As currently interpreted, trace amounts of a marijuana metabolite (Carboxy-THC) are enough to justify a DUI conviction, even if it is clear the amount of the metabolite that exists would not indicate impairment (or, in fact, would tend to indicate lack of impairment). At least one Arizona Court of Appeals case (State v. Hammond, 1998) upheld a conviction in such a case with the basic rationale that marijuana was a completely illegal substance in Arizona at the time and, therefore, it was rational for the legislature to ban driving while even trace amounts of the metabolite were present, regardless of impairment.
Does the argument still hold up now that Medical Marijuana Laws have made the substance legal in some cases? Are changes to DUI laws (or changes in the interpretation of those laws) forthcoming, and, if so, will these changes apply only to medical marijuana users?
This post is not meant to express an opinion on the issue, but simply to remind Prescott Law Group clients and prospective clients to remember is that this is an area of great change and the law is not yet settled. We will keep an eye on further development. Feel free to call our office at (928) 445-1909 if you have any questions about this or other developments in the law.
- Arizona Revised Statutes – Driving or actual physical control while under the influence; trial by jury; presumptions; admissible evidence; sentencing; classification
- Leagle.com – State vs. Hammonds (1998)
- RT.com – “Weeks-old traces of marijuana can land you a DUI in Arizona”
- NORML.com – “Arizona Drugged Driving”