When you drive, it is important that you have your wits about you, that your reflexes are sharp and that you can focus on what is going on around you. In fact, every driver has an obligation to all other people on the road to be reasonably cautious and careful and not to put anyone in danger. Unfortunately, when drivers are drunk or high, they are impaired by the intoxicating substances in their system and they cannot drive as safely. Driving drunk or after smoking marijuana is risky business, and the person who is impaired doesn't just endanger himself. Anyone on the roads could become involved in a crash with the impaired driver.
Protecting the safety of people on the roads is one reason why Arizona took a tough stance on marijuana testing for drivers. However, some questioned whether Arizona's laws on testing for marijuana and prosecuting drivers with the drug found in their system is fair. A case went to court on the issue, but on February 13, ABC 15 Arizona reported that the Court of Appeals said that drivers could be prosecuted if a test found a chemical compound derived from marijuana in their blood stream.
Our Phoenix, AZ accident attorneys know that driving while on drugs is extremely dangerous, and we hope that every driver takes note of the state's tough stance and refrains from driving while impaired in any way.
Arizona Takes Tough Stance on DUI Testing for Marijuana Users
The controversy surrounding Arizona's prosecution of people with the chemical compound derived from marijuana in their system stems from the fact that the compound can linger for as long as 30 days after someone has gotten high. This means that a person could potentially be arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana even if he wasn't high at the time. The driver may have smoked at any point in the past 30 days and may have been completely sober when he was driving.
The Court of Appeals, however, indicated that motorists can still be prosecuted for DUI based on marijuana even if the blood test showing the chemical compound is the only evidence. This decision on the part of the court was even more controversial as Arizona has relaxed their medical marijuana laws.
The Court, however, justified its decision because the DUI laws are intended to be interpreted broadly. The laws protect public safety. Ensuring that no innocent driver is hurt by an impaired driver is of paramount importance. While it may not seem fair, the reality is that it can be very difficult to conclusively prove that someone is high on marijuana and too impaired to be driving without the use of blood tests. Therefore, allowing for continued prosecution based on the results of a blood test will make it easier for prosecutors to hold those who drive while high accountable.
The Court's decision and the use of a blood test to determine guilt for DUI purposes may also make it easier for those injured in a DUI accident with an intoxicated driver to mount a successful personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. The blood test and any DUI conviction can be solid proof that the impaired driver was at fault for the accident and should thus pay for the resulting costs.
If you've been injured in an accident, contact the Israel Law Group at (888) 900-3667 for a confidential consultation.