When law enforcement personnel suspect someone of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will generally stop them and investigate further to determine their sobriety. While you might know that police usually test someone for alcohol impairment through breath tests, you might wonder how the police test for the presence of drugs. Law enforcement officers will usually look for visual signs of impairment, question the suspect and then order a blood test.
Depending on the type of drug, some substances can remain in your system for weeks after use. If you test positive for any drugs, you could be charged with a DUI of drugs or controlled substances. Active metabolites in a person’s blood show recent drug use. Inactive metabolites could date back for months. Arizona law does not differentiate between the two when charging offenders with a drug DUI.
A.R.S. 28-1381 states that it is a violation of the law to be in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence any drug, no matter the amount. Common examples of drugs include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, methamphetamine and ecstasy. Prescription drugs are usually excluded depending on the situation. However, they can also impair response time when driving, and if you cause an accident while taking prescription medication, you could be charged accordingly. If you take expired prescriptions, chances are high that you would be charged for DUI, especially if the prescription is not in your name. The State of Arizona is recognizing Medical Marijuana and we’ve put together information on how a DUI arrest with a Medical Marijuana Card can be handled.
Arizona can decide to prosecute offenders who commit DUI with drugs either as a misdemeanor or a felony. If there are drugs or paraphernalia in the vehicle or on your person, you could face more charges. Other common names for a Drug DUI in Arizona are: Weed DUI, Pot DUI, and Metabolite DUI.
According to A.R.S. 13-707, a DUI first offense is usually classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor and could receive a presumptive or standard sentence of a minimum fine of $1,250 and/or six months in custody. The minimum, mandatory jail time is 10 days unless the offender completes substance-abuse treatment. They may need to complete community service and install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for one year. If you are convicted of a second offense, you could be charged with the next higher level of crime. This means that the misdemeanor increases in severity to a Class 6 Felony with a presumptive sentence of minimum fines of $750 and 18 to 24 months in custody. Arizona has a seven-year “look-back” period, which means that the state includes any prior conviction for DUI within the past 84 months when considering prior offenses.
When determining penalties for second offenses, Arizona includes DUI convictions in other states. Enhanced punishments include at least 90 days in jail, and defendants must serve at least 30 days consecutively. This sentence can be suspended upon completion of an acceptable drug-treatment program. They must pay at least a $3,000 fine, and their driver’s license will be revoked for one year during which they must also install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle.
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