Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney Blog

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Combined Resources Creates Larger Valley-wide DUI Task Force December 2012

This year Phoenix AZ, East Valley, and West Valley are combining DUI Task Force Efforts to create one large task force, for better efficiency and safety.

The Special DUI Task Force will be in place for the rest of month of December 2012. A central Command Post will be set up at Devonshire Community Center. It is located at the intersections of E. Devonshire Ave and 28th Street, in Phoenix AZ. Police will also set up DUI Field Vans, with Preliminary Breath Test Units, throughout the valley.

DUI Charges

DUI charges represented the largest number of crimes in Arizona in 2011. A total of 35,505 arrests were made or 14% of all crimes committed in Arizona last year. In an effort to decrease incidents of drunk driving or Drug DUI, Maricopa County police have actively sought out DUI motorists with DUI Sobriety Checkpoints set throughout 2012. This year, they increased their presence and safety checkpoints around holidays, events, and times where high volumes of traffic were expected.

DUI Laws

Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws and penalties in the country. A first-time DUI is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Under A.R.S. 28-2831 it is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while:

• Driving “impaired to the slightest degree” due to any alcohol or drugs;
• If the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle.

In Arizona the legal limit for alcohol or Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08%. However, a person may be guilty of DUI even if their BAC was below 0.08%, if due to alcohol or drugs they were driving “impaired to the slightest degree”.

Before making an arrest, the police will conduct an investigation to determine if they have probable cause for a DUI arrest. This may include Field testing, breath testing, and or blood testing.

DUI Penalties

First-time non-extreme DUI conviction will result in the following penalties:

• 10 jail sentence;
• Suspension of driver’s license for 90 days;
• Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on vehicle following reinstatement of driving privileges;
• Fines, fees, costs and assessments of at least $1,200.00;
• Probation;
• Alcohol/drug abuse education and counseling which will reduce jail time to 24 hours if successfully completed;
The higher the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level found in a person’s system, the higher the penalties.

Laws and sentencing are more severe for repeat offenses. If a person is found guilty of a third DUI within 7 years, even if the prior DUI charges occurred in another state, they will be convicted of an Aggravated DUI which is a Class 4 Felony. Penalties for Felony DUI call for:

• 4 months in prison;
• Fines, fees, and assessments of S4,000.00;
• Driving privileges revoked for 3 years;
• 24 months of IID after reinstatement of license;
• Parole;
• Drug and Alcohol counseling and treatment;
• Community Service
• Felony criminal record

Criminal Defense Attorney for DUI Charges in Phoenix AZ

If you face DUI charges of any kind you should always consult a DUI Attorney before pleading guilty or appearing in court. Even though you were arrested, you have the right to retain an attorney and defend your charges. Your legal advocate will protect your rights; provide a defense; and work to resolve your matter as favorably as possible.

Additional Resources:

Arizona DUI Laws

Arizona Department of Public Services (DPS) – 2011 Crime Statistics

Phoenix Police Department

• City of Phoenix – Municipal Court

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Drunk Driving Phoenix AZ Car Keys Alcohol.jpgWith Labor Day 2012 fast approaching and ASU back in session, police are increasing presence in and around East Valley Cities.

DUI Task Forces will be set up again this weekend on Mill Ave, in Tempe AZ. Police will also be organizing Traffic, Pedestrian, and Bike Safety checks.

The DUI Task Force officers will be looking for persons engaging in underage drinking; and binge drinking. They will also be seeking out motorist who are driving “impaired to the slightest degree” due to alcohol or drugs.

Basic DUI Laws in Arizona

• The legal limit in Arizona is 0.08% or greater (A.R.S. §28.1381.A. 2);
• A motorist may be charged for DUI if they are under the influence of drug or alcohol and found to be driving “impaired to the slightest degree” (A.R.S. §28.1381.A).
• The higher the Blood Alcohol Content BAC, the more severe the penalties;
• Sentencing for first time Misdemeanor DUI charges will result in Mandatory Jail Terms, Ignition, Interlock device, and driver’s license suspension;

Under Age 21 Drinking Laws

• The legal drinking age is 21 in Arizona: (ARS § 4-244(34);
Underage 21 Drinking DUI convictions in Arizona are subject to “Zero Tolerance” laws. Motorists convicted of driving under the age of 21 with any alcohol or drugs will be exposed to criminal penalties which include: Jail terms; Ignition Interlock Device on Vehicle; 2 years driver’s license suspension or denial; Probation or Community Service; Alcohol/Drug screening and treatment.

“Binge Drinking”
Binge Drinking is the Number 1 cause of Alcohol Poisoning. It is also the number one cause of drunk driving and resulting DUI and DUI with Auto Accidents. Binge drinking is defined as having 4 to 5 alcoholic drinks or “shots” within a short time span. It can result in serious illnesses, acute and long term disease and even death. It is the result of the body’s inability to metabolize the alcohol as fast as it is ingested. It takes a least an hour, for the liver to metabolize one drink. Other factors are taken into account for metabolic speed including body weight; food ingested with the alcohol; other medications; medical conditions; alcohol tolerance level and other factors. So in a binge drinking situation, the alcohol or “shots” ingested may just begin to shock the body which feels it effects long after the last drink, once they have left the bar.
Criminal Defense Attorney Tempe AZ

If you were arrested for DUI it is important that you consult an experienced criminal attorney to discuss your case and defense options. The laws and penalties are some of the harshest in the country. With so much at stake, you should always retain qualified legal representation for any alcohol or drug related criminal offense. If retained, your lawyer will protect your rights, defend your charges, and provide an effective defense that can preserve your future and freedom.

Resources:

National Centers for Disease Control

Arizona Revised Statutes – AZ Legislature

Arizona Department of Public Safety

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