Arizona’s high court ruled today (April 22, 2014) that drivers who have a secondary marijuana metabolite on their system cannot be charged with a DUI based solely on that piece of evidence.
Prosecutors had argued that any trace of marijuana in one’s system should be grounds for charging the driver with a DUI. However, advocates of medical marijuana argued that marijuana metabolites can remain in one’s system for weeks after use and shouldn’t be used as grounds to charge someone with a DUI.
In the state of Arizona, an estimated 40,000 people are legally allowed to use medical marijuana to treat chronic conditions from pain to glaucoma.
This ruling comes after the state attempted to prosecute a driver for having Carboxy-THC in his system after he was pulled over. (Carboxy-THC is a metabolite of marijuana.) The judge ended up throwing out the case. The case went on to the Arizona Supreme Court where they ruled that considering any byproduct of marijuana in one’s system as a metabolite “leads to absurd results.”
The Arizona Supreme Court ruling stated:
“Most notably, this interpretation would create criminal liability regardless of how long the metabolite remains in the driver’s system or whether it has any impairing effect. For example, at oral argument the State acknowledged that, under its reading of the statute, if a metabolite could be detected five years after ingesting a proscribed drug, a driver who tests positive for trace elements of a non-impairing substance could be prosecuted. … this interpretation would criminalize otherwise legal conduct.”
If you are currently facing criminal charges for driving under the influence of marijuana, talk to an attorney today!
Source: AZ Central