Marijuana is legal in Arizona for medical and recreational use for people who are 21 years or older. However, that doesn’t mean that driving while high is legal. Unfortunately, many people still decide to do so, endangering other drivers on the road.
Marijuana inhibits physical and mental cognitions that are essential when driving. Many people may think they drive fine when high, but that’s often not the case. If you were hit by a driver under the influence of marijuana, a Tucson marijuana car accident lawyer may be able to help you get compensation for your damages.
Proving the Driver’s Impairment
When the at-fault party is under the influence of marijuana, it can be more difficult to prove impairment than if it were another substance like alcohol. This is because when a person smokes marijuana, the THC can stay in the body for a longer time.
Police can only test if there’s marijuana in the driver’s body. They cannot determine if the THC is active or if the driver was actively ingesting it. But if the driver’s car smells of marijuana, the police officer may be able to warrant a further search based on that alone.
However, there are other ways police test if the driver who caused the accident was high. Some of these tests include:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test: The officer will move their index finger side-to-side as the person under suspicion follows with their eyes. If a person has watery eyes or lags following the officer’s finger, they may be under the influence.
- Walk and turn test: An officer will instruct the driver to walk heel-to-toe in a straight line and turn around to repeat the process. This checks for any evidence of instability or dizziness that could indicate that the person is high.
- One leg stand test: This test involves raising your foot while staying still and counting. If the person can’t stand without wobbling or restarting, police may suspect that they are high.
These tests may or may not be effective based on the driver’s tolerance to marijuana. For example, if a person smokes marijuana but has a higher body mass index, they may have weed in their system, but they may not be affected, so they won’t appear high.
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What Are Arizona’s Marijuana Laws?
Laws surrounding marijuana have certainly relaxed in the past few years, but driving while high is still a crime. A.R.S. 28-1381 states that it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana or have metabolites in your system. Metabolites are the molecules that THC breaks down into after ingestion.
Regarding medicinal use, A.R.S. § 36-2801 states that Arizona’s medical marijuana law allows a person with a qualifying medical condition to have 2.5 ounces of marijuana in their possession. Therefore, if you have a medical marijuana card, you can transport or have 2.5 ounces of the drug in your car as long as it is packaged. However, smoking marijuana while driving or having it in your system is still a crime, even with a medicinal card.
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What Is Arizona’s Statute of Limitations for Marijuana Use Induced Accidents?
If you were in an accident caused by a high driver, you have two years from the day of the accident to report it, according to A.R.S. § 12-542. However, we recommend reporting the accident as soon as possible.
Filing an accident report immediately after the accident is best because the accident is fresh in your mind, so you’ll be able to give essential details. Also, it shows that your injuries and intentions are genuine, which could help you get the maximum amount of compensation if you win your case.
If you decide to wait and did not have any reason that prohibited you from filing, this could be used against you. The defendant’s lawyer could interpret it as that it didn’t affect you as much, resulting in lower compensation or no compensation at all. However, if you have a reason that you did not report it immediately, your lawyer can help use this information to strengthen your case.
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What Damages Can I Recover from an Accident Where Marijuana Was Involved?
When you’ve been in an accident, the first thing that may come to your mind is, how will I pay for this? While the damages that you may be able to recover compensation for depending on the severity of the accident along with other details, there are some baseline damages you may be eligible to receive compensation for:
- Lost wages: If the accident puts you out of work temporarily or permanently, you’ll lose your primary income. This can be stressful, and taking these losses into account could help increase your settlement amount.
- Pain and suffering: Often called non-economic damages, it refers to mental stress and the loss of quality of life. For example, if you sustain an injury that prohibits you from doing your favorite activity, your lawyer can count the injury toward your pain and suffering.
- Vehicle repairs: If you need a new car or parts replaced on your vehicle, your compensation may be able to help pay for those expenses.
- Current and future medical bills: Sometimes, injuries from car accidents are severe and can last a lifetime. If you require medication or physical therapy indefinitely, you may be able to recover damages for those costs.
- Other property damages: This includes personal property such as your phone and real property such as business buildings.
We offer a free case evaluation where we can tell you if you have a case or not. If we decide you have a valid case, we can estimate your damages based on the evidence from your case.
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Zanes Law Can Help You If You’ve Been Hit By a High Driver in Tucson, Arizona
You shouldn’t have to suffer physically and financially after an accident that wasn’t your fault, and the driver was under the influence of marijuana. Our lawyers at Zanes Law have worked on hundreds of car accident cases over the last 15 years, and they get results.
If you were in an accident where the at-fault driver was high, call us today or fill out our form on our contact us to schedule your free consultation. We’ll answer any questions and start working with you to get the compensation you deserve.We may be able to prove the other driver was at fault and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us today to discuss your case with us, and we’ll help you decide what your next step should be.