Interviewer: Can you please provide an overview of the new legislation about convictions being overturned in regards to the DUI?
Arizona’s Supreme Court Has Recently Overturned a Drug-Related DUI Case, Based on Evidence That the Driver’s System Had the Inactive Marijuana Compound
Brian Sloan: It’s an Arizona Supreme Court case interpreting Arizona law concerning DUI drug convictions. The Arizona Supreme Court came back in a case called State versus Shilgevorkyan, where they determined that driving with Carboxy-THC, which is the inactive metabolite of marijuana, should not be charged as a DUI.
Recent Drug-Related DUI Cases Attributed to Marijuana May Now Be Retried
Interviewer: If my conviction was overturned, will it be retried or dropped?
If a Past Conviction Is Overturned, the Prosecutor Will Decide to Move Forward, Offer a Plea Agreement or Dismiss
Brian Sloan: Technically it can be retried. I’ve now done about five of these in different courts around the valley and I’ve had a couple of different outcomes. Overturning the conviction technically places you back on Day 1, where the prosecutor can decide to move forward with going to trial, or, often, a plea agreement, or can decide to just dismiss it outright and end the case right there.
I have heard from some of my associates that, in some cases, while the prosecutor is not fighting the dismissal itself and overturning the conviction itself, they are deciding to continue to go forward on Count 1. They move forward, proceeding on the belief that the person was driving and that their ability to drive was impaired to the slightest degree by the use of alcohol, drugs, medications, vapor-releasing substances, or a combination thereof.
So, technically, if a person were to plead guilty to DUI, drugs or medications, pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute 28-1381A3, and all they had in their system was the metabolite of marijuana—the inactive one, which is called Carboxy-THC—then that conviction can be overturned. But the person can still be charged with being impaired to the slightest degree by drugs, medications, alcohol, or a combination thereof under NRS 28-1381A1.