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The question has been looming for some time in Arizona courts: are the presence of metabolites from marijuana use in the bloodstream enough to convict someone of driving under the influence? Now, the Arizona Supreme Court has issued the final response: no. Metabolites alone are not enough to secure a conviction for DUI in this state, according to a recent ruling.

Medical Marijuana and DUI

This is good news for those who may be using medical marijuana as allowed by Arizona law since 2010. Until this ruling, the presence of any marijuana metabolites in the bloodstream was enough to warrant a DUI charge. The problem is that metabolites, unlike alcohol, can stay in the bloodstream for weeks after someone uses marijuana and do not necessarily indicate an impaired condition.

Law enforcement officers have tried to arrest drivers and prosecutors have tried to secure convictions based on the presence of metabolites alone. Now, the Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that this is not logical and will not be upheld at the highest court levels.

Until the court ruled, those who used marijuana legally as part of a medical marijuana program could not safely drive on Arizona highways. Now, a driver who is pulled over and charged with DUI must be driving erratically and exhibiting other symptoms of impairment or have a blood alcohol level high enough to warrant a DUI charge.

What Should I Do If I Am Pulled Over?

If you are pulled over for DUI, the first thing to do is contact a DUI defense attorney. It is very possible that the charges against you may be dismissed if there is not sufficient evidence to convict you. Even if you are impaired, a DUI attorney may be able to work with you to get the charges lowered or dropped, depending on the circumstances.

You should also remember that the rules that apply in Arizona will not necessarily apply in other states. For example, if you use medical marijuana legally here, then drive into New Mexico, the laws of that state will apply and you could be charged with DUI under New Mexico law.

Alex Lane is a DUI defense attorney in Phoenix who is ready to work with you. With the help of Alex Lane, you may be able to fight your DUI charges and reduce the penalties you suffer as a result of an arrest.


If you have been charged with a DUI, drug charge, sex crime or any serious criminal offense, let an experienced defense team fight for you. Schedule a consultation with one of our partners today. Call (480) 562-3482 or send an email.