Marijuana DUIs in Arizona

Our Arizona DUI Lawyers answer the questions our DUI clients ask the most.  Arizona Zero Down DUI Attorneys discuss frequently asked questions regarding marijuana DUI arrests in Arizona. Our DUI defense attorneys have years of experience that will be beneficial to you in your time of need. Protect your freedom and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at our legal firm and  find out what options may be available for your specific case.

A DUI conviction will remain on your record for the rest of your life. This is a big deal whether your DUI is a misdemeanor or a felony. This can be held against you whenever anyone runs a background check on you in the future. A DUI conviction can hold you back in your career, residentially, socially, and could even deny you access to certain group and volunteer opportunities. Don’t let that happen- a quality defense attorney may be able to find a defense to help you get your charges dropped or at least reduce the penalties you face. For your free consultation with one of our experienced Arizona defense attorneys, call 480-833-8000. 

Most of the time, DUI convictions in Arizona are misdemeanors. There are a limited number of circumstances, known as “aggravating factors,” that can turn a DUI into a felony. A felony DUI is also known as Aggravated DUI in Arizona. Because the felony factors in Arizona don’t have anything to do with BAC, a marijuana DUI can still be a felony here. The factors that trigger a felony DUI in Arizona are:

  1. The driver has a passenger under 15 years old with them at the time of arrest;

  2. The driver has been convicted of 2 previous DUI charges in the past 84 months, or 7 years;

  3. The driver is arrested while ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle;

  4. The driver’s license is already suspended, revoked, canceled, or restricted; and

  5. The driver is arrested going down the wrong side of the highway.


Arizona is extremely strict when it comes to DUI arrests in general, including those stemming from marijuana intoxication. And Arizona’s police force is on the road, looking to enforce these strict DUI laws. Police officers are always on the lookout for drivers under the influence, and will even occasionally set up DUI checkpoints that give them the authority to question anyone who drives through them for DUI. A police officer only needs reasonable suspicion to pull you over for DUI, and probable cause to arrest you for it.

When it comes to reasonable suspicion for a DUI stop, there are countless driving behaviors that would give a police officer sufficient constitutional reason to check if you are impaired. Drifting in your lane, braking too much, driving too fast or slow, forgetting to use your headlights or turn signals, rolling through a stop sign, and more are enough to give a police officer reasonable suspicion that you might be impaired.

Once you have been pulled over due to a police officer’s reasonable suspicion,

there are many things that could give the officer probable cause to arrest you for marijuana DUI. Red eyes, slurred or delayed speech, and red eyes can all give you the appearance of being high. The scent of marijuana is strong and a police officer obviously has cause to believe you may have consumed some if they can smell it.


Just because an intoxicating substance is legal, doesn’t mean that you are allowed to drive while under its influence. This same logic applies to alcohol and certain prescription medications. While driving with any amount of marijuana in your system used to be grounds for a DUI in Arizona, now that it is legal, there must be a sufficient amount of metabolites present in your system to impair you. It will be your burden to prove that the positive metabolite test wasn’t enough to impede your driving.


There is a difference between possessing marijuana and driving under its influence. Just like you shouldn’t be arrested for driving home from the liquor or grocery store with your alcohol before you even drink it, you shouldn’t be arrested for driving home from the dispensary before you ingest your marijuana. However, marijuana possession isn’t legal across the board- you might be underage, or having it on your person could violate your parole.


Yes. Marijuana use is shown to significantly impair driving performance for at least 3 hours after using. It can slow your reaction time and reduce your ability to react to surprise situations. Marijuana can make it harder for you to pay attention while behind the wheel, which can increase the chances of being in a car accident. That’s why Arizona police officers strive to keep people who are high off marijuana off of the road.


If you’re ever pulled over while driving after smoking weed, don’t forget your Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. You have the right to refuse field sobriety testing, such as horizontal gaze nystagmus and standing on one foot, but your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for one year if you refuse chemical testing while behind the wheel in Arizona. You should not admit to using marijuana in any way, shape, or form at any time.


If you are a recreational marijuana user, you can have up to one ounce, or about 28.35 grams, of marijuana on you at once. Only 5 grams of that can be marijuana concentrate. If you are a medical marijuana user, this limit increases to 2.5 ounces, or 70 grams. If you are a recreational user found with more than one ounce but less than 2.5 ounces, you will be charged with a petty offense. Increased violations of these limits will result in more serious charges.


Much of what goes into a marijuana DUI arrest depends on the police officer’s senses. Do you smell like weed? Are your eyes red, and you’re acting uncoordinated? Even the way you speak can tip off a police officer that you’re under the influence. Marijuana detection tests, such as the Dräger DrugTest 5000, are growing in popularity. They can also detect substances like cocaine, meth, and benzodiazepines. While these tests aren’t as widely accepted yet as Breathalyzer tests, they can give a police officer enough reason to bring you into the station and confirm their suspicions with a chemical test.


Arizona has extremely strict penalties for any type of DUI conviction, including marijuana DUI. Even if this is your first time being arrested for any type of crime, you will need to serve a jail sentence of at least one day if convicted of DUI in Arizona. You can expect to be ordered to pay fines in the several thousands of dollars. You will need to complete community service, drug screening and treatment, and driving school. Your driver’s license will end up revoked, suspended, or restricted. For marijuana DUI convictions in Arizona, you may or may not be ordered to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. You will also need to maintain SR-22, or high risk, auto insurance after an Arizona DUI conviction.