Interviewer: What is the most common scenario that you hear about when it comes to drug related DUI cases. Is there a story that you always hear about?
Michael Munoz: No, they’re really different. I’d say they come in all shapes and sizes, with older clientele, elderly; usually it has to do with a situation where maybe they may be driving a little too slow or maybe weaving a little bit. It also could include some sleep medication. Those are usually common scenarios. For younger clientele, it’s usually marijuana and starts off with the smell of marijuana or watery eyes, things of that nature. Those are the most common generalities but really there are a lots of different possible fact patterns, and there is not one that is overly common in my opinion.
The State Will Try to Use an Admission of Drug Usage as a Confession to Drug Related DUI
Interviewer: If someone says something along the lines of, we talked about this last time, if they say, ‘Hey, I do smoke marijuana but I didn’t smoke tonight, I smoked two weeks ago.’ Is that going to be considered a confession?
Michael Munoz: The state will try to use that as confession, they will try to. They will say well he admitted to smoking marijuana therefore he could have been impaired and then a lot of times officers will say if they see signs of impairment from there. The blood test is really going to be the great equalizer; we’re going to know what’s what. The blood test is going to show whether or not there is active or inactive metabolite of marijuana in the persons system. We are seeing more of that though because of the medical marijuana laws in Arizona. I’m seeing in the police reports more officers ask about marijuana use just in general to suspects.
Not All Police Officers Have a Drug Recognition Expert Certification
Interviewer: Do Police officers have a different kind of training to detect marijuana?
Michael Munoz: Some officers do, not all officers have what’s called a DRE certification, Drug Recognition Examinations. These are officers that go through some schooling to detect possible impairment by illegal drugs and prescription drugs. It is a more detailed test. Once again, it is just like field sobriety tests, it is meant for an officer to develop more information and more evidence about a person. It is always advisable for anyone in that situation to refuse to take those tests and before they refuse, they really just need to ask to speak to an attorney before they agree to do anything.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia will be Counted as a Separate Charge in a Drug Related DUI
Interviewer: What if they find drug paraphernalia, is that going to be a separate charge?
Michael Munoz: It will be a separate charge and then they will also try to use that in their analysis of whether or not they have probable cause. So yes, it would be separate… Any actual or physical drug on that person or in their vehicle and paraphernalia will create separate charges. Those charges may be on the same complaint or indictment but they will be separate from the DUI itself.