Drugged Driving Laws in Arizona – Tucson DUI Attorneys

drugged driving laws in arizona

Drugged Driving Laws in Arizona

Introduction to Drugged Driving Laws in Arizona

Driving under the influence of alcohol is not the only substance that can lead to a DUI charge. Driving under the influence of any substance that can impair your driving, even coffee or just being tired, can result in a DUI under drugged driving laws in Arizona. Every state prohibits driving while impaired by drugs, but there are variations from state to state on these laws.i Every state also varies in what consent is required or implied for testing as well as what concentration of drugs can be within your body to constitute impairment.ii Some states have a zero tolerance rule, which means that ANY amount of drugs in your blood system will be treated as a violation of the law.iii

Realistically, if you are driving while impaired for any reason (and it is obviously affecting your driving, so much so that an officer would pull you over) – you can be charged with a DUI of some form. Many states call a DUI from under the influence of drugs a DUI and refer to the laws as Drugged Driving Laws.

DUIs Generally

DUI stands for “driving while under the influence”.iv Typically this means under the influence of alcohol, but this charge can also include drugs, which includes both legal and illegal drugs.v There are many classifications of DUIs in Arizona. To begin with, a standard DUI will result in a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more for standard vehicles.vi The BAC level must not exceed 0.04% if driving a commercial vehicle.vii And for underage drinkers, the BAC level must be 0.00% or that minor can be fined with an underage DUI.viii An extreme DUI has the BAC level of 0.15% or higher.ix

There is also a classification of DUI called the aggravated DUI. An aggravated DUI in Arizona can arise from three separate types of situations. The first way a DUI can become aggravated is if the DUI has been committed while the driver’s license has been revoked or suspended.x The next way is if the DUI was the third DUI of the driver within five years.xi Finally, the last way is if the DUI was committed while a person under the age of fifteen years was in the vehicle with the driver.xii An aggravated DUI is the type of DUI that will get immigrants into the most amount of trouble with federal immigration laws. Not only will an immigrant face possible deportation if they receive an aggravated DUI, but they can face range of fees and jail time, which would be determined by the judge.xiii

Drugged Driving Laws in Arizona

drugged driving laws in arizonaDrugged driving laws in Arizona can be found under § 28-1381 of the Arizona code.xiv The law specifically states that it is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state “while there is any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body.”xv

Arizona is one of the states that has the zero tolerance rule against drugged driving, which is referred to as a “per se” rule.xvi If an officer has a reasonable suspicion that the driver has any prohibited drugs in there system while they are in control of the vehicle, the officer can arrest that driver.xvii Actual evidence of a prohibited drug is not essential, as long as the officer had a reasonable belief that the driver is “on something” while driving.xviii

Drugged driving laws in Arizona prohibits a very long list of substances, which can be found under Section 13-3401 of the Arizona code.xix If the driver is legally entitled to use a prohibited substance, say through a prescription that will not keep the officer from arresting you and charging you with driving while impaired. If a medical professional did in fact prescribe the drug that the driver is under the influence of at the time of the arrest, it could be a possible defense.xx

If a driver is arrested in Arizona for “drugged driving”, they will be charged with driving under the influence and will be subject to penalties that are provided for alcohol DUIs.xxi A conviction for drugged driving will be considered as a prior offense when determining punishment for future offenses for drugs or alcohol charges.xxii

Arizona is also known as an implied consent state for purposes of blood or urine testing.xxiii If the driver refuses to take the urine or blood test, it can be used later in evidence against the driver.xxiv

Colorado Drugged Driving Laws

Arizona is on the stricter side when it comes to drugged driving laws relative to the other states. Colorado, on the other hand is less strict. Colorado’s drugged driving laws can be found under Section 42-4-1301(1) of the Colorado Vehicle and Traffic Code.xxv Under this code, a person can receive a misdemeanor if they are under the influence of one or more drugs and drives any vehicle in that state.xxvi A driver can also receive a misdemeanor if they are driving impaired by one or more drugs.xxvii

In Colorado, there are two standards for drugged driving arrests.xxviii These arrests can occur if the individual is impaired while driving under the influence of one or more drugs, or if the person is a habitual user and driving.xxix In Colorado, impairment means that the person who is impaired is less able to, mentally, physically (or both), exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in while operating a vehicle.xxx

Conclusion to Drugged Driving Laws in Arizona

Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, or alcohol, can result in a DUI charge in the legal system. There are so many other complications that can arise from operating a motor vehicle that are outside the realm of the legal system. Every state has their own laws to deal with drugged driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. Some states, like Arizona, are stricter when it comes to these laws but other states like, Colorado, deal with these violations in a lesser manner. Always consult experienced attorneys in Arizona.


i See Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) Laws Driving Laws NOLO Legal Encyclopedia (Accessed February 24, 2017) http://dui.drivinglaws.org/topics/duid-laws#

ii Id.

iii Id.

iv See Will a DUI Affect Your Permanent Reident Status? All Law. (Accessed April 8, 2016). http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/us-immigration/dui-affect-permanent-resident-status-green-card.html

v Id

vi See DUI & DWI in Arizona. Department of Motor Vehicles. (Accessed April 5, 2016). http://www.dmv.org/az-arizona/automotive-law/dui.php

vii Id

viii Id

ix Id

x See Arizona DUI Fines and Sentencing. Free Advice Legal. (Accessed April 4, 2016). http://criminal-law.freeadvice.com/criminal-law/drunk_driving/arizona-dui-law.htm

xi Id

xii Id

xiii Id

xiv See Arizona’s Drugged Driving Laws Driving Laws NOLO Legal Encyclopedia (Accessed February 24, 2017) http://dui.drivinglaws.org/resources/arizonas-drugged-driving-law.htm

xv Id.

xvi Id.

xvii Id.

xviii Id.

xix Id.

xx Id.

xxi See Arizona’s Drugged Driving Laws Driving Laws NOLO Legal Encyclopedia (Accessed February 24, 2017) http://dui.drivinglaws.org/resources/arizonas-drugged-driving-law.htm

xxii Id.

xxiii Id.

xxiv Id.

xxv See Colorado’s Drugged Driving Laws Driving Laws NOLO Legal Encyclopedia (Accessed February 24, 2017) http://dui.drivinglaws.org/resources/colorados-drugged-driving-law.htm

xxvi Id.

xxvii Id.

xxviii Id.

xxix Id.

xxx Id.