The Court of Appeals went down this route because they did not want to clog up the court, and they did not want those hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands of people to come back after writing motions.
The prosecutor would have to respond to all those motions and the courts would have to have hearings on all those motions, which is why they would rather state from that point forward that the prosecutor should not bring charges and that there was no factual basis behind those charges to bring new charges for inactive metabolites while driving. They would not be able to solve the problem for all of the people from previous years who had pled guilty or who were found guilty of the same offenses with inactive metabolites in their system.
We are hoping the Supreme Court will rule otherwise, but we do not know if they would even accept jurisdiction because it is still very early on.
Can People Get Charged With DUI If They Had Smoked Marijuana Previously, But Not On The Day Of The Arrest?
Yes, and there are now going to be thousands or tens of thousands of people in Arizona who would not be able to get their conviction overturned at this point, even though the law has changed in the eyes of all the attorneys, prosecutors and judges. It is a kind of legal technicality, so even though a lot of cases in the past have commented on metabolites being appropriate to convict someone of the DUI, it was basically dicta, it was not the issue before the court, it was not the issue that the court had to answer and it was just something that was mentioned in case law from past years.
Now that the Arizona Supreme Court has made their decision, the Court of Appeals has stated they were ruling on this issue for the very first time, and that they were defining what it meant for someone to be DUI with metabolite in their system. They came to the conclusion there had to be an active metabolite or an active substance itself, so it was not overturning any previous case laws that said otherwise. It was therefore not a new law and did not apply to people who had previously pled guilty to this sort of offense.
What Happens When Someone With A DUI Files A Motion To Set Aside A Conviction And After Going Through The Process, Finds Out They Did Not Need To Do That?
I am currently working on a case like this where the client had their conviction set aside. We want to go a step further and get it overturned so that my client would be able to get all their money back and clear up their motor vehicle division record. Coincidentally, the Court of Appeals case came out right in the middle of fighting this case and it was closer to the end where I was about to win and everything suddenly got complicated, although it would still not be a problem for someone to get a conviction set aside.
When They Make Some Laws Easier, Do They Also Make Things A Little Bit More Difficult?
It would be a lot harder for a defendant to have their case dismissed because of the argument that the officer had no reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle. Unfortunately, we are still at a time period where officers do not tend to have dash-cams or on-person cameras, so realistically, it would come down to the problem of whatever an officer stated because that is likely what would be believed by both the judge and the jury.
The officer would only need to say they suspected something was afoot, someone was talking with their hands or looking at their cell phone. This really opens the door now to officers being able to really come up with anything because the court would very likely determine there was enough reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle.
How Many Times Would Someone Be Able To Get Something Set Aside?
There would be no limit on how many times someone could have something set aside because this would be at the discretion of the judge. Certain rules exist concerning setting something aside because according to the law it would not be possible to set aside certain types of offenses, although I have had clients who were able to get 3 DUI convictions out of 3 different jurisdictions set aside as long as the judge was okay with it.
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