While the United States and much of the world is understandably focusing on the COVID pandemic and the inauguration of a new President and Vice President, life in our state does go on. And that includes new laws that are readers may be interested in which affect Arizonans in a variety of ways. Those new laws include:
- Limits on Cell Phone Use While Driving – A.R.S. 28-914E. While Arizona has been, at least until recently, one of just a few states that still permitted cell phone activities such as texting while driving, more attention has been paid recently to distracted driving, and things have changed. Of course since 2019, Arizona police officers were able to issue warnings for using hand-held cell phones while driving. But effective January 1, 2021, Arizona drivers now can be ticketed and fined for that activity. Fines begin at $75 to $149 for a first violation, with higher fines for second and subsequent violations. The law covers not only talking on a hand-held device, but also writing or reading text messages, watching videos, or recording a video. The law does, however, permit swiping your phone to answer a call, using talk to text functions, using the phone’s GPS system, and speaking on the phone using an earpiece or other device that allows hands-free operation. There are also additional exceptions, including calling 9-1-1, and using a hand-held device at a stop light.
- Recreational Marijuana. Beginning late last year, adults in Arizona became legally entitle to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to 6 marijuana plants in their homes. We previously wrote about the change permitting the use of recreational marijuana in our blog in November of 2020, entitled Arizona Prop 207 Legalizes Recreational Use of Marijuana. There are some restrictions on the new law, and you should expect additional regulations to be set by the Arizona Department of Health Services. Note that the law still allows employers to enforce drug-free workplace laws. It also contains a number of additional requirements and restrictions. Note that nothing in the law affects DUI laws, meaning that you can still be charged and, if found guilty, convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana. And note that the law specifically states that it does not allow anyone to smoke marijuana in a public place.
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to wish all a happy and health New Year!
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004