Drunk Driving vs. Marijuana DUI: What to Expect

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Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol and Marijuana DUI are typically grouped under the umbrella DUI offense together with drive a blood alcohol level of .08 and above; impaired to the slightest degree. With the legalization of medical marijuana in Arizona, having a medical marijuana card is no guarantee that you will not serve jail time if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of marijuana.

Driving while intoxicated and driving under the influence of drugs like marijuana are serious offenses and should not be taken lightly. For one, you may face jail or even prison time. Thus, when charged with DWI or DUI, it is best that you have excellent legal representation to help you get the best possible results.

 

Drunk Driving versus High Driving

Both drunk driving and marijuana DUI are illegal, although some changes to the DUI law were implemented with the recent legalization of medical marijuana in some states in the US, including Arizona.

 

Measuring Blood Alcohol Levels and Marijuana Usage

If a police officer suspects your driving is impaired due to excessive alcohol consumption, you will likely be requested to undergo a breathalyzer test or a blood test to determine the alcohol level in your system.

If a police officer pulls you over, suspecting that you may be driving under the influence of drugs like marijuana, the arresting officer will likely ask you to undergo a blood test or a urine test to determine the what drugs are in your system. The tests are used to determine the presence of meth, marijuana, cocaine, methadone and even prescription drugs.

 

Instances That May Merit a DUI Charge

According to statistics, for every 50 people arrested for drunk driving, 1 arrest for marijuana DUI is made. So, what will get you arrested for DUI?

You may face a DUI charge if the following factors are present:

  • You are in control of a motor vehicle, even if you are currently not driving it
  • If the level of alcohol found in your system is at least 0.08% (0.04% if you are driving a commercial vehicle
  • If you are noticed to show signs of impaired driving.

 

Penalties for DUI/DWI in Arizona

In Arizona, your driving history and the circumstances that surround your DUI/DWI case will determine the appropriate penalties. Conviction may come with fines, jail time, license suspension or revocation, and completion of an alcohol or drug addiction treatment program. Following are some additional information about DUI/DWI in Arizona.

  • Standard DUI – This involves driving with a BAC of at least 0.08% (0.04% for commercial vehicles). A first-time DUI offender faces a jail term of 10 day, but 9 days may be suspended, fine and fees of approximately $1500, and compliance to the interlock requirement on your car’s ignition. You must also complete an alcohol and drug screening, education, and treatment program. Stiffer penalties are imposed for subsequent convictions. Read more on standard/misdemeanor DUI’s
  • Extreme DUIs – You will be charged for extreme DUI if you have a BAC greater than .15%. A first-time DUI offender faces a jail term of 30 days, but 21 days may be suspended. Of the 9 days in jail, 7 may possibly be done on home detention. Fines and fees of approximately $2800, and compliance to the interlock requirement on your car’s ignition. You must also complete an alcohol and drug screening, education, and treatment program. Stiffer penalties are imposed for subsequent convictions. Read more on Extreme DUI’s
  • Extreme DUIs – You will be charged for extreme DUI if you have a BAC greater than .20%. A first-time DUI offender faces a jail term of 45 days, but 31 days may be suspended. Of the 14 days in jail, 11 may possibly be done on home detention. Fines and fees of approximately $3200, and compliance to the interlock requirement on your car’s ignition. You must also complete an alcohol and drug screening, education, and treatment program. Stiffer penalties are imposed for subsequent convictions. Read more on Extreme & aggravated DUI’s
  • Aggravated DUI – These are felonies and the penalties for include prison time on a first offense. You can get an aggravated DUI charge if:
    • Alcohol has impaired your ability to driving to the slightest degree or the BAC exceeds the legal limits; and
    • You license is currently revoked, cancelled, or suspended, or
    • It is your third DUI charge within a period of 84 months.

 

When facing a DUI charge in Arizona, contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law to get the best possible legal representation for your case.