Marijuana DUI Conviction Overturned by AZ Supreme Court

Posted by the Charleston DUI Lawyers at Anderson & Schuster, Attorneys at Law, LLC. Our Charleston DUI lawyers help those charged with DUI in Charleston, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Summerville and across the South Carolina lowcountry. If you are charged with DUI, our Charleston DUI Attorneys will discuss your case with you free of charge.

In overturning a DUI conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana, the Arizona Supreme Court held what you may think was obvious: authorities cannot prosecute drivers for driving under the influence of marijuana unless the person is impaired at the time of the stop. The ruling overturned an appeals court decision last year that upheld the right to prosecute marijuana users for DUI even when there is no evidence of impairment. Our coverage of that ruling can be found here: Court of Appeals Ruling on Marijuana DUI.

The issue stems from the different chemical compounds that can be found in the body after smoking marijuana. One causes impairment, i.e., gets you high, and the other does not but can stay in the body for a few weeks.

The ruling arises from the case of a driver who was stopped for speeding and later acknowledged having smoked marijuana the night before. Blood tests revealed marijuana compounds in his system, but not the kinds that cause impairment. He was charged with DUI and operating a vehicle with the presence of the drug's metabolite in his system.

The Court noted that the language of Arizona's DUI statute does not make a disticntion between metabolites that cause impairment and those that do not. The State argued that the statute's reference to "its metabolite" when referring to drug compounds detected in a driver's system covers all compounds related to drugs, effectively saying that if you smoke marijuana you ar always at risk for DUI, whether or not you are impaired.

This interpretation of the DUI statute "leads to absurd results," the court wrote. "Most notably, this interpretation would create criminal liability regardless of how long the metabolite remains in the driver's system or whether it has any impairing effect."  

Arizona has legalized marijuana for medicinal use, but not for recreational purposes. So, smoke 'em if you got 'em Arizona, just don't fire up that doobie before you get behind the wheel.

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The Charleston DUI Defense Lawyers at Anderson & Schuster, Attorneys at Law, LLC help those arrested for DUI in Charleston, North Charleston, Mt. PleasantSummervilleGoose Creek, Hanahan, Moncks Corner, James Island, West Ashley, Folly Beach, Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, Awendaw, McClellanville and the surrounding areasContact our North Charleston DUI Defense Lawyers to discuss your case today.

Source: Huffington Post, DUI Conviction overturned by AZ Supreme Court