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Arizona Supreme Court Dismisses Marijuana DUI Case, Alters Interpretation of DUI Law

While medical marijuana is legal in Arizona, it used to be that if a driver had any trace of marijuana in their system, they could face DUI charges. The problem with this, is that a non-impairing metabolite could remain in a user's bloodstream for as long as a month or more after medication. One marijuana DUI case made it all the way to the state Supreme Court, and last week, the majority of justices agreed that the case should be dismissed, that not only does the presence of marijuana have to be proven, but impairment must be proven as well. Finding an inactive metabolite of marijuana in a driver's blood is no longer enough on its own to land someone a DUI charge.

Last year, the state Court of Appeals had ruled the zero-tolerance law on marijuana and driving should stand unmodified. This was in spite of the fact that the inactive carboxy-THC could last in the bloodstream for weeks after marijuana use, and many argued that this unfairly meant that nearly 48,000 medical marijuana patients in Arizona had to either give up their driver's license or their medical marijuana card.

The Supreme Court's ruling now means that carboxy-THC cannot lead to a DUI charge. But if a DUI test reveals active THC in a driver's system, they can still face a marijuana DUI charge. Studies have shown that this active THC can also linger in a person's system for days, perhaps weeks, which means the possibility of DUI charges for unimpaired drivers still remains.

If you or someone you know faces this complex charge, a serious charge that could not only mean a jail sentence and criminal fines but a criminal record, then you need to work with a skilled lawyer who is well-versed in all the defenses available to you. Find out how you can preserve your rights and your freedom when you work with a Phoenix criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson. Ask for your free consultation today!