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If You Use Medical Marijuana and Drive, You Could Be Charged with a DUI

Regardless of the fact that you have a medical marijuana card, this could cost you your driver's license in Arizona. All it takes is any measurable amount of medical marijuana in your system, and you could be charged with a DUI. This may seem to go against the state's law that drivers can take to the road after taking prescription drugs if they are not impaired, and if they are following a doctor's prescription. The thing is, prosecutors say that marijuana is recommended, not prescribed, so that law is no protection to cardholders.

What often happens is that when someone is charged with a DUI, it includes not only the charge of driving while impaired to the slightest degree, but also the connected charge of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or of drugs. Those charged with a marijuana DUI then, could be charged with impairment as well as with being under the influence of drugs. The charge of impairment can be defended against with the help of an expert, and defense lawyers say this should be the only defense that medical marijuana users need, that a medical marijuana card should counter any charge of driving under the influence of drugs. Unfortunately, in some jurisdictions, a prosecutor is able to keep information about a medical marijuana card out of a trial, which defense attorneys claim is highly unfair to the defendant.

Michigan is also sorting through these legal issues. In one prominent case, a man was pulled over five hours after he had smoked medical marijuana. He was charged with driving a car with a prohibited substance in his system. He had 10 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana in his blood. Because of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA), a judge decided that the man was free to drive after treatment unless he was proven to be impaired, that he should not be convicted. The next court came up with the same decision. Then the Michigan Court of Appeals disagreed with this ruling, deciding that lawmakers had said it is perilous to have even traces of marijuana in one's bloodstream. The case went all the way up to the Michigan Supreme Court. There the original ruling was upheld, that medical marijuana law protects users from a DUI charge if they are not impaired.

This is the stance that some Arizona defense attorneys and medical marijuana advocates believe should be followed in this state. As long as a driver is not impaired, why should they be charged with a DUI for medical treatment they take? There are defense lawyers who have said that these laws essentially tell medical marijuana users to stay off the road, as a medicinal dose on a Friday could land them a DUI charge the Monday after that, or even the Monday two weeks after, as chemicals can linger in the bloodstream for days, and without impairing someone either.

As DUI cases for medical marijuana are pending in Arizona courts, it is uncertain what stance these courts will take. If you are a medical marijuana cardholder and you were charged with a DUI because of your legally protected medicinal treatment, then you deserve to have the staunchest defense possible. As a former prosecutor himself, Attorney Joshua S. Davidson understands how the other side thinks and operates. At the Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson PLC, we are committed to fully defending your rights. Find out how we may be able to fight for you when you contact our firm. Schedule a free consultation with an outstanding Phoenix criminal defense attorney today.