Articles Posted in Mesa AZ DUI

20 Alcohol & DUI Safety Tips; 7 Facts about high BAC; Arizona’s Extreme DUI Laws; Penalties; and Criminal Defense in Arizona

Summer holds inherent risks of danger for outdoor drinking because the sun increases the effects of alcohol.

Heavy drinking combined with excessive sun exposure causes fluid loss, fatigue, dehydration, exhaustion, severe sunburn, alcohol poisoning, and impaired driving charges.

Other potential injuries and criminal charges occur as a result of excessive drinking including auto, boating, ATV, or motorcycle crashes; burns, drownings, assaults and violent crimes and DUI charges.

In Arizona high BAC levels call for harsh penalties in the event of a conviction.  This article will provide insight into Arizona laws and penalties for Extreme DUI and Super Extreme DUI charges.

  • 7 Facts about Excessive Drinking During Summer Months
  • 20 Alcohol Consumption and DUI Safety Tips
  • Arizona Extreme & Super Extreme DUI Laws and Penalties
  • Criminal Defense for Extreme and Super Extreme DUI in Mesa AZ

Continue reading

A Tragic Video Confession

You might remember the viral video of an Arizona man, 22 year old Matthew Cordle, who caused a fatal drunk driving accident. He provided a confession in a four-minute online video that went viral with 2.3 million views last September.

Cordle began his chilling confession with “My name is Matthew Cordle and on June 22, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani. This video will act as my confession.”

Vincent Canzani 61, was the father of two daughters, and a former USA Naval Submarine Veteran. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

Immediately following the crash, Cordle was taken to the hospital for his injuries. But at that time he denied being intoxicated, driving impaired, or causing the fatal accident.

Cordle confessed in the video, that he was driving the wrong way on an interstate, and crashed into Vincent Canzani vehicle.

In the video was the blurred face of man, Cordle, admitting to barhopping, blacking out and driving home drunk. Cordle explained that he had been drinking heavily before getting behind the wheel, and blacked out just before losing control of his vehicle.

Cordle had not yet been charged at the time the video was made, but was expecting the charges to be brought based on the DUI blood test results.

Continue reading

The 4thAmendment right put to the test: Unlawful search and seizure

On September 25, 2012, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear Missouri, Petitioner v. Tyler G. McNeely. The decision could affect DUI blood test consent cases throughout the nation.

The high court will rule on the issue of when the police need a warrant to draw blood from a suspect stopped on DUI, if they refuse a blood test. The law requires consent by the suspect to for the blood test to be administered, or in the alternative, with a warrant by police. The warrant could be waived, however, under the following circumstances:

• A delay could threaten a life; or
• A delay would destroy potential evidence.

In this case, the suspect refused both the breath test, and was also unwilling to take a blood test. The police proceeded with the chemical blood test which reportedly was 0.154% and exceeded the legal limit in Missouri of .08%.

The defendant moved to suppress the blood test on the challenge that since he did not consent to the test; the officer did not seek a warrant; and the officer was not concerned about any delay jeopardizing the evidence. As a result, the defendant’s challenge was that it violation of his 4th Amendment Rights against unreasonable search and seizures.

The lower court suppressed the DUI blood test evidence, and the Missouri Supreme Court sided affirmed the lower trial court’s ruling. The US Supreme Court is expected to hear the case in January 2013.

Arizona DUI Blood Test Consent Laws

The Arizona Supreme Court also held that under A.R.S. § 28-1321 the suspect must either expressly consent. In the case of a refusal the e police must have a warrant to administer a blood test. A warrant will be granted, if the police have just cause to believe a motorist was driving impaired due to alcohol or drugs. If the driver refuses the breath test, or does not consent to the blood test, civil penalties will be imposed including a one year loss of driver’s license. The refusal will also be held against them in court. Refusals are perceived as an act of non-cooperation, or that the driver refused because they knew they would test positive for drugs or alcohol.

DUI Defense Attorney Mesa AZ

If you were arrested for any DUI you will need to address both the Civil Court penalties and the Criminal Court charges. You should always consult a qualified Criminal attorney before pleading guilty to a drunk driving or DUI charges. In addition to civil penalties, sentencing for convictions also include jail; fines, fees, assessment costs, drug or alcohol screening, and use of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your vehicle. If retained, your attorney will represent you, defend your charges, make sure your rights are not violated, and work to get the best resolution in your case.

Additional Resources:

US Supreme Court Docket – Missouri, Petitioner v. Tyler G. McNeely

Arizona State Legislature – Implied Consent Laws

Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Programs

Continue reading

Establishing driver impairment is the most challenging element of a DUI
Elements of a DUI

There are three elements of a DUI charge in Arizona. Establishing impairment is the third, and most difficult to confirm. First, the facts need to establish that the motorist must be driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle. Second, the police must determine if a motorist is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Third, the police must establish that a person’s ability to drive was “Impaired to the slightest degree” or more as a result of drugs, alcohol or any combination of drugs and alcohol.

Driving “Impairment” Defined

The Arizona Department of Public Safety defines a “driver impairment” resulting from being under the influence of drugs or alcohol as:

“A reduction in the performance of critical driving tasks”
To determine if the motorist is experiencing a reduction of performance, the police are required to follow certain procedures and protocol. The officer will need to have “probable cause” to believe the driver is impaired due to drugs or alcohol.

Determining Driver Impairment

Determining an impairment of a driver is less fact oriented and less objective than determining their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level. BAC levels can be obtained through use of a breathalyzer test or a chemical test such as DUI blood test.

Here are some tools the police will use to determine if a driver is impaired:

1. The motorist driving behaviors prior to the stop;
2. Police observations of the motorist at the time of, and following the stop;
3. Mannerisms and responses of the motorist to questions asked by the officer;
4. Ability of the motorist to follow instructions;
5. Statements or admittance made by motorist to police;
6. Passenger or objective witness statements;
7. DUI Roadside Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) developed by NHTSA:
a. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Eye Test
b. On-Leg Stand Test;
c. Walk-and-Turn Test
These factors, particularly the DUI Roadside Testing FSTs are often challenged; considered biased and police opinionated, by the defense. This is because the police explain the test; provide instructions; administer the tests, and then grade the tests.

Arizona DUI Laws

Under Arizona law A.R.S. §28.1381, a motorist may be arrested for DUI, if they are driving below the legal limit of 0.08% Blood Alcohol Content (BAC); or if they are under the influence of drugs, and are “impaired to the slightest degree”. Criminal Charges will be brought as a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

Criminal Defense Firm for DUI charges Tempe AZ

You should always consult a criminal defense attorney if you were arrested for any type of DUI charges. The penalties are harsh for convictions, even for firs time Drug DUI and DUI “Impaired to the slightest degree”. Sentencing is the same as those for DUI in excess of the legal limit of 0.08% BAC, but before 0.15%. Penalties include jail term of 10 days; driver’s license suspension for 90 days; use of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on their vehicles; alcohol or drug screening and education; probation; fines, fees, and assessment costs. You will need a qualified and experienced legal advocate to defend your charges, make sure your rights are protected, and work to resolve the charges with a favorable outcome.

Additional Resources:

Arizona Department of Public Safety

Arizona State Legislature – Revised Statutes

Maricopa County Superior Court – Criminal Case Information

Continue reading

Much controversy still surrounds the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, even though the state law approved use for medicinal by qualified card-holders. Users driving who are patients that possess a medical marijuana card arrest for both possession, and Drug DUI.

Marijuana Possession Charges

Under current law qualified patients of the MM cards may purchase 2.5 ounces of Marijuana every two weeks. However, despite the fact that a person may be a qualified MM card holder they risk arrest for illegal drug possession. Some County prosecutors are not recognizing its’ medicinal legality. This is because they feel it conflicts with Federal laws which prohibit the use of it for any reason. Some Maricopa County prosecutors have vowed to prosecute these charges. They will likely be convicted in lower court, and then be compelled to appeal a possession conviction to a higher court, until a ruling can be ordered by the Court of Appeals or the Arizona Supreme Court.

Drug DUI charges

Possession of a legal MM card will not prevent a motorist from getting a Drug DUI. The effects of Marijuana can stay in a person’s system for days, weeks, and even months depending on how much and often they use it. So if a driver tests positive for Marijuana following a DUI stop, they may be arrested even if the Marijuana did not cause their driving to be impaired to the slightest degree.
If in fact, the driver was not impaired to the slightest degree due to the Marijuana found in their system, they will have a justifiable defense against the DUI drug charges under Arizona Law.

Arizona Drug DUI Laws

Under Arizona Drug DUI law A.R.S. 28-1381 it is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle if they are:

• Under the influence of any drugs or alcohol; and
• Impaired to the slightest degree;
• While there is any drug defined in section A.R.S. 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s system
The law specifies that it is not a defense that a defendant was entitled to use the drug under Arizona Law. This will be charged as a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

Criminal Defense Attorney for Drug DUI and Possession Mesa, AZ

It is important that you consult an experienced criminal attorney to discuss your matter and options for defense following an arrest. You should never plead guilty to charges without first discussing the matter with your legal counsel or without their legal representation. The Arizona laws are very strict and the penalties are harsh. Sentencing includes jail time; fines; fees; drug or alcohol counseling and treatment; suspension of driver’s license; use of interlock device on vehicle; probation, and other penalties ordered by the court. Defenses should be argued by a qualified criminal attorney under Arizona Rules of criminal procedure through proper court channels. Successful challenges may lead to evidence suppression, charge dismissal or other favorable outcome in your case.

Additional Resources:

Arizona Department of Health Services

Arizona Legislature Revised Statutes

Maricopa County Superior Drug Court

Continue reading

DUI Arrest Based on Blood Test Results Mesa AZ

The police have discretion of whether or not to conduct a blood test or a breath test following a DUI stop in Arizona. Here are 5 reasons why an officer may decide to conduct a blood test over a breath test:

• Breath Test Refusal by the suspect:
• Suspect is not a good candidate;
• Breathalyzer machine non calibrated or in need of repair;
• Police Suspect a motorist is under the influence of chemical or drugs;
• Initial Portable Breathalyzer Test (PBT) was negative for alcohol.

Breath Test Refusal

In Arizona, a motorist has the option of refusing a breathalyzer test. However if they refuse and police believe they have probable cause to believe a person is under the influence of drug or alcohol, they will get a warrant to conduct a blood test. Also, if a suspect refuses the breath test, their driving privileges will be suspended for one year.

Not a Good Breathalyzer Test Candidate
In order for the breathalyzer test to be accurate or valid, optimal conditions must exist. Police must be sure to avoid substance interference. Medical Conditions such as heartburn or gastric reflux disease may skew the results of a BAC reading. Trial results have proven that stomach fluids may find their way into a suspect’s breath such as chewing tobacco; cough drops; belching or vomiting, or even alcohol may cause interference, causing test results to be inaccurate.

Breathalyzer in Need of Calibration or Repair

The official DUI Breathalyzer Intoxilyzer 8000 must be regularly maintained, and records to support its maintenance needs to be kept. Some machines, especially those that have been in use for a while, may have a history or needed repairs, or be in current need of repairs.

Police Suspect Drug DUI

Circumstances may cause the police to suspect a driver is under the influence of drugs instead of alcohol. Some reasons may include a person admits to being under the influence of drugs; the police witnessed a person using drugs; the police saw an illegal drug in plain sight when they approached a vehicle.

Initial Portable Breathalyzer Test (PBT) was negative for alcohol.
Generally, the police will first conduct a Portable Breath Test (PBT). Arizona does not allow the results of the PBT to be used as the sole source of evidence to obtain a conviction. This is because they are not maintained, calibrated, or subject to strict maintenance reporting guidelines like the official Breathalyzer Intoxilyzer 8000 machine. Its main purpose to either show positive or negative for alcohol use. If the results of the PBT are positive the police will proceed with formal breath test. If the results are negative, but police have probable cause to believe a person is under the influence of drugs, they will proceed with a blood or chemical test.

If you wish to defend your DUI charges, blood test, or breath test evidence you should always retain an experienced DUI attorney to represent you.

Continue reading

Q and A

What You Need to Know About Mesa Charges and Criminal Defense for DUI DWI or Drunk Driving Charges in Mesa AZ
Q. Do I need a DUI lawyer for my Mesa DUI?

A. Yes. Whether your DUI is a felony or misdemeanor, you should consult an Arizona Criminal Defense or DUI lawyer who defends cases in Mesa AZ as soon as possible. Mesa DUI laws are governed by Arizona State Laws and criminal code. Arizona has some of the toughest laws for DUI in the country. *Most types of DUI charges require jail or prison, and suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, as part of the DUI penalties if convicted. In many cases extremely severe penalties are not deserved. This is true especially in the case of a first time Misdemeanor DUI, non-extreme DUI. Many Arizonans argue that jail is too harsh, unjustified, and costly for the State. A DUI lawyer or Criminal Defense attorney in Arizona understands and is familiar with constantly changing criminal and DUI laws, and current case law that may apply to your case and be able to be used in your favor. They will use the laws to protect you and your constitutional rights, and make every effort to get your Mesa DUI charges dismissed, reduced, or otherwise the best possible outcome in your case.
Q. Can I go to my DUI Court without an AZ DUI Lawyer?
A. Yes. But understand that you will be held to the same standards as any DUI defense attorney would with regard to knowing the deadlines, court standards, protocol, and laws. You will not get any leniency by the court, judge or prosecutor if you are not represented by a DUI DWI lawyer for your Mesa DUI.
Mesa AZ DUI defendants feel the criminal justice system and courts are a vast and complex and set up more to convict you than defend you. That is true in many aspects. The Arizona prosecutor has a responsibility convict you of a DUI and impose the most severe penalties possible.

A DUI and Criminal Defense attorney in who defends DUI charges in Mesa AZ on a regular basis will be familiar with the court systems, judges, prosecution, standards, procedures and protocol. Bottom line, these factors will all work to the advantage of your defense.

Q. Will the court judge be more harsh on me, if I hire an attorney defend my Mesa DUI?
A. No. Defendants are many times surprised to find quite the contrary. The Judges prefer a client to have legal representation or an effective defense attorney to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings regarding the laws, processes and sentencing; and will provide them legal guidance verses having no legal guidance regarding protocol and being accused of an Arizona DUI. The judge can then assume you will you understand fully the ramification of the DUI charges, your plea, the verdict, and consequences resulting from the Arizona criminal justice process.

Q. Will the Arizona Prosecutor treat me differently if I hire a private practice DUI lawyer to defend me for my Mesa DUI charges?

A. The AZ prosecution will generally not mistreat you. However, what they don’t want you to know is that it is a “game changer” for them. When a defendant is not represented by a criminal defense attorney, they know they will be able to get a swift and harsh conviction. They know ways that you may not be aware of, that they can cause you to incriminate yourself or harm your own case. In most situations, have the advantage over you in absence of your having effective assistance of legal counsel. They will likely be more familiar with the AZ laws, courts system, and of having built a case of evidence against you. They know that without an effective DUI defense attorney, it will be difficult for you to challenge that evidence or protect yourself. It makes their job much easier to convict you if you do not have a criminal defense attorney representing you.

*All Arizona Laws are subject to change. You should contact an Arizona DUI lawyer in the jurisdiction or city where you received DUI or criminal charges for current laws, and information relating to your specific DUI or criminal matter.

Continue reading

Felony DUI Penalties, AZ DUI Laws Overview
“In dollars and “sense” the cost of retaining a good Mesa DUI defense lawyer, is far less a price, than fines, fees, costs, and your freedom, if convicted of a Mesa felony DUI.”
If you were charged with felony DUI in Mesa, AZ you should consult a Mesa DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case and defense options. A felony DUI conviction in Mesa exposes you to severe penalties. You will need a strong Mesa Felony DUI attorney to defend your Felony DUI charges.

Felony DUI – Arizona Laws:
There are three factors that will aggravate a Mesa Misdemeanor DUI resulting in escalation of the Misdemeanor DUI to a Felony DUI. “Felony DUI” charges are also known as “Aggravated DUI charges”:
1) A.R.S. §28-1383(A) (1): (Paraphrased) You were arrested for DUI while you were driving on a suspended, restricted or revoked drivers license – Class 3 Felony
2) A.R.S. §28-1383(A) (2): (Paraphrased) The new Mesa DUI charge is your third DUI in 7 years. At least two of the prior DUI charges resulted in convictions within the last 7 years. – Class 3 felony
3) A.R.S. §28-1383(A) (3): (Paraphrased) You were charged with driving impaired, DUI, DWI, or Drunk Driving, with a child under 15 years of age was a passenger in the vehicle you were driving – Class 6 Felony
DUI Penalties – Felony DUI Sentencing in Arizona
A Felony DUI conviction for Mesa DUI charges exposes you to mandatory AZ DUI sentencing guidelines. The mandatory DUI penalties under Arizona Law include, but are not limited to the following:

• Jail Sentencing ranging from one day to one year;
• Prison time from 4 months to 2 ½ years;
• Revocation of your drivers license for 3 years;
• Ignition Interlock Device at your expense;
• Fines of Up to $150,000 plus 80% surcharge;
• $1500 prison assessment;
• $250 abatement fees;
• Probation fees;
• Costs for Drug or Alcohol Treatment Screening;
• Costs for Drug or Alcohol Counseling or Treatment Program;
• Supervised probation;
• Felony criminal record
(The above penalties are subject to change based on circumstances surrounding your Felony DUI charges and frequent changes to Arizona Law).

Felony DUI Penalties for a Mesa DUI conviction may be “aggravated” or
“mitigated”. Aggravated penalties are factors that surround your Mesa DUI that support the prosecution and warrant more serious DUI penalties. Mitigating factors are circumstances or evidence that supports your DUI defense and warrant less serious penalties, particularly, those that are discretionary by the judge.

Mesa DUI Lawyer – Felony DUI Defense Mesa AZ
The judge will not offer you leniency, out of compassion or the fact that you do not have good legal representation by a Mesa DUI attorney. Without compelling arguments presented or motions filed by your DUI Defense Lawyer, the judge or prosecution will not generally offer mitigated sentencing. Good DUI defense lawyers will examine the evidence and facts of your case to find those mitigating factors that may lead to more lenient penalties if you are convicted of a felony DUI charge.

The felony DUI penalties are so severe, that often defendants feel that the situation is hopeless, and they do not feel even a DUI Attorney can help them. However, Felony DUI charges are often dismissed completely, or in part, by good Mesa DUI defense attorneys. A qualified Mesa DUI lawyer or AZ criminal defense lawyer can defend any Mesa Felony DUI charge regardless of the severity or classification. Good Mesa DUI lawyers often are able to get evidence dismissed; charges reduced to a Misdemeanor DUI, civil citation, or ultimately get the felony DUI charges dismissed completely.

Early retention of a good private practice Mesa DUI attorney will drastically increase your chances of a dismissal or other good outcome in your Felony DUI case. However, choosing to go without a qualified Mesa DUI defense attorney is a dangerous path towards a swift Felony DUI conviction in Arizona.

Continue reading

How to Find the Best DUI Attorneys in Mesa, AZ
Arizona State Laws are strict, and punishments severe for DUI charges in Mesa Arizona. First time DUI convictions carry mandatory sentencing of jail time along with other adverse punishments. You will need to hire a good criminal defense or DUI attorney who defends cases often in Mesa AZ to represent you through the Criminal Justice system. They will make sure your rights are protected and do everything possible to get the best outcome in your case.

Here is a short list of resources to look and help you find the best criminal defense attorney to defend you in Mesa Court or other court in Maricopa County for your Mesa AZ Charges:

• The internet. Many attorneys not only have websites, but have a wealth of information on their website that tells you about them, their experience, qualifications and credentials.
• Internet review websites and other public resources on the web.
• Referrals from friends, neighbors, or family. Be cautious not to reveal or discuss and details regarding your case.
• Maricopa County Bar Association.
• Arizona State Bar. Make sure the criminal defense attorney is licensed to practice criminal defense in Arizona. If you were charged in Arizona, you need to hire an attorney who is licensed to practice in Arizona and does so regularly. .
• Once you have selected a few attorneys you wish to speak with, contact them for a Free Consultation. Be sure the consultation is free. Most criminal and DUI attorneys do not charge for the initial consultation,
• Answer any questions the Attorney may have. They will need additional information to help you. Then ask about your defense options and their fees for retention including terms of fee payment. Many attorneys are flexible and will provide a discount if you ask depending on the nature of the charges and the amount of work they will need to put into your case.
• Ask the Attorney all the questions you can about training, education, experience, and qualifications, that you were unable to find out about them through your initial resources.
• Affordability. Compare fees of the attorneys you speak with. Understand that the most expensive attorneys many not provide you with the best defense. And in contrast, the least expensive attorneys many be some of the best DUI and criminal defense attorneys in the state of Arizona.
• Communication. You must feel comfortable in your communications with your attorney. When you hire an attorney, you are the employer. But the fact is you will be working together as a team to get the best possible outcome in your case.
• Trust. You need to feel confident that your DUI attorney can do the job. If they give you advice, there is usually a good reason for it. If you don’t know what that is, ask. You will be working with your attorney as a team. If you do not trust their judgment or competence from the start, your defense will be headed for disaster. So if the basic trust is not there from the start, you should continue your search until you feel that comfort level.

Choosing a Mesa DUI or criminal attorney for your Mesa criminal charges is one of the most important decisions you will make in a lifetime. An unwise decision can cost you not only the attorney fees, but your freedom and future. A wise well thought out decision will increase your chances of getting a dismissal or reduction of charges or sentencing and potential for a fresh start on life. Second chances are rare.

Continue reading

Mesa AZ DUI Charges
If you face Mesa DUI charges you should consult a Mesa criminal defense attorney or Mesa AZ DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws and penalties in the country for DUI convictions. However, a charge is not a conviction. You have a right to plead guilty and fight your DUI. Your best chance of getting a good outcome or even a DUI dismissal is to retain a good DUI defense lawyer in Arizona. They will be able review the evidence and facts of your case and determine what defense strategies may be utilized to defend your DUI charges in Mesa Court.

Mesa DUI Defense Strategies

Did the breath test operator possess a valid, unexpired operator’s license?
If not, the DUI breath test result is inadmissible.

Was Breathalyzer Machine used properly and timely maintained?
Breathalyzer Machine Units require routine maintenance checks.

Did the breath machine operator officially record the value simulator solution used in the test?
The value of the simulator solution used to obtain the suspect’s breath test results is required for the BAC to be admissible in court
Mesa AZ DUI Defenses
There are many DUI defenses that may apply and can be used to defend your DUI charges in Mesa Arizona. A good DUI lawyer who defends DUI charges in Mesa Court will know what DUI defense strategies can be used in your case. The above defenses are just a few of many defenses surrounding breath testing results. Below is an excerpt from the book “101 DUI Defenses 101 DEFENSES TO BEAT YOUR ARIZONA DUI ©” written by James Novak, Arizona DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney. For more DUI defenses, the abridged version of this E-book can be downloaded free by visiting

Continue reading

Contact Information