Is There a Defense to a Marijuana DUI in Arizona?
Driving under the influence of alcohol or regulated drugs is one of the most common causes of car crashes in the United States. While alcohol impairment is easy for police to prove and courts to penalize, the same cannot be said for marijuana impairment. Hence, persons charged for a marijuana DUI in Arizona may be able to build a solid defense.
Is Marijuana Legal in Arizona?
Arizona has passed a law that allows recreational marijuana use, making it legal at the same level as alcohol. The legalization of marijuana has changed the game for marijuana DUI offenses, with violators less likely to be convicted and if so, incurring a lesser penalty than before marijuana’s legalization.
Can Police Prove Marijuana Impairment?
Before a driver can be charged with a marijuana DUI, police officers first have to prove that the driver was impaired. However, this is easier said than done because there is currently no consensus on what level of THC is impairing. Unlike alcohol that has an impairment level of .08 and above, there is no exact THC content that indicates marijuana impairment.
Current field sobriety tests, such as walking a line, standing on one leg, etc. will also not cut it because these are made specifically for alcohol impairment. They are not indicative of marijuana use.
Are Marijuana DUIs Defensible?
Because research on marijuana impairment is still in progress and there is currently no consensus in the scientific community, marijuana impairment is hard to prove. Hence, they are very defensible, especially if the driver does not display the type of impairment that is usually seen in alcohol use.
Because it’s possible to build a solid defense for a marijuana DUI, it’s important that drivers do not automatically plead guilty. They should first consult with a good criminal defense attorney who has experience working with DUI cases. A lawyer can look into all the possible defenses and build a strong case for the accused.