A driving under the influence charge does not apply only to those who are driving after consuming alcohol. In many cases, individuals are arrested and convicted of a DUI based on the fact that they were driving under the influence of other intoxicating substances. If a police officer conducts a traffic stop and finds sufficient evidence that the driver is operating his or her vehicle under the influence of illicit drugs, the driver faces a DUI conviction.
The consequences of a drug DUI can be severe, so it’s important to speak with a Glendale drug DUI lawyer as soon as possible if you’ve been arrested. Call the Stewart Law Group today for a free consultation.
Once we know the details of the charges against you, we will let you know your legal options.
Why Hire the Stewart Law Group?
Some people mistakenly believe they can handle their own legal representation and avoid paying legal fees. Others opt for public defenders as a low-cost option for legal representation. While most public defenders are great attorneys, they simply cannot provide the same level of personalized attention to a DUI drugs case that a private law firm like the Stewart Law Group can offer. Hiring a criminal defense attorney greatly increases the chance of lighter sentencing and helps prevent unjust and wrongful punishments.
- The defense attorneys at the Stewart Law Group are former prosecutors. We know how prosecutors in the Glendale court system build their cases and are familiar with the judges who try drug-related DUI cases.
- We have extensive experience with all types of DUI cases, including those involving illicit drugs as well as like cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids, and alcohol. Get in touch with a Glendale DUI attorney if you are accused of a DUI involving alcohol.
- Our attorneys take a client-focused approach to criminal defense and strive to provide the highest quality legal representation in every case we take.
- The Stewart Law Group has helped thousands of clients defend against all types of criminal charges since the inception of our law firm.
Driving Under The Influence of Substances Other Than Alcohol
It’s important to understand the Arizona DUI laws, as they aren’t always obvious. In Arizona, you can be charged with driving under the influence of an illegal substance or a substance that was legally prescribed to you and that you are taking as directed. Under one of the Arizona DUI statutes, you can be charged with and convicted of a DUI for driving while under the influence of any drug if you’re impaired to the slightest degree. In drug DUIs, officers often make arrests based solely on observations, such as erratic driving, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, smell, and other behavior they observe that could be attributed to being under the influence.
Some individuals may be able to defend against a drug-related DUI charge using various defenses. For example, medical marijuana is legal in Arizona for individuals with qualifying medical conditions. If a police officer wrongfully arrested a driver for legally obtained medical cannabis products, and the driver can prove that he or she purchased those products with a valid medical marijuana card at a licensed dispensary and was not under the influence of marijuana at the time of the traffic stop, he or she could avoid conviction.
Many prescription drugs can interfere with driving ability, and it is important for all Arizona drivers to remember that even legal drug use such as the consumption of prescription medication may lead to a drug DUI charge if the side effects of the medication interfere with the ability to safely drive a vehicle. Contact the Stewart Law Group today if you face a drug-related DUI charge and schedule a consultation with a drug DUI lawyer in Glendale.
Possible Penalties for Drug-Related DUI Convictions
A police officer who conducts a traffic stop for a suspected drug-related DUI cannot test for the presence of most drugs using standard testing equipment like a breathalyzer, so the officer will most likely issue a blood, saliva, or urine test to confirm the presence of drugs in the driver’s system. Any detectable amount of illicit drugs could lead to a DUI charge, even if the driver is not currently feeling the effects of those drugs. Some illicit drugs remain in the body for days or even weeks following use. Even though a driver may no longer feel the effects of an illicit drug, he or she may still receive a DUI charge for a positive test.
A first-time drug DUI conviction could incur penalties including no less than 10 consecutive days in jail, fines of $1,250 or more, mandatory alcohol and drug screenings, counseling, driver’s license suspension, and community service. A second offense increases these penalties to no less than 90 days in jail, fines of $3,000 or more, and driver’s license suspension for one year or more. Additionally, a drug-related DUI could lead to additional drug charges. For example, if a police officer spots a baggie containing drugs in plain view from the driver’s window, the driver could face possession charges in addition to a drug DUI. Our Glendale drug crimes lawyers can help you build a case to combat the possession charges as well as the drug DUI charges.
It’s incredibly important to understand the DUI laws relating to marijuana use, as many people believe that because medical marijuana use is legal in the state, they can’t be charged with a DUI while using it. As stated above, it’s illegal to drive under the influence of any illegal drug, or any legal drug that causes the slightest bit of impairment. After you’re arrested for a DUI, police will perform a blood test to see what’s in your system.
Marijuana users may assume that if they haven’t smoked on the day that they were pulled over, there won’t be an issue. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, as it’s also illegal to drive with any metabolite in your body. Marijuana metabolites can stay in the system for weeks, meaning you could be charged with and convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana even if you haven’t smoked in days – it doesn’t matter if you weren’t impaired.
Medical Marijuana Card as a Legal Defense
If the marijuana metabolite in your body was low, your Glendale drug DUI attorney can present evidence that you had a valid medical marijuana card and evidence that there was such a small amount of the drug in your system that you couldn’t have been impaired. While this can be successful, it’s important to understand that this is an affirmative defense, meaning the burden is on you to prove that you weren’t impaired, as opposed to the state having to prove that you were, as is usually the case. This can be done by presenting the valid medical marijuana card, blood tests, and testimony from expert witnesses.
This is a valid defense for other prescription drugs as well.
The Stewart Law Group is Here to Help
If you or someone you love was arrested for driving under the influence of a drug, contact our Glendale criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible. The sooner we sit down and discuss your case, the sooner we can develop an effective defense strategy. The drug-related DUI attorneys at The Stewart Law Group have handled all types of DUI cases and will work tirelessly for an acquittal. Contact us today to set up a free consultation to discuss your legal options.