In Arizona, the laws that criminalize marijuana DUI is a misdemeanor crime with the potential for a felony. Laws in municipalities, towns, cities, and counties may be broader and be more strict in their interpretation of the law.

Marijuana DUI Laws in Arizona: What You Need to Know

As the sluggish tide of cannabis reform sweeps the nation, many states, including Arizona, are beginning to change their laws with regard to driving under the influence of marijuana. Though Arizona still follows the 0.08% blood alcohol content rule as the legal limit, the blood concentration of THC (the primary chemical component of marijuana) has been lowered in 2022 and is considered an impairment in the eyes of the law. Therefore, it’s important to know what the Arizona laws are when it comes to driving while under the influence of this popular recreational drug. In this blog post, you will learn what Arizona defines as marijuana DUI, the consequences of a marijuana DUI conviction, and resources to find an experienced DUI defense lawyer in the event that you are charged. So, take a puff and let’s dive in!

Quick Explanation

Driving while under the influence of marijuana is a crime in Arizona and can result in misdemeanor or felony charges. The penalties for this crime can vary depending on the circumstances, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the specific laws and regulations that apply to your situation.

Arizona’s Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws

Arizona law prohibits drivers from driving under the influence of Marijuana and other drugs. State statutes outline prohibited conduct and associated penalties for those not complying with Arizona’s marijuana-impaired driving laws.

The state claims that a person shall not be in actual physical control of any motor vehicle in this state under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, drug, toluene, or any vapor-releasing substance containing a toxic material if the person is impaired to the slightest degree. This definition goes beyond just “operating a motor vehicle” and includes anyone who is in control of any type of motorized conveyance while under the influence of any intoxicating substance, including marijuana.

Arizona also has a zero-tolerance policy for young drivers (age 21 and younger) operating vehicles while impaired by marijuana. The majority of motorists risk criminal prosecution if they drive while there is more than five nanograms per milliliter of active delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) present in their blood or urine within two hours of operating a vehicle.

What’s interesting here is how one measures impairment rather than presence — some may argue that just because someone has THC in their system doesn’t necessarily mean they were actually impaired at the time. But others claim that impairment should be based on testing for specific levels that are known to cause impairment. Consequently, there are arguments for both sides and only time will tell if Arizona’s current laws are effective in curbing marijuana-impaired driving or not.

Moving on from these arguments, it’s important to understand what constitutes marijuana-impaired driving in Arizona. The following section will discuss what behaviors make up a marijuana DUI offense in order to keep our readers informed and safe on the roads.

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    What Constitutes Marijuana-Impaired Driving?

    Marijuana-impaired driving describes a situation in which an individual is operating a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis. It is illegal in Arizona to drive while impaired by drugs, including marijuana, and doing so can result in serious penalties. Depending on the jurisdiction, there are two approaches to determining marijuana impairment — the presence of THC or physical evidence of impairment.

    In terms of THC presence, Arizona has adopted a zero-tolerance policy: it is illegal to have any detectable amount of THC present in your system while driving. This means that even if law enforcement can’t prove that you were impaired by marijuana, you can still be arrested and tried for driving with an unlawful amount of THC present in your system.

    The other measure used to detect marijuana impairment is physical evidence of impairment — that is, observing signs such as slurred speech or bloodshot eyes. However, this approach does not always provide reliable data due to certain medical conditions and quirks of physiology, and some argue that it could lead to unjustified arrest. This controversy has led to debates over whether law enforcement should be allowed to use physical evidence when assessing marijuana impairment.

    Overall, both measures have their applications and limitations when it comes to gauging marijuana impairment, and it’s ultimately up to prosecutors and judges to determine what constitutes cannabis-impaired driving. With all this in mind, it’s important for drivers in Arizona to understand the potential risks associated with driving while intoxicated by marijuana. Now let’s look at the penalties that Arizona has put in place for those who drive under the influence of marijuana.

    • In Arizona, it is a crime to drive with any amount of marijuana (or its metabolites) in your system.
    • If convicted of a marijuana DUI, a person can face at least 24 hours in jail, additional fines, license suspension/revocation, and possible community service.
    • A 2018 study found that 33% of drivers tested positive for marijuana during roadside sobriety tests in Arizona.

    Top Takeaways

    It is illegal to drive while impaired by marijuana in Arizona, and individuals face serious penalties if caught doing so. Two approaches to determining marijuana impairment include measuring THC levels, or physical evidence of impairment. A zero-tolerance policy has been adopted which means that having any detectable amount of THC present while driving is prohibited. There are debates over whether physical evidence should be used when assessing impairment. Ultimately, it is up to prosecutors and judges to decide on what constitutes cannabis-impaired driving, and drivers need to understand the risks associated with driving while under the influence of marijuana. Penalties for those who drive under the influence of marijuana also exist in Arizona.

    Penalties for Marijuana DUI

    DUIs related to marijuana use are treated the same way as DUIs related to the consumption of alcohol in Arizona. Driving under the influence of marijuana can come with serious penalties and fines, depending on how many times a driver has been arrested for such an offense.

    For first-time offenders, a DUI involving marijuana may result in a class 1 misdemeanor. This punishment includes up to six months in jail, a possible minimum fine of $1250, or both. Possible license suspensions range from 90 days to one year, while additional penalties can include ignition interlock device installation and drug awareness courses.

    While this sounds like a strict punishment, it could have been much worse if the state’s legislation had passed the proposed law that would have made driving under the influence of marijuana a felony offense. On one side of the argument was the pro-marijuana activists who argued that DUIs still occur even when marijuana has been consumed days previous and cannot possibly be impacted by any substances used at that time – calling for more leniency for those convicted of driving impaired by marijuana use within two weeks prior to driving. On the more conservative side were those pushing for stricter punishments for impaired drivers, countering that higher rates of DUIs due to having two separate testing kits for THC impairment versus Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) rather than one single kit measuring impairment against multiple drugs proved that lenient punishments have yet to decrease the number of dangerous drivers on the roadways.

    Ultimately, it is up to law enforcement and prosecutors to determine whether or not an individual is too impaired by drugs to operate their vehicle safely and legally on Arizona roads. Given these harsh penalties, it is important for Arizona drivers to know their rights when encountering police officers during a traffic stop. Suspension of Driver’s License is discussed in greater detail in the next section of this article…

    Suspension of Driver’s License

    The state of Arizona has some of the strictest marijuana DUI laws in the nation. In addition to legal consequences and potential jail time, offenders can also face suspension of their driver’s license. Depending on the circumstances, penalties range from 30 days up to an indefinite suspension of a driver’s license. A conviction for a marijuana-impaired DUI can result in a mandatory license suspension for 90 days for first-time offenders and up to an indefinite period of revocation—meaning revocation until successful completion of the approved treatment process—for repeat offenders.

    Proponents argue that existing DUI laws should be extended to marijuana use because people driving under the influence of marijuana pose a danger to themselves and others on the roadways. They argue that when drugs are involved, the risk of unsafe driving increases and that individuals who are impaired by any substance should not be allowed behind the wheel.

    Opponents of marijuana DUI laws contend that, unlike alcohol, reliable tests for determining marijuana impairment levels have yet to be developed, which leads to numerous false positives in cases involving cannabis. Furthermore, opponents point out that there is no clear scientific consensus as to how long THC metabolites remain in the body after they were last consumed or how much THC correlates with impairment.

    By suspending drivers’ licenses, law enforcement officials hope to prevent further offenses and ensure public safety on the roads. However, opponents claim that these punishments are too severe and disproportionately punish regular users whose intoxicating levels may not actually correspond with their ability to safely drive a vehicle. Moving forward, it will be important to determine if existing DUI laws should be applied consistently to all substances or if modifications should be made based on unique differences between drug classes.

    With such controversy surrounding marijuana DUIs in Arizona, it is important for drivers to understand how such cases are diagnosed. The following section will provide an overview of how officers diagnose impaired driving linked to marijuana use.

    How Are Marijuana DUIs Diagnosed?

    Marijuana DUIs are diagnosed when a law enforcement officer suspects impaired driving and requests a drug test. There is no specific limit for how much THC, the chemical found in marijuana, can be present in blood or urine for it to be considered an illegal amount, like alcohol’s .08%. However, some states do have thresholds for the level of THC allowed in one’s system. Arizona has imposed a zero-tolerance policy, meaning if any trace of THC is found in the blood or urine of the driver and if their physical behavior is consistent with impairment, they can be charged with a DUI.

    The use of drug tests such as blood and/or urine tests has been highly debated due to their potential inaccuracies. Opponents argue that these tests cannot differentiate between current impairment and residual THC that was ingested several days prior, leading to false positives because the presence of THC could come from second-hand smoke inhalation or ingestion that did not impair the person. Proponents assert that to guarantee proper enforcement of these laws, drug testing must be used since it is virtually impossible for an officer to observe impairment objectively since there is no measurable way to scientifically analyze characteristics of marijuana intoxication such as reddened eyes or increased heartbeat, like alcohol intoxication.

    To determine whether a driver is suffering from intoxication due to marijuana use, blood, and urine tests are performed to detect traces of THC in the bloodstream. The following section will discuss the implications and differences between these two types of tests in relation to Arizona’s marijuana DUI laws.

    Blood and Urine Tests

    The majority of DUI cases in Arizona are statistically based on the results of a chemical test for marijuana, as evidenced by police reports. When law enforcement officers suspect a driver is under the influence of marijuana, a urine or blood sample can be taken as part of a DUI investigation. The results from this test will help determine the level of marijuana intoxication and whether an individual was driving while impaired by the drug.

    Most experts believe that a blood or urine test for marijuana is more effective than field sobriety tests when it comes to detecting impairment due to THC levels in the user’s system. This is because those tests measure THC content in the bloodstream rather than just the presence of marijuana in a person’s system. However, blood testing is often considered more accurate because it offers an objective measure of drug use. It also provides an estimate of just how much THC is present at any given time, which may help to determine an individual’s level of impairment.

    Urine testing can provide some information about whether an individual has used marijuana recently, but it does not necessarily indicate significant impairment at the time the sample was taken. Additionally, critics argue that urine tests are invasive and unreliable since they measure THC metabolites, which may linger in the body long after intoxication has dissipated.

    While there is debate over which type of test is most accurate, both have inherent flaws and there remains no foolproof method of determining impairment from marijuana use. Nevertheless, these tests are commonly used by law enforcement to ascertain drug use and can be key components for building a case against a suspected offender in court.

    With the ever-evolving cannabis laws in place across many states, having a clear understanding of how these tests work and their importance when facing criminal charges related to driving under the influence is essential. The next section will discuss what happens after an arrest and conviction under Arizona’s marijuana DUI laws.

    Arrest and Conviction

    In Arizona, an individual can be convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of marijuana. An officer must have a reasonable suspicion that someone is under the influence to make a traffic stop. The suspect will then be given a field sobriety test, and potentially a blood or urine sample depending on the severity of the suspicion.

    If the results from any of these tests show that the driver has 5 or more nanograms of THC in their system, it is considered evidence for impairment. At this point, officers may opt to make an arrest if they believe that the driver is unable to drive safely. However, Arizona courts do allow defendants to present alternative explanations for why these results are present such as medical use or second-hand exposure.

    Despite this allowance, many DUI lawyers argue that while high drivers should not be behind the wheel, officers are often too eager to make arrests based solely on THC levels. They observe that THC levels can remain active in the body for several days after marijuana consumption, making it difficult to identify current impairment accurately. Drivers might also test positive for THC due to medical reasons which aren’t necessarily related to consumption. These factors can put innocent citizens at risk for unnecessary arrests and convictions.

    Ultimately, a conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana does depend on having enough evidence that proves impairment beyond a reasonable doubt. In order for prosecutors to meet this burden of proof, what evidence can be used against a driver? The following section takes an in-depth look into how drug recognition experts evaluate potential offenders using regular and specialized tests.

    What Evidence Can be Used Against a Driver?

    When determining whether a driver was under the influence of marijuana at the time of driving, there are certain pieces of evidence that can be used. These include observations made by law enforcement officers such as slurred speech, erratic behavior, and the presence of drug paraphernalia in the vehicle; as well as medical professional-based testing such as blood samples and saliva tests.

    On one side, many State laws provide clear guidelines to police officers on how to properly interpret the presence of marijuana metabolites during field sobriety tests and similar roadside tests. This means that even with minimal evidence, a police officer has the authority to make an arrest if they deem it necessary.

    On the other hand, many individuals argue that using these forms of evidence should not be automatically deemed as proof that a person is impaired or has been operating their vehicle while intoxicated. In particular, some concerns have been raised about marijuana being stored in the body’s fat cells for up to 30 days after use and still being tested positive during drug screenings. This presents the possible scenario of someone getting arrested for having metabolites from marijuana consumed weeks earlier in their system when they were completely sober at the time of driving.

    Overall, though, understanding what evidence can be used against drivers goes a long way toward protecting both their rights and what constitutes reasonable suspicion for law enforcement officers. As such, it is important to consider these facts before arriving at any conclusion regarding potential impairment behind the wheel.

    With this in mind, it is helpful to explore how Arizona created its marijuana DUI laws in order to better understand further implications and nuances surrounding them.

    How Did Arizona Create a Marijuana DUI Law?

    In 2017, a new law was passed in Arizona mandating that any driver with a blood concentration of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC of five or more nanograms per milliliter is legally impaired and can be charged with a DUI. This law was put in place to clarify what constitutes as legal impairment in regard to marijuana consumption while driving, and to ensure law enforcement officers could begin charging drivers who may have been operating their vehicles under the influence.

    Proponents of such laws believe they are necessary to ensure public safety on the roads. The law also creates clarity on when a police officer can pull someone over and make an arrest for driving while using marijuana, as well as providing a definitive number regarding intoxication levels. Currently, 33 states have adopted some form of cannabis DUI statute and this new regulation makes Arizona the latest state to join their ranks.

    Opponents argue that the scientific evidence does not support the concept of THC or marijuana-related impairment at five nanograms per milliliter. In fact, several studies suggest that such an impairment threshold may be too low and not accurate enough to indicate true impairment for all drivers. Additionally, there is no agreed-upon standard for how much THC should be tolerated before a person is considered legally impaired.

    Though debate concerning limiting THC measurements is ongoing, Arizona’s marijuana DUI law has already been implemented and is currently being enforced across the state. With this new statute in place, it’s important that individuals understand both the legal liabilities associated with operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana and how they may be affected if they are pulled over by law enforcement. In conclusion, it’s clear that Arizona’s new marijuana DUI law has caused much controversy; however, its primary objective is still the same – to protect citizens from those who choose to drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Moving forward, it will be important to review the current evidence surrounding this law and determine whether additional changes are needed to protect public safety without punishing responsible cannabis users.

    In the next section, we’ll discuss the conclusion of Arizona’s Marijuana DUI Law – including potential punishments and ways that drivers can protect themselves from facing charges.


    Marijuana DUI laws in Arizona are very strict and complex. They criminalize driving under the influence of marijuana, setting limits for the amount of THC you can have in your system while driving, and punishing offenders with jail time, fines, license suspension, and ignition interlock requirements. Despite these conditions, many Arizonans believe that marijuana DUI laws should be relaxed to protect medical marijuana users who may not be impaired but simply have marijuana metabolites remaining in their system beyond a certain threshold.

    On one hand, those in favor of keeping current marijuana DUI laws argue that it’s important to maintain a zero-tolerance policy to ensure public safety on the roads while reducing the potential of impaired drivers. Since we don’t yet have reliable methods of field testing to determine if someone is currently impaired by marijuana, they suggest sticking with existing limits to ensure compliance with the law.

    On the other hand, those advocating for relaxed cannabis DUI laws point out that there is a big difference between impairment and having THC metabolites remain in your system beyond a limit set by law. This can create an unfair situation that unfairly penalizes drivers who use medical marijuana legally or within certain parameters. Additionally, people argue that current limitations can prevent someone from obtaining medical cannabis treatments for illnesses such as cancer without the risk of being punished for it on the roads.

    In conclusion, Arizona has very strict and complex marijuana DUI laws, but there is an ongoing debate about whether they should be relaxed or kept as they are to ensure public safety and protect medical patients’ rights. Each side has valid points and the issue is likely to remain contentious until more standardized criteria for determining impairment levels are established.

    Responses to Frequently Asked Questions


    Q: Is marijuana legal in Arizona?

    A: Yes, marijuana is currently legal for private recreational use in Arizona when purchased from an outlet provisioned by the State of Arizona. Up to one ounce per adult 21 and over may be possessed. Additionally, each adult 21 years and above may grow up to 6 plants in their home.

    What actions constitute a marijuana DUI in Arizona?

    In Arizona, driving under the influence of marijuana (DUI) is a serious offense that carries a range of penalties. The legal limit for marijuana impairment while driving is 5 nanograms or more of active Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of whole blood. In other words, if a driver tests positive for a level of THC in his/her bloodstream that meets or exceeds this legal limit, they may be arrested and charged with DUI.

    The penalties for a marijuana DUI in Arizona vary depending on the severity of the offense, whether it’s a first-time offense or not, and whether there were other aggravating factors involved. Generally speaking, first-time offenders can expect to face fines, probationary periods, license suspensions or revocations, and court-mandated drug treatment programs. In some cases, jail time may also be imposed as part of the sentence.

    What are the laws surrounding marijuana DUI in Arizona?

    In Arizona, it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. If a police officer suspects that you are driving under the influence of marijuana, they may administer tests to measure your impairment. If tests reveal that your coordination or mental faculties are significantly impaired, you can be arrested for an impaired driving offense.

    In Arizona, it is illegal to drive with any amount of marijuana in your system that makes you incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle. This applies regardless of whether the individual was impaired by marijuana at the time of operation. Furthermore, if an individual is convicted of DUI due to drugs or alcohol, they face stiff penalties including fines, license suspension/revocation, and possible jail time.

    It is important to keep in mind that law enforcement officers have broad discretion when determining whether a person is impaired while driving under the influence of marijuana. Roadside sobriety tests and chemical analyses performed at the scene may be used to decide if the individual has been driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.

    In summary, the laws surrounding marijuana DUI in Arizona remain strict and convictions can result in serious consequences. It is important for all drivers to understand these laws and take appropriate steps to avoid being arrested for a drug-related driving offense.

    How does Arizona measure marijuana levels in the blood for DUIs?

    Arizona measures marijuana levels in the blood for DUIs by determining the amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. According to Arizona’s DUI laws, it is illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol concentration or BAC level of .08 percent or higher. Additionally, a person may not be impaired by drugs, and driving a vehicle while impaired by drugs is strictly prohibited under Arizona’s DUI laws. The presence of 2 ng/ml or more of THC in an individual’s system can result in charges related to DUIs and driving impairment,  regardless of whether or not you are impaired.

    States can set their own limits for acceptable BAC levels for alcohol consumption and impairment, but THC levels are somewhat harder to standardize due to varying tolerance levels among individuals. Generally speaking, however, studies suggest that between 2 and 5 ng/ml is considered a generally accepted benchmark for legal impairment related to marijuana use; any amount higher than this would be grounds for some type of legal action being taken. Therefore, Arizona law enforcement officials use this as a measure to determine violations on its roads and highways.

    To conclude, anyone driving after consuming marijuana must be aware that it is possible for them to be criminally liable even if their THC content is below 2 ng/ml. While Arizona does have certain allowances regarding BAC levels for alcohol consumption and impairment, this is not the case when it comes to marijuana consumption and impairment. So today it’s important to remember that even small amounts of THC in your system can lead to significant consequences – know your limits and stay safe!

    What are the consequences of driving under the influence of marijuana in Arizona?

    In Arizona, it is illegal to drive with any amount of marijuana in your system. If you are pulled over and fail a drug test, then you can be charged with driving while impaired. The consequences for marijuana DUI in Arizona involve hefty fines, points on your driver’s license, jail time, and substance abuse classes. Depending on the severity of the case and if there is any history of prior convictions, the consequences may vary. In general, first-time offenders may face up to 6 months in prison, up to $2,500 in fines, and up to two years probation. Additional penalties for repeat offenders can include years of incarceration as well as an indefinite driver’s license suspension.