You shouldn’t drive when you are high. It’s not safe for you and it’s not safe for anyone else on the road. But the state should have to prove you are, in fact high before they can arrest, charge, and convict you of a crime. As the Arizona laws currently stand, they do not. But some are hoping that will soon change.
The Supreme Court of the state has been asked to take up a case that would challenge the current marijuana DUI law. As it stands, someone can be charged and convicted of DUI even if they haven’t smoked pot in several weeks.
To understand how, we need a quick science lesson.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive component in marijuana. This is the stuff in pot that makes you “high”. Something called Carboxy-THC is a metabolite of THC, but it is not active and its presence doesn’t mean you are high. As a matter of fact, Carboxy-THC can remain in the bloodstream for up to a month after smoking marijuana.
Blood tests used in DUI cases where the driver is suspected of using marijuana detect both THC and Carboxy-THC. And the law allows either to stand as sufficient evidence of marijuana-intoxication. In other words, it would be completely possible for you to smoke last week and be arrested this week because your blood contains Carboxy-THC.
The case in question before the Supreme Court did just that. A defendant was arrested and charged for DUI even though he wasn’t high. The trial court judge dismissed the initial charge, saying “it doesn’t make sense to prosecute people with no evidence they’re under the influence,” according to the Associated Press.
But, an Appeals Court reversed his decision. Now the high court of the state will decide if it’s a case they want to hear or if the Appeals Court ruling will stand.
A decade ago marijuana laws were not figuring as prominently in the media or the justice system. Pot was illegal, period, and was viewed as a serious drug. But things are changing and attitudes with it.
The vast majority of Americans want to be able to choose for themselves if they will smoke marijuana. And when there are laws restricting its use, they want those laws to be fair and concise.
If you are charged with a marijuana offense, whether it’s DUI or possession, we may be able to help. Contact our offices today to discuss your case.