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Drug-Related DUIs in Arizona

Interviewer: Have there been any cases where that someone may have had one DUI with alcohol, a conviction and then the next one be charged as a medical one?  I’m just curious if there is a case where the second time it’s a different kind of DUI.

Brian: It’s really handled the same.  Medication and drug DUIs are handled slightly differently than alcohol DUIs, but as far as the law is concerned, if you have a prior DUI, whether it’s for alcohol or drugs or medications and you are charged with a new DUI, whether it’s for alcohol or drugs or medications, you are still going to be treated as a second time offender.

It is Uncommon for a Person to Have One Alcohol-Related DUI, Followed by a Drug-Related DUI

It does seem quite rare to have someone who had a first DUI for alcohol and their second one for medications.  Sometimes people have a combination of alcohol and drugs and medications in their system.  I can’t say that it’s necessarily common.  Usually, if the first one’s attributed to alcohol, the second one’s going to be alcohol. However, people aren’t always fitting into their little categories.

There Is No Reduction in Penalties When One DUI Is Alcohol-Related and another Is Drug-Related

Interviewer: I’m thinking of maybe a particular kind of instance where someone may say,

“I got a DUI.  I’m not going to drink anymore.  I’ve quit drinking.  That’s it.  It already got me into trouble.”  Some years down the line they’re on some prescription medication and something like that might happen, but you’re saying yes, it’s treated the same?

Brian: It is treated the same and I don’t think people really go out there trying to get a DUI.  People don’t want this to happen.  People don’t realize that they are impaired.  They take their medications because they need their medications.  Not because they want to drive around impaired.

People drink alcohol, at least for social situations or for whatever other reason and when they get behind the wheel, I think quite a few people don’t realize that they’re that impaired or they think they’re just going a short distance.

People don’t intend to get DUIs and intent is not part of the offense. 

The prosecutor doesn’t need to prove that the person intended to drive drunk or they intended to drive impaired.  It’s simply a matter of circumstances.  Someone who has done drugs or who has done taking their medications or has consumed alcohol, then at some point end up behind the wheel, maybe they shouldn’t have been there.

By Brian Douglas Sloan

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AZ DUI Defense Lawyer Brian Douglas Sloan
  • 16+ Years SOLELY Focused on DUI Defense
  • Represented 3,700+ DUI Clients
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  • “Top 10 DUI Lawyers in Arizona”
    National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys
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    American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys
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