Interviewer: What kind of medications are you seeing?
Brian Sloan: A lot of Ambien, a lot of Xanax. Those seem to be the most common.
Marijuana Is Commonly Attributed to Illegal Drug-Related DUIs
Interviewer: As far as illegal drugs, are you seeing a lot of marijuana? Are there any other drugs that you’re seeing?
Brian Sloan: A lot of marijuana, a little bit of cocaine, methamphetamine. The problem with marijuana is that because it is legal for medical usage in Arizona but it is illegal on the Federal level, the states and the cities will still prosecute someone for having medication in their system whether it is by use of a medical marijuana card or if it’s just recreational use.
In Arizona, Drivers Will Be Charged with a DUI Even if the Presence of the Drug in Their System Is at a Level That Renders It Inactive
The further problem with marijuana itself is that while the active substance in marijuana doesn’t stay in your system that long, the inactive substance can stay in your system for maybe a month, a month and a half, and if you are found to have the inactive, which is un-impairing, substance in your system, you can still be convicted of DUI.
Interviewer: Are you seeing that people’s habits or behaviors are changing? Are they becoming more aware of the possibility of being charged with a DUI or are behavior patterns staying the same?
Brian Sloan: I think it’s staying about the same. People see the numbers every holiday of the people that have been arrested for DUI, but that’s not stopping people from going to the bars, drinking, or using recreational drugs. An officer will always find a reason to pull someone over if they want to. You see it much more commonly between maybe 9:00 pm and 5:00 in the morning.
Most DUI Charges Originate between 9 PM and 5 AM
If you’re out there driving, there’s a greater chance that you’re going to be pulled over for some trivial reason. It could be as bad as having a license plate light out or having a crack in your windshield. Sometimes it’s not using turn signals. Sometimes it’s weaving all over the roadway.
If an officer wants to pull someone over, they will find a reason to do it, and that seems to be more common during the late hours of the night or the early morning hours.
Habits aren’t necessarily changing, though.
DUI Investigations Typically Arise from a Police Stop for a Traffic Infraction, Such as an Incomplete Stop
Interviewer: You said something about incomplete stops. Here in Texas that’s something that’s a popular. Many people remark, “Yes, I’ve been pulled over for an incomplete stop.” Have you noticed that police officers have done that in Arizona and utilized that as a way for trying to see if they can find anything on someone?
Brian Sloan: Absolutely. Incomplete stop, also known as a California stop, is a failure to fully stop at a red light or a stop sign. That is a very common reason to stop someone. Also, making a wide turn, not turning into the closest lane practicable; those relatively minor infractions are commonly used by police officers to pull someone over.
It’s very minor traffic violations that are used as an excuse to stop someone. Judges will very often uphold those as valid reasons to stop even though the true desire of the officer is to attempt to investigate a DUI.