested for a DUI offense if they had any marijuana or its metabolites in their body, regardless of whether or not the drug actually caused impairment. In addition, this law did not take into consideration cardholders, those who are prescribed marijuana for medical use.

Recently, the Supreme Court changed this statute to the following: “A qualifying patient under the AMMA can still be convicted of a DUI under 28-1381(A)(3) if the prosecutor proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person was driving or was in “actual physical control” of a vehicle and had marijuana or its impairing metabolite in their body.” Now, civilians who are legal cardholders can only be convicted of a marijuana DUI offense if the state can prove that the person was impaired while operating a vehicle. The new law places a burden on the defendant, and the representing party, to prove the driver was not actually driving while impaired. This ability to fight off DUI convictions by proving the driver was not impaired while operating a vehicle is called “affirmative defense.”

Arrested for a Marijuana DUI Offense? Call Our Team Today

If you have been accused of driving under the influence of marijuana and believe you have been wrongly charged, get in touch with our Phoenix criminal defense lawyers immediately. At Suzuki Law Offices, L.L.C., our team understands the severity of the penalties and fines you can face following a DUI arrest. That is why we are here to provide experienced and fearless advocacy for the accused. When you become our clients, we will put an aggressive team on your side of the courtroom and may be able to have your charges and fines are reduced or dismissed.

Contact our Phoenix criminal defense attorneys at the Suzuki Law Offices, L.L.C. to retain top-tier legal advocacy today! Because we are former prosecutors, we know what it takes to win your case.


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