One of the biggest problems of a conviction for an illegal drug DUI in Arizona is that there is an ignition interlock requirement if somebody is convicted of that charge. That means, for example, even if somebody has never had a drink of alcohol in their entire life, but they are convicted of having illegal drug in their system, they would have to get an ignition interlock device installed in their car for 12 months.
Of course, the point of the ignition interlock device is that it keeps somebody from driving drunk. It does not, however, have the ability of keeping somebody who is high on drugs from driving their car. And even more to the point, the ignition interlock device will not prevent somebody who has an illegal metabolite, for example something like carboboxy THC, in their system from driving.
Fortunately, in the last year that has all changed. Now, if somebody is convicted of an illegal drug DUI only, and they pass an alcohol screening and assessment that shows they are not at risk for driving drunk, they do not have to get an ignition interlock device in their car. This comes up most commonly when somebody smokes marijuana and they have the metabolite in their system. Before this change in the law that driver would have to have an ignition interlock device in their car for 12 months. But so long as that person does not have a drinking problem, they will now not have to get the ignition interlock device.
But the penalties for a drug conviction are still worse than drunk driving. That is because the first time alcohol DUI, even super extreme DUI, the license suspension is only for 90 days. And only the first 30 days of that 90 day suspension is a flat revocation. During the final 60 days of that 90 day suspension a driver is eligible for restricted permit, meaning they can drive to and from work and to and from school.
But with an illegal drug conviction there is a flat one year suspension of a license. That means the person he cannot drive his vehicle for any reason whatsoever. That means if somebody is convicted of illegal drug DUI he cannot drive to and from work for one year.