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In Arizona, it is unlawful to drive while there is a drug or its metabolite in your system if the drug is not being used as validly prescribed.

The penalties for a DUI Drug charge are the same as an alcohol DUI except for the loss of license.  If you are found guilty of a DUI and the judge indicates that drugs were involved the MVD will revoke your license for a year.

There are two different scenarios in an arrest for a DUI drugs:

1. The Drug in the Defendant's system is illegal or there is no prescription

2. The Drug in the Defendant's system was legally prescribed.

When the drug is legally prescribed the State should dismiss the charge upon being shown the proof of prescription.  However, the State is often reluctant to dismiss the charge despite the proof presented.  While the State can argue that although the Defendant had a valid prescription they did not take the drug as prescribed an experienced attorney can fight such an allegation.

With proper testing it is often possible to prove compliance with a prescription with a blood sample.  I have an established relationship with a forensic laboratory who can help me prove your innocence.  Do not get bullied by the State.

In many cases the State will allege that the drugs, although legally prescribed, impaired the Defendant's ability the drive because the bottles contain warnings on the labels about operating heavy machinery.  However, an experienced attorney can help you prove that it was not the prescribed medications that were causing whatever impairment the officer is claiming to see.

The State must do what is called a Drug Recognition Evaluation in these cases.  Without such an evaluation the State's case is weak.  Even with the evaluation an experienced attorney can poke holes and expose these pseudo-medical evaluations for what they are, simply ways to try to generate evidence against the defendant.

When the drug is illegal you need an attorney who is able to understand the lab results and find possible errors in the testing.  It is also possible that a result that appears to be an illegal drug can be the metabolite of a legal drug.

When it comes to marijuana this law very unfair.  Because marijuana is now legal in some situations a person who is arrested pursuant to this law needs an attorney to protect their rights.

In some situations a person charged with a DUI Drugs has only an inactive metabolite of marijuana in their system.  What that means is that the person was not under the influence of an illegal drug at the time of driving.  The State knows what it means, too, but will still try to prosecute the case.  If you have an a DUI Drugs involving marijuana you need an attorney who knows what the different metabolites of marijuana mean to your case.

The Law Office of Michael A. Burkhart

Michael A. Burkhart has over ten years of experience defending the accused throughout Phoenix, including cases in Mesa, Maricopa County, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, and Queen Creek.


Arizona has the toughest DUI laws in the country. The State will try to put you in jail for up to six months, take away your license, make you pay thousands of dollars in fines, go through alcohol classes, and put an alcohol sensor on your car.