New Defense Available in Arizona Medical Marijuana DUI Cases

Posted by Raymond Kimble | Jan 20, 2016 | 0 Comments

The Arizona Supreme Court just ruled that people who hold a valid medical marijuana card and have been arrested for DUI can argue that there is an insufficient amount of THC, or the impairing metabolite in their system as a defense.  This is an important decision because it gives patients a legitimate defense if they are being prosecuted  for DUI as a result of their using medical marijuana.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act allows  people to possess and use limited amounts of medical marijuana if they have been diagnosed by a doctor as having a debilitating medical condition and they obtain a card identifying themselves as a registered and qualifying patient.  Although marijuana cardholders in Arizona cannot be prosecuted for simply possessing and using marijuana, they are subject to prosecution for DUI.  Medical marijuana cardholders can be charged with DUI if they are alleged to be impaired to drive an automobile, known as the "A1" charge or alternatively, if they are proven to be operating a vehicle with an illegal drug or metabolite in their system.  This latter charge, commonly referred to by DUI lawyers as the "A3" charge is dependent upon the results of a blood or urine test.  Unfortunately, most medical marijuana users will consistently have a marijuana metabolite in their system and be at risk of being charged with DUI since they regularly use marijuana as permitted by their card.

Unlike marijuana, people cannot be charged with DUI involving  an illegal drug in their system if they are using the drug as prescribed by a licensed medical professional.  In medical marijuana cases, the marijuana is not technically prescribed by a physician.  Instead, patients are given authorization to ingest the marijuana in limited quantities.  This technicality, or the difference between "prescription" and "authorization" permits police and prosecutors to pursue DUI charges against medical marijuana cardholders.

Fortunately, there is now hope.  Specifically, people who have a valid Arizona medical marijuana card can defend against a DUI charge by showing the concentration of marijuana or THC in their system was not enough to cause impairment.  This is extremely beneficial as most marijuana DUI cases resulted in a conviction right after a prosecutor showed that there was an active marijuana metabolite in a driver's system.  Nothing else was required.  Now, we can argue that the amount of marijuana found in your blood or urine was so low that it could not have impaired your ability to drive.  In support of this new found defense we can examine the results of your blood or urine tests, show that your driving behavior was not bad and point to your strong performance on various field tests such as the HGN (eye test), Walk and Turn or One Leg Stand as proof that you were not impaired.  

If you are a medical marijuana cardholder and have been charged with DUI in Arizona, call me at (480) 833-8613 immediately for a free consultation and case evaluation.  I have successfully defended DUI cases throughout Arizona for the last  twenty years and will use this new affirmative defense to your advantage.  There is no reason to accept a DUI conviction if you have been stopped by police despite having a valid medical marijuana card.

About the Author

Raymond Kimble

About Raymond Kimble Attorney Raymond Kimble has built his law practice on the philosophy that each client deserves consistent individual attention. Ray realizes that being charged with a DUI or criminal offense is one of the most stressful events in a person's life. A DUI, felony or misdemeanor arrest can involve prison or jail time, probation, huge fines and a criminal record. Consequently, people who face DUI, felony or misdemeanor charges in Arizona are placed at risk of losing employment or being barred from future job opportunities. Ray works to lessen his client's anxiety by ensuring that they have direct access to him at all times and can reach him by e-mail, cell phone or text during normal business hours as well as nights or weekends if they have a pressing question or concern. Raymond Kimble is a dedicated DUI and criminal defense lawyer who has built a reputation of working tirelessly to protect his client's constitutional rights, their future and liberty. Ray strives to provide the strongest defense possible for each client despite the obstacles they may face. Put Experience to Work for You Raymond Kimble's twenty years of experience with respect to DUI, misdemeanor and felony criminal charges extends well beyond law school where he graduated within the top ten percent of his class. Ray was a police officer for ten years prior to becoming an attorney. As a police officer, Ray was trained in both DUI and criminal investigation and his personal involvement in criminal cases while a police officer certainly gives him a unique perspective when reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses and challenging physical evidence. Ray often identifies legal issues or mistakes made by police during an investigation through his own personal experience as a patrol officer. In addition to his police experience, Raymond Kimble worked as a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office where he was responsible for prosecuting DUI, felony and misdemeanor crimes. During his tenure as a prosecutor, Ray conducted a number of jury trials and hearings related to the admissibility of evidence. Through his involvement with these cases as a prosecutor, Ray learned how to properly evaluate the strength and weaknesses of a DUI, misdemeanor or felony charge and became skilled in jury selection, argument, and the direct and cross examination of both civilian witnesses, experts and police officers. Of course, Raymond Kimble's expertise extends beyond his experience as a police officer and prosecutor. Specifically, Ray has successfully represented thousands of people during the last fifteen years throughout Maricopa County, Arizona. To best serve his Clients, Raymond remains current on changes in the law as well as police tactics by regularly attending seminars focused on defending criminal charges and reading the latest articles and books related to DUI and criminal defense. Ray also regularly writes criminal defense blogs and posts so that people faced with a criminal charge are better informed about their rights.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment