Arizona law (A.R.S. § 28-1381(A)(3)) makes it illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of certain drugs listed in A.R.S. § 13-3401 or the related metabolite. It won't surprise you to know that driving under the influence of illegal/illicit drugs is prohibited - cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, etc. These are "strict liability" drugs and their mere presence in your blood may be grounds for a DUI conviction.
However, this statute also includes many common prescriptions as prohibited under certain circumstances:
Even if you are taking a drug legally as prescribed by a physician or other medical professional, you can still be arrested and charged with DUI or Aggravated DUI in Arizona.
Even if you were taking a prescribed medicine as directed by a medical professional, police and the prosecution will attempt to prove that you were impaired by the drug because it was not taken as directed.
If you were prescribed the drug legally, then the prosecution must prove the following:
How does the prosecution prove you didn't take the prescription as directed? The most common method is to claim that the levels of the drug in your blood exceeded the "therapeutic range" - meaning you took a bigger dose or took it more frequently.
The prosecution may also attempt to prove their case by claiming you were told not to drive while taking the drug.
Guardian Law Group will aggressively attack both of these prosecution case strategies. In addition to the DUI Defenses Guardian Law Group employs for alcohol-related DUIs, we'll work to demonstrate that the drug levels are within the therapeutic range, and that the doctor advised that driving is okay.
Therapeutic Range: Every body is different.
Doctors prescribe a specific dosage for each drug and each patient in an attempt to land within the therapeutic range and achieve a desired effect.
But very often, a doctor must alter the dosage over time because a patient will lose sensitivity to the drug and develop a tolerance. Doctors tend to monitor this level carefully while looking to get the desired effect.
Therapeutic ranges may vary greatly from patient to patient. A blood result that within a certain therapeutic range is good evidence a driver was not impaired, but it isn't the only way to weaken the prosecution's case. It is also terrific evidence that you were taking the medication per your doctor's orders.
An Arizona Medical Marijuana Card is not always a get-out-of-jail-free card.
In 2010 Arizonans voted to approve marijuana for medicinal use. But that doesn't mean the state has worked out all the kinks in the system. There are still many legal uncertainties with medical marijuana - especially when it comes to DUI.
Having an Arizona Medical Marijuana Card is a great defense to a Drug DUI, but it doesn't get you off the hook automatically. If an officer thinks you are impaired while driving and your blood tests positive for the presence of Marijuana, you could still be arrested and charged with DUI.
Unlike most of the prescription medications discussed above, Marijuana has no defined therapeutic level. Some recent studies place the therapeutic levels very low (meaning it's impairing at a low blood concentration) and others much higher.
Other factors include the still-present negative public opinion of marijuana use among some segments of our population. With the widespread negativity toward the drug in the past, some jurors simply refuse to accept its benefits and legitimacy as an effective medical treatment. Most prosecutors lean toward that segment as well.
This is where you need an experienced, aggressive attorney on your side. These issues are tough - Guardian Law Group can help you.
Don't hesitate, call and speak to an attorney today -- (602) 935-5039