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The primary difference between alcohol and drug DUIs is the license suspension associated with each one. Drug and medication DUIs are put in the same category; alcohol DUIs are placed in a different category. If convicted of a first time alcohol offense, whether it is a regular DUI, extreme, or super extreme DUI, the license suspension for being convicted of any of those offenses should be 90 days, where there can be no driving during the first 30 days and the next 60 days can mean a restricted license to drive to and from work, home, school, and counseling.
However, if someone were to be convicted of a drug DUI or a medication DUI, regardless of whether it was simply having a drug or medication in their system which was not prescribed or not being taken as prescribed, or whether the conviction was based on impairment by that drug or medication, the person’s license to drive would be revoked for 1 year with no ability to get any sort of restricted license. After 1 year has passed, the person has to jump through certain hoops in order to actually get their driver’s license back.
The other difference between an alcohol DUI and a drug or medication DUI is that an alcohol DUI will always require an ignition interlock device. However, if the situation is a drug or medication DUI, if you have an attorney that knows what they’re doing, they can set things up potentially so that the person would not have to have an ignition interlock device at all. If the attorney doesn’t know what they’re doing, the client may end up having a one year license revocation in addition to an ignition interlock device if their license is reinstated.
Arizona law actually lists out all of the drugs that are considered problematic. It does include prescription medications, illegal drugs, and in some instances over-the-counter medications. Arizona lists out a couple of hundred different types of drugs and the list is constantly being changed. Usually new drugs are added, such as Spice, or new chemicals are developed on the recreational drug market. It can include many types of medications that people normally take, as well as some of the common recreational drugs such as methamphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine.
Just about everyone who is charged with a DUI is going to be charged with at least two counts. Usually the first count will concern impairment: whether the person was impaired to the slightest degree by the use of alcohol, drugs, medications vapor releasing substances or a combination thereof.
The second count will usually allege that a person had a blood alcohol level of above 0.08 or that they had any drugs or the metabolites which are active in their system and that the drugs or medications in their system were either not prescribed and/or not being taken as prescribed. There are additional counts for alcohol DUI depending on the level of alcohol in the person’s system.
A person can get additional charges of extreme DUI or super extreme DUI if their blood alcohol content warrants those types of charges. People who are charged with DUI drugs do not also get charged with possession of drugs. The only time that a person will get charged with possession of drugs is if they separately had drugs on their person as opposed to having consumed drugs or medications improperly.
If someone ends up with a baggie of marijuana that is found in their vehicle or in their purse and the search enters into arrest, that person may end up being charged with a felony or misdemeanor count of possession of drugs or possession of drug paraphernalia but simply driving with some sort of drug or medication in their system, in and of itself, will not lead to a possession charge.
The penalties are the same for the most part. There’s still the range of sentence, which would be anywhere from one day up to 6 months in jail. There are the same minimum fines and fees, which are going to be around $1,500. There is still a requirement of doing counseling. The only major difference concerns the amount of time that a person’s license would be suspended or revoked and whether the person has to have an ignition interlock device placed on any vehicle they operate.
For more information on Drug Related DUI vs. Regular DUI, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (480) 442-8343