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More drug DUI arrests reported in 2012

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) reports that alcohol related DUI arrests in Arizona have decreased from 2011 to 2012. While this is commonly seen as good news, it is tempered by the increase in DUI arrests stemming from drug related impaired driving.

In a report by the Ahwataukee Foothills News, law enforcement agencies have seen more impaired driving offenses spurred by prescription drug and marijuana use. Between 2011 and 2012, the number of drug DUI arrests increased by 12 percent. In fact, drug related stops increased the number of total DUI arrests by 13 percent last year.

The GOHS explained that many of the drivers stopped did not realize that driving under the influence of prescription drugs, or even medicinal marijuana, is illegal. Many drivers believed that if possession of marijuana was okay (with the proper certification) they were free to drive. Unfortunately that was not the case.

The increase in impaired driving charges is compelling as the state seeks to amend its laws with regard to marijuana. Like many states, Arizona has officers who are trained to recognize signs of drug use, but there is no workable standard to determine whether a driver is actually impaired by illicit drugs. With marijuana, for example, there is no quick and convenient way to determine a person's THC levels. Instead, a blood test is required.

Because of this, it is important for those charged with drug-related DUI's to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled lawyer can analyze the facts and help find all available defenses to criminal charges.

Source: Ahwatukee.com, Phoenix sees increase in drug-related DUI offenses, March 31, 2013

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