In a recent Arizona DUI decision, a defendant appealed his conviction for aggravated driving under the influence. The case arose just after midnight when the police arrested him for driving under the influence and performed an inventory search of his car. Inside his car, they found a pill bottle that contained Oxycodone. They took him to the police station, and he consented to a blood draw.
His blood alcohol level was .037, and he had 29 nanograms per milliliters of Oxycodone in his blood. At his time of arrest, his driving privileges were suspended. He was indicted for a count of aggravated DUI while impaired to the slightest degree, as well as aggravated DUI while Oxycodone or its metabolite was in his body and possession of Oxycodone. The last count was dismissed before trial.
At trial, the defendant presented evidence that he’d filled a prescription for immediate release Oxycodone shortly before, and the amount found in his blood fell within the therapeutic range. He also asked for an affirmative defense jury instruction based on A.R.S. § 28-1381(D). This law provided that someone using a drug as prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner wouldn’t be guilty of driving while drugged.