Driving While On Marijuana May Not Lead to a DUI, But it is Admissible in Civil Court
This might surprise you but if a police officer finds evidence that you have been driving while on marijuana, it does not automatically mean that you have committed the offense of driving while under the influence (DUI). The defendant will not get a DUI if they offer evidence that shows that the concentration of drugs in their body was insufficient to cause impairment. This is what becomes difficult since it is easy to measure the level of alcohol in your body to see how “drunk” or impaired you may be (with a standard of 0.08% of blood alcohol concentrate), but it is difficult to determine how much marijuana is needed to cause you to drive impaired.
Arizona civil courts will admit the evidence that the adverse driver was smoking the marijuana before the collision. Arizona insurance adjustors will have to use this factor of “illegal drugs” or “impairment” into their computer software that analyses the value of personal injury cases. The insurance adjustor, or the opposing counsel, will also have to determine how a person smoking marijuana will appear before a jury.
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act holds that licensed medical marijuana users cannot be prosecuted for marijuana use if they obey the statute. The state laws against DUIs do not allow a person to drive while impaired (alcohol or marijuana), and if on marijuana, then even the metabolites in the blood can be used to convict the person of a DUI. The defendant may use their marijuana card as an affirmative defense to such a charge by showing that the use was authorized by the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. However, the defendant also has to prove “by a preponderance of the evidence” that the metabolites were at a level that no longer caused impairment. The argument must be made at trial, and not in an appeal. Hence, evidence of the adverse driver’s driving while on marijuana can still help your civil case.