DUI Drug Laws in Arizona
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime that can lead to severe consequences for the driver and others on the road.
While most people know that driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs is illegal, fewer people may realize that driving under the influence of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and prescription medication can also result in a DUI charge.
Arizona has strict DUI laws to stop people from driving while under the influence of any drug, even over-the-counter drugs.
Can You Be Charged With a DUI For Driving Under the Influence of Over-the-Counter Drugs in Arizona?
Yes, it is possible to be charged with a DUI for driving under the influence of over-the-counter drugs in Arizona.
This is because OTC drugs can impair a person’s driving ability, just like illegal drugs or prescription drugs. Cold and allergy medicines, cough syrups, pain relievers, and sleep aids are all common over-the-counter drugs that can cause impairment.
Arizona law does not differentiate between illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and OTC drugs when it comes to DUI charges. The law states that a person can be charged with a DUI if they are under the influence of any substance that impairs their driving ability. This means that if an OTC drug impairs a person and they are pulled over for a traffic violation, they can be charged with a DUI.
It’s important to note that even if a person takes an OTC drug as directed and doesn’t feel impaired, they can still be charged with a DUI if they are pulled over and found to be driving erratically or exhibiting signs of impairment.
This is because OTC drugs can affect different people differently, and a person may not realize they are impaired until it’s too late.
Penalties for DUI in Arizona
The penalties for a DUI in Arizona depend on several factors, including the driver’s BAC or the presence of drugs in their system, the driver’s age, and whether the driver has any prior DUI convictions.
The penalties for a first-time DUI in Arizona include the following:
- A minimum of 10 days in jail (up to six months). Up to 9 days of jail could be suspended upon successfully completing alcohol classes.
- Fines and court fees (minimum fine of $1,250)
- License suspension (90-day minimum, 1-year maximum)
- Ignition interlock device (IID) installation (maximum of 1 year)
- Alcohol and drug screening and counseling
The second or subsequent DUI penalties are much more severe and can include longer jail time, more considerable fines, and longer license suspensions.
In addition, a DUI conviction can have long-term consequences, such as higher insurance rates, difficulty finding employment, and damage to a person’s reputation.
Over-the-Counter Drugs and DUI Charges
As mentioned earlier, several OTC drugs can impair a person’s ability to drive. Some common OTC drugs that can cause impairment include antihistamines, decongestants, cough syrups, and pain relievers.
These drugs can cause drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, and impaired coordination, making it more difficult for a person to drive safely.
It’s important to note that even though these drugs are legal and widely available, they can still result in a DUI charge if a person is found to be impaired while driving.
While OTC drugs may not be as potent as illegal or prescription drugs, they can still cause impairment and lead to dangerous driving behavior.
When taking OTC drugs, it’s essential to read the label carefully and follow the dosage instructions.
In addition, avoiding driving or operating heavy machinery while under the influence of any medication, including OTC drugs, is a good idea.
If a person needs to take an OTC drug and needs to drive, they should wait until they know how the drug affects them before getting behind the wheel.
Defending Against an OTC DUI Charge
If a person is charged with a DUI for driving while impaired by an OTC drug in Arizona, there are several potential drug DUI defenses.
One defense is to challenge the accuracy of the blood or breath test results. If the test results are inaccurate, it may be possible to have the charges dismissed or reduced.
Another defense is to challenge the officer’s probable cause for pulling the driver over in the first place. Any evidence gathered during the stop may be suppressed if the officer did not have a valid reason for pulling the driver over.
Finally, a DUI attorney may argue that the OTC drug did not actually impair the driver at the time of driving. This defense can be challenging to prove, as it requires a detailed understanding of the drug’s effects and how they can vary from person to person.
Get Help From a DUI Defense Attorney
If you were charged with a DUI in Arizona, you should contact an experienced defense lawyer at the Shah Law Firm.
DUI defense attorney Arja Shah has many years of experience defending those charged with a DUI and has successfully represented many clients.
Call to schedule a free consultation at (602) 560-7408 to immediately get to work and defend your rights!