Understanding Arizona’s drugged driving statute

Posted On February 15, 2017 Drug Charges by John Allen Phebus

As DUI deaths rise across the state, Arizona has turned to some rather aggressive law enforcement tactics to attempt to protect public safety. That means more than just tightening DUI penalties, though. It also means a very vigorous drugged driving statute. This is one statute that every motorist should be aware of because navigating its complexities involves understanding the nature and complications of many prescription drugs, in addition to alcohol and illegal drugs.

How drugged driving works in Arizona

Arizona’s drugged driving statute allows for the arrest of individuals who drive with metabolites of drugs that are known to affect one’s ability to drive in one’s bloodstream. It is worth noting that it is possible to be charged with driving under the influence for drugged driving even when one is not intoxicated but is driving with the metabolite in one’s system. As a result, a range of drugs might be detected whether or not they are prescribed and used within the restricted guidelines offered by medical professionals. Those drugs include the following:

  • Cannabis and its derivatives
  • Opiates, including synthetic opiates included in some prescription drugs
  • Certain classes of amphetamines

Since every drug covered by this statute is legal under some circumstances in several states, patients need to be very careful about driving while being treated, and those who might have illegally ingested these drugs need to be aware of their risks as well in case they are pulled over and tested.

What to do if an arrest is made

If a driver is tested for drugged driving in Arizona, the state’s implied consent law does apply to him or her, but that does not necessarily mean that the results are legally motivated or that his or her options are limited. The best way to proceed is by contacting a lawyer with experience in drivers’ rights and driving under the influence charges in this geographic area. He or she will be able to explain all available options and help plan the best defense possible. In the event that there is a way to challenge the results of the test, an attorney will also be the best resource for navigating and issuing those challenges.

Fighting drugged driving charges in Arizona can be difficult, but when a driver has the right advice and strategy, it is not impossible. Contacting a professional and knowledgeable attorney is key to finding the best possible outcome for a drugged driving case and having assistance driving toward it.