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Arizona Supreme Court rules on DUI and medical marijuana issue

Drunk driving defenses have to be determined by the facts of the case. In a recent ruling by the Arizona Supreme Court, the issuance of a medical marijuana card might be grounds for an affirmative defense in a DUI case that is the result of driving while under the influence of marijuana.

While the parties who filed an appeal didn't win their appeal, the opinion of the court does pave the way for people who use medical marijuana in line with the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act to present a defense to a case that hinges on the presence of marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol, in their system.

Tetrahydrocannabinol is something that can still be detected in a person's system long after any impairment wears off. With that in mind, the presence of THC in a person's system who holds a medical marijuana card isn't enough for a conviction now. Signs of impairment from the drug can still be considered in a drugged driving case.

It is important to know that if you are found with marijuana in your possession at the time you are stopped, you can face criminal charges if the type of marijuana or the quantity isn't in line with the type or quantity you are legally allowed to possess.

If you were stopped and charged with drunk driving because of medical marijuana, this ruling by the Arizona Supreme Court might help your defense. Exploring this option, as well as other defense options, can help you to decide the basis upon which to build your case. From there, you can work on gathering what you need for your defense.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Pot Not Automatic DUI for Ariz. Medical Users," Jack Bouboushian, Nov. 20, 2015

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