DUIs are not just issued to drunk drivers there is also specific mention on the citation that there could be intoxicating vapor or drugs in the driver’s system that will count just as much as alcohol when considering if the driver was under the influence.
Under the Influence of Medication
In order to be considered under the influence of alcohol you have to hold blood or breathe at an amount or higher than the .08 blood alcohol concentration for alcohol. Any number of drugs in the system depending on what type they are can also violate the ‘under influence’ if it is in the listed drugs in section 13-3401 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. Many are unpronounceable and most likely have been prescribed by a doctor. Our law firm has seen numerous cases where medication was prescribed and taken by a client then the client drove and received a DUI or even worse, accidents involving their vehicle and costly expenses to others. When pill bottles state that it may affect the capability to drive this makes it more likely to be included as one of the drugs that violate the offender a DUI. Drugs like Phenoperidine are prescribed as general anesthesia so you might be exposed to it for minor surgeries or dental procedures. If you drive a vehicle after getting these types of procedures, you could be putting yourself at risk of receiving the same ticket from law enforcement that you would if you got hammered at a bar and tried to drive.
Health or Transportation
Many people run into the controversy of medicating or driving. If a person’s arthritis is painful enough, they are unable to walk to the car and drive. If they take their medications, they may feel good enough to drive at that point but it also means the drug is affecting the person’s mentality. Some people have higher tolerances to the drug they are taking so it has fewer side effects or effects their mentality is small enough to go unnoticeable. No matter how the person handles the drug, if they fail the blood test that looks for drugs then the person will still be charged with the DUI. Percentages for drugs are not as important as alcohol since any trace of illegal substances will land someone with a DUI charge. The controversy still lies with the types of drugs that are on the list of qualifying drugs for the DUI charge.
Medical Marijuana Exception
The current issue lies with the medical marijuana card holders that are allowed to use marijuana medicinally but then are not supposed to drive afterward. This is an issue because marijuana has such a long half-life it is hard to decipher exactly when the person used the medical marijuana last. Citizens that possess a medical marijuana card will most likely receive a DUI that is categorized as using a prescription drug then driving. If a person does not hold a medical marijuana card, they are vulnerable to receiving charges for possessing medication without a prescription. Other forms of marijuana can also be counted against the driver if products are found in the vehicle during the traffic stop.
Just like the breathalyzer test the police can request for you to approve their request to perform tests or to search the vehicle. You have every right to deny the request for a sobriety test and for the officer to search the vehicle if there is no probable cause. The officers are able to request a warrant from a Judge 24 hours a day to continue the search or test against your request. It is completely legal for police officers and judges to work together and issue warrants for all DUI stop that need further action taken that the driver refused. The officer is also allowed to find probable cause to search by walking their search dog completely around the driver’s vehicle. If the dog smells anything illegal they will alert the officer and the officer now has probable cause to search the vehicle for any possible drugs, paraphernalia, and illegal weapons.
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