Arizona is home to the harshest penalties for DUI convictions in the nation. Unfortunately, Arizona is seeing a rise in DUI charges related to impaired driving resulting from both prescription and illegal drugs. Approximately 10% of all arrests for DUI in Arizona are drug related and of those 10% of arrests the majority of those charged are using medications prescribed to them by their physicians. Mark N. Weingart has over 30 years of experience in the field of DUI law and he has the knowledge required to effectively handle drug related DUI cases at the The Weingart Firm, PLLC in Phoenix, AZ. It would seem that police in Arizona are more aware of the dangers that prescription medications can pose to drivers and they are becoming more vigilant about drug related DUI. Read on to learn more about how you can protect yourself from a DUI charge and what steps you can take if you have already been charged with a drug related DUI.
Whether you have been taking a prescription medication for years, you have been taking a new medication for a short while, or the dosage of your medication has changed, the effects of some medications may include dizziness or impaired ability to operate a motor vehicle. If an officer spots you driving erratically or at an inappropriate speed then he may suspect that you are driving impaired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you are stopped because of your “erratic or dangerous” driving then the inquiring law enforcement officer is going to ask you if you have been drinking. Although we certainly advise against blatant lying or misrepresenting yourself to an officer of the law, you are certainly not required to volunteer the fact that you take or have taken prescription medication.
It is important to have expert legal representation if you are charged with drug related DUI because there are several ways to challenge the “facts and findings” of law enforcement’s investigation of the circumstances that led to your drug related DUI charge. Blood tests are the most common testing method used to detect the presence of prescription or illegal narcotics in driver’s suspected of drug related DUI. If an officer has any suspicion that a driver is under the influence of any substances then they can substantiate the necessity of a blood test to make a determination to that effect. Blood tests will check for the presence of prescription medications and also illegal drugs such as marijuana and opiates. If the blood tests reveal the presence of these compounds or even their metabolites then prosecutors can make an argument for DUI charges.
In Arizona, the penalties for a drug related DUI conviction can often be harsher than those of an alcohol-related DUI conviction. For example, when you are convicted of an alcohol-related DUI you may apply for a Hardship License that may permit restricted driving privileges such as to an from work. After a drug related DUI conviction, there are no Hardship Licenses granted at all. Even if a person was not drinking alcohol at all during the stop that lead to their drug related DUI conviction, they may still be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device in their vehicle and have it for an entire year!
Without the experience and knowledge of an expert DUI lawyer like Mark N. Weingart, your alcohol or drug-related DUI charge can translate to a heap of legal troubles that will be inconvenient at best. The The Weingart Firm, PLLC services the Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, and Scottsdale areas of Arizona with headquarters in Tempe, AZ. If you have been charged with a DUI in Arizona, then contact our office to get the most experienced and knowledgeable legal representation available from Mark N. Weingart today!