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It’s probably going to involve marijuana. It doesn’t matter whether it is legally or illegally consumed. Medical marijuana laws were not written very well because it was a citizen’s initiative. There is a new ballot initiative that is going to be coming up next year, and I suspect that there are going to be some legislative changes that happen concerning medical marijuana and DUIs with drugs or prescription medications.
We also have to deal with how other states are handling marijuana. The people that go to Oregon or Washington or Colorado where marijuana is legal and then come into our state and drive a vehicle. If they are doing something that is completely legal in Colorado and then they fly in and drive a vehicle in Arizona, is it really appropriate to charge a person with DUI?
Because Colorado has made it legal to smoke marijuana over there, they have had to adjust their DUI laws so they have a minimum threshold to be considered at DUI. There have to be at least 5 nano-grams per milliliter of active THC in person’s system.
We don’t have a corresponding law like that. We still say if you have any marijuana in your system or if you had marijuana in your system that impaired you, that’s a DUI. So, we’re in a period of transition now especially concerning drugs and driving and medications and driving. Eventually it will all get worked out, but in the meantime we have people that are doing what they are allowed to do and getting punished because of it.
No one intentionally drives drunk or drives high and it is not required in the DUI laws. There is no intent required, there is no mental state required. It’s simply something where someone was driving and they had some drug or medication in their system or they were impaired by some drug or medication or alcohol. It can happen to anyone.
I have represented police officers and doctors and politicians. There is a famous case out of Arizona before I started practicing involving a priest. I have represented quite a few people who were coming from AA meetings or were teaching at AA meetings. This really can happen to anyone and it is a matter of finding the right lawyer who knows what they are doing to make it through this difficult time. It is also about learning a lesson and never doing it again.
Some people never learn and they can get severely punished, not only with a felony charge but with years in prison. The worst case that I have seen, which was not my client, but I saw a guy get sentenced for 30 years in prison because he just would not stop drinking and driving. He never hurt anyone but he would not stop drinking and driving and the last time he was in court, he got a 30-year prison sentence.
A bad attorney doesn’t really know what they are doing. They don’t know the differences between an alcohol DUI and a drug DUI, they don’t know the additional punishments, they don’t know how to get around the additional punishments. Searching for a Drug DUI attorney is not much different than searching for an alcohol DUI attorney.
It takes research, finding if a person focuses on DUI cases and asking the attorney how familiar they are with drug DUI or medication DUI cases. Just like any other attorney doing the research and figuring out if the attorney’s focus is their representation solely on DUI cases, if they split their representation between family law cases and criminal cases and tax representation, it really takes research in trying to figure out who would be best to represent the person in their specific situation.
Call the Arizona Criminal Law team. The phone number is (480) 442-8343.
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