Published on:

Burden of Proof in Arizona Marijuana DUI Cases

In Arizona, a motorist may be charged with Marijuana DUI, if they are under the influence of Marijuana, and they are driving “impaired to the slightest degree” A.R.S. 28 § 1381.

The burden of proof rests with prosecution to “prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that a person was actually driving impaired due to Marijuana found in their bloodstream.

Marijuana can actually remain in the blood stream for days and even weeks depending on how much was inhaled or ingested, and the frequency of use. In some cases, traces of Marijuana can be found after a month of use has passed.

In order for police to stop a driver to investigate for DUI with Alcohol, Marijuana or any other drugs, they must have “reasonable suspicion” that a crime or violation of the law is in progress. Once stopped, the police will ask question and look for signs of driver impairment.

If they suspect the drier is under the influence of drugs, they will require a blood or other chemical test to determine what drug or combination of drugs the driver may have inhaled or ingested.   If they have “probable cause” to believe a person is under the influence and driving impaired, they can make a lawful arrest. “Probable cause” does require some evidence such as the driver admitting they have recently used Marijuana; failed Field Sobriety Tests; Marijuana found in plain sight; along with other observations by the police officer.

Penalties for conviction of Marijuana DUI charges are very similar to Alcohol related DUI charges. Minimum sentencing for includes jail terms of at 10 days; suspension of driver’s license for up to 90 days; mandatory alcohol or drug screening or counseling, fines, fees, assessments, probation, and other penalties.

If you face Marijuana DUI charges in Mesa AZ, you should always consult a DUI lawyer and consider retaining them to defend your charges. If the police decide to conduct chemical testing, the driver should always request a second sample for their defense. If retained, their attorney will have the sample retested by an independent lab for consistency in results as compared to the crime lab. If inconsistencies or errors exist in the results; if a driver’s constitutional rights were violated; or if the driver was not impaired do the existence of the Marijuana, it may lead to a dismissal of charges. These challenges and other defenses are the most effective when argued effective through qualified legal representation.