Strategic Defenses to Arizona Marijuana DUI Charges

Posted by Raymond Kimble | Dec 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

As the use of marijuana among people throughout Arizona as well as the rest of the country increases and the increasing legalization of recreational and medical marijuana, the number of drivers stopped, investigated and charged with DUI will also grow.  Similar to an alcohol related DUI, police will initiate a motor vehicle stop once they observe a violation, look for signs of impairment and administer common field sobriety tests such as horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), the walk and turn test and one leg stand.  Depending upon a person's driving behavior, performance of the field sobriety tests and other physical signs ad symptoms, officers will determine whether a driver should be arrested and ultimately seek a blood or urine sample to determine whether they have marijuana in their system.

Defenses to Marijuana Related DUI Charges

1. Differences in Types of Marijuana Metabolites

Although the State of  Arizona does not distinguish between different types of metabolites when it comes to DUI, the Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that only psychoactive marijuana metabolites can lead to a DUI conviction.  THC is the main psychoactive component of Marijuana which can cause impairment.  However, THC  can still be present in the blood for days after a person has used marijuana. Two common Marijuana metabolites are Hydroxy-THC and Carboxy-THC. While Hydroxy-THC can potentially cause impairment, Carboxy-THC is inactive and does not cause impairment. Consequently, the Arizona Supreme Court  has stated that a person cannot be convicted of a marijuana DUI if their blood contains only Carboxy-THC or another non-impairing metabolite. 

2. Medical Marijuana

Even if Hydroxy-THC, is found in your blood, medical marijuana cardholders may still have a defense to an Arizona DUI charge. The Arizona Supreme court allows medical marijuana users to argue that they: (1) used marijuana pursuant to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) and (2) the marijuana or its metabolite was insufficient to cause impairment. Although this doesn't provide absolute immunity from a marijuana DUI prosecution for medical marijuana users,  it does provide an affirmative defense. The defendant has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the quantity of marijuana or metabolite was insufficient to cause impairment. At this point, there's not a specific quantity of marijuana or metabolite that everyone in the relevant scientific community agrees would cause impairment. Consequently, a thorough investigation of the DUI case, effective cross examination of the arresting officer and hiring a qualified expert to testify about THC levels and impairment is crucial to defending a marijuana related DUI charge.

CALL (480) 833-8613 TO GET HELP NOW

If you, a family member or friend has been arrested for a DUI offense in Arizona, it is important that you immediately begin working with a qualified DUI attorney who can effectively represent you in the court of law and take necessary steps to protect your driver's license. Attorney Raymond Kimble is a former police officer, DUI and felony prosecutor and has represented thousands of people charged with DUI in Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Phoenix and other cities throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties over the last twenty years. Ray Kimble  will have a clear understanding of all the circumstances in your case, along with the knowledge, skill and experience to protect your drivers license and achieve the best possible outcome for you.

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.


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