Drug Impaired Driving Increasing In Arizona

by Aaron M. Black • May 03, 2024

Thousands of people driving while impaired on opioids or other narcotics are attracting the attention of law enforcement. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reported that the number of DUI drug cases has been increasing.

DUI drug cases under Arizona Revised Statute §28-1381 have climbed from 5,000 to more than 8,000 over the last couple of years. In the first four months of 2022 about 1,000 drivers were arrested. In all of 2021 more than 8,000 drugged driving arrests were made.

Drugs Spilling Out Of Pill Bottle

Opioids and other pain relief medications cause euphoria, relaxation and drowsiness and can lead to addiction.

Unlike a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent to be arrested, any amount of opiate and pain relieving drugs in a person’s system is sufficient for an arrest under Arizona’s zero tolerance drug policy.

Even over-the-counter pain medications that causes drowsiness may lead to a drugged DUI arrest.

Five drug schedules

The federal government under the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) categorizes various drugs under five schedules:

Schedule I

Substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy).

Schedule II

Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous. Some examples of Schedule II drugs are Vicodin, cocaine, Combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin.

Schedule III

Schedule III drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone.

Schedule IV

Drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Some examples of Schedule IV drugs are: Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien, Tramadol.

Schedule V

Drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Schedule V drugs are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes. Some examples of Schedule V drugs are: cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters (Robitussin AC), Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, Parepectolinfedeerala.

Arizona drug DUI enforcement

Arizona employs officers trained in drug recognition and detection as well as drawing blood. The Arizona Department of Public Safety has been testing drug screening technology at the traffic stops on the side of the road. This testing involves saliva for certain drugs. Testing for drugs is more complex than testing for alcohol impairment and can take more time to get results.

Car Keys In Ignition? Actual Physical Control Laws ApplyDrug DUI without driving

A person can be arrested for sleeping off opioid related impairment under Arizona’s actual physical control law. The key to this arrest involves where the vehicle’s ignition key was found by an investigating officer. The key must not be readily available such as in the ignition or the driver’s pocket.

Consequences of an opioid misdemeanor DUI conviction

A first-time Class 1 misdemeanor drug DUI conviction requires spending time in county jail up to a maximum of six months and a minimum of 10 days. The time in custody can be as short as one day with the other nine days suspended.

The license to drive is suspended for 30 days, followed by a restricted license for traveling to work or school for 60 days, before the license can be reinstated at the defendant’s expense.

Base fines total more than $1,500, plus the cost of jail, and MVD Serving time in service to the community may also be part of the punishment.

A second misdemeanor drug DUI conviction has more harsh punishments. Time in jail can range from six days to six months. Fines are boosted to a base of $3,468. The driver’s license is revoked for one year, but obtaining a restricted license to travel from home to work or school is possible after 45 days with expensive SR-22 (Social Responsibility) insurance, really a document proving insurance auto overage is in force.

Consequences of a felony drug DUI conviction

An aggravated DUI is typically charged as a class 4 felony. The prison sentence, if convicted, can be 1 to 3.75 years. However, if granted probation, you must still serve a minimum of 4 months in prison. Aggravated DUI cases that carry a 4 month minimum prison sentence would be if you were arrested for driving under the influence AND this is your third DUI in seven years, you were driving with a revoked/restricted/suspended license, or you were driving the wrong way. If you are arrested for a DUI while having a child in your vehicle under the age of 15, you can be charged with an Aggravated DUI as a class 6 felony. Under this scenario, the mandatory minimum sentence would be 10 days in jail with 9 days suspended with completion of alcohol screening and classes.

Fines climb to $4,675.50 and the driver’s license can be revoked for one year. The defendant must complete a revocation packet to get the license reinstated after the revocation time is up.

The court may order probation for up to 10 years and pay a monthly probation fee which is about $65 per month.

The felon cannot own or possess a firearm, vote in elections, hold public office, or join the military. A landlord can refuse to rent the felon a place to live and employers can refuse to hire the person.

Aaron M. Black Law For Drug DUI Defense

Should you or a loved one be arrested for a drug related DUI, it is imperative that you be promptly represented by an experienced DUI defense attorney. In my decades long career as an aggressive DUI defense attorney, I know good people can make a misjudgment and find themselves in legal trouble. That is why I work diligently to construct the best drug DUI defense possible while providing support and encouragement. That’s our DUI Concierge approach to your legal challenges.

I will scrutinize the state’s evidence for errors, omissions and the personnel records of the arresting officer looking for inconsistencies and errors. I also will work to develop information and evidence that is favorable to your case.

At Aaron M. Black Law you will receive personalized legal services. You will always be talking directly to me, never an assistant.

Begin your opioid DUI defense immediately by calling 480-729-1683 and I will respond promptly unless I am in court on at trial. Or use the online contact form on my website.

I defend drug DUI charges throughout Arizona, including Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai, and Coconino County Superior Courts.

About the Author

Aaron Black Phoenix DUI LawyerAaron Black is the founder and sole attorney of the Law Office of Aaron Black. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, his DUI and criminal defense law firm provides legal services to people who have received felony or misdemeanor charges from the state.

Aaron has developed a strong interest in defending people who have been arrested and received criminal charges for driving under the influence. With his professionalism and knowledge of Arizona DUI and criminal law, he has acted as a check and balance on the police, prosecution and courts and has protected a great number of his clients from excessive and unfair sentencing.

Along with DUI defense, Aaron handles a range of other criminal defense matters, including aggravated assault, burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud defense, insurance fraud, sex crimes, and white-collar crime cases.

After graduating college in 2003 from the University of Arizona, Aaron decided to pursue a law degree. He followed a family long tradition and went to the University of South Dakota School of Law where he pursued his goal of becoming a criminal defense lawyer.

After passing the Arizona and South Dakota bar exams, Aaron joined the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender where he defended hundreds of people charged with serious criminal offenses. His work as a public defender helped him sharpen his litigation skills and gave him a unique insight into the Arizona criminal justice system.

Over the course of his 15-year legal career, Aaron has spent a considerable amount of time in both Arizona justice, municipal, state and federal courts. He has argued over 50 jury trials, tried over 100 bench trials and has become one of the highest-rated criminal and DUI defense attorneys in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. He has received a 10/10 rating from the legal directory Avvo because of his legal background and successful case record. Since 2014, he has received the Super Lawyer rating for his work as a Phoenix DUI Attorney and criminal defense attorney.

You can review Aaron’s Attorney Bio page for more information about his background, education and experience as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.
Google Screened Attorney - Phoenix DUI and Criminal Defense
We've just been vetted by Google screening. This process provides peace of mind to consumers that the attorney they are choosing passes both business and personal background checks, has malpractice insurance, and has a current license to practice law in the state.


Subscribe to the RSS feed

DUI or Criminal Related Question?
Send me an email.

I will promptly respond unless I am in court.