Series: Part 1 of 2
The AMMA Cannabis Controversy
It’s been nearly a decade since the state passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA).
A DUI breathalyzer or chemical test is considered a protected search under the 4thAmendment of the U.S. Constitution. This means that police need a warrant with probable cause to conduct a DUI breath, blood or urine test, even under Arizona’s Implied Consent law.
There are a few exceptions to the warrant rule, one of which is voluntarily consent. If the driver expressly consents to a breath or chemical test, the officer is not required to have a warrant.
Arizona courts have held that if a person was coerced by the officer to take the DUI test then their consent is not voluntary (State of Arizona v. Valenzuela, 2016). An involuntary consent does not relieve police of the requirement of obtaining a warrant.
The U.S. Supreme Court previously held that Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking on a driver’s vehicle comprises a search under the 4th amendment. This means that police need a warrant to conduct GPS tracking on a vehicle owned or driven by a suspect when the vehicle is legally in their possession.
Earlier this year, the Arizona Supreme Court issued a landmark opinion in an Arizona drug trafficking case in which the passenger in a GPS tracked vehicle was arrested in addition to the suspect driver.
In the case, the Arizona Supreme Court ultimately affirmed the defendant’s conviction, finding that the officers who conducted the search relied on previous case law in place, that held the conduct was permissible. With that, the court determined that the police acted properly and did not suppress the evidence, based on the good faith exception.
What is Reasonable Suspicion?
Reasonable Suspicion is a standard of proof in criminal law recognized throughout the United States.
It refers to the justification needed by police to make an investigative stop.
A medical marijuana cardholder can raise an affirmative defense when charged with driving under the influence under § 28-1381(A)(3).
Recently, an Arizona appellate court considered an important case where the Justices reviewed what it takes to prove this affirmative defense.
This article sheds light on some important related criminal law and defense topics:
All DUI convictions carry harsh penalties. But, by far aggravated DUI expose a person to the harshest sentencing.
In 2012, a total of 7,696 Extreme DUI arrests were made representing 29% of the total 26,334 DUI arrests; and aggravated DUI (felony) arrests 3124 representing 12% of all DUI arrests last year.
A majority of DUI arrests in Arizona are misdemeanors. Even Extreme DUI charges are brought as misdemeanors. However, a misdemeanor will be elevated to an Aggravated DUI (felony) when certain factors are present surrounding the DUI charge, as defined under A.R.S. 28-1383.
For example, a driver was recently arrested for DUI for driving with a suspended license while approximately four times over the legal limit, Maricopa County. Under these circumstances a motorist is exposed charges of aggravated DUI (felony DUI). Prosecutors bring charges of aggravated or felony DUI when not only is a driver impaired by alcohol or illegal substances, but he or she (1) has a suspended, cancelled, revoked or restricted license or (2) has two DUI convictions within seven years of the current DUI or (3) has been ordered to have an ignition interlock device on a car.
It is illegal to drive with .08% Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). However, in Arizona, a driver does not need to have blood alcohol levels this high to be charged. It is illegal to drive even when you are only slightly impaired by alcohol or illegal substances.
A driver may also be charged with more serious offenses when the blood alcohol levels exceed the legal limit. If a driver’s blood alcohol level is .15% or more you can be charged with extreme DWI. In addition to Extreme DUI (.15%) Arizona also has Super Extreme DUI laws. A person can be charged with super extreme DWI, if their BAC is .20 % or higher. Assuming the additional circumstances described above are met, aggravated DUI can be charged for regular DUIs, as well as for extreme DWI or super extreme DWI.
Generally, the higher the BAC for which a person is convicted, the more harsh the penalties. This includes longer incarceration terms. But by far the harshest penalties go to people who are convicted of an aggravated DUI. An aggravated DUI is a Class 4 felony. However, it can also be charged as a Class 6 felony if you are impaired and driving with a child under the age of 15 in the car. Felony DUI may also be charged if someone is severely injured or killed while the driver was under the influence.
The penalties for an aggravated DUI in Arizona can be harsh. There is a mandatory minimum of 4 months in prison and up to 3.75 years in prison. “Mandatory minimum” means that the judge is required to sentence you to at least that amount (4 months) in prison regardless of how good one’s character or lack of prior record.
For example, if you have had two prior DUIs and you drink a glass of wine at happy hour, and as a result you weave in and out of traffic and get pulled over by the police, you could face aggravated DUI charges. If you are so charged, the judge is required to sentence you to at least four months in prison.
On top of the mandatory minimum prison time, you may face fines and costs that together exceed $4600. A person’s driving privileges may be revoked for a year and you may be placed on probation. An aggravated DUI will be on a person’s record, which means a person’s sentence could be enhanced in the future if you are ever again convicted of a felony.
Moreover, on future job applications, you will have to answer that you have been convicted of a felony, thereby limiting the kinds of work that will be available to you. There is a significant social stigma attached to felony convictions. If a person’s license has been revoked, it can be difficult to get to work, thereby further impacting a person’s employment prospects.
If you are charged with a Class 6 felony DUI, there are no mandatory minimums. However, you can be sentenced to prison for up to two years. There is a mandatory license revocation.
The phrase “Super Extreme” relative to “DUI” refers to the level or amount of Alcohol Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) found in a person’s system. “Felony” refers to the Classification of criminal charges as in the difference between Misdemeanor and Felony crimes.
Differences between Misdemeanor and Felony DUI charges
First we will discuss the main differences between Misdemeanor DUI and Felony DUI classifications. A majority of DUI charges are classified as Misdemeanors. A Misdemeanor DUI offense will be raised to Felony charges when certain aggravated factors are presents. For this reason, Felony DUI charges are also referred to as “Aggravated”. The penalties for felony DUI charges are more severe than misdemeanor. Convictions will expose a person to prison term, larger fines, fees, and assessments; and driver’s license will be indefinitely revoked.
Aggravated Factors – Felony DUI Charges
Under Arizona law A.R.S. §28-1383 (A) (1), (2), & (3) three aggravating factors that will cause an Arizona Misdemeanor DUI to be elevated to Felony DUI charges.
(1) DUI charge while driving on a suspended, restricted or revoked driver’s license;
(2) Third DUI charge within 7 years and you have two prior DUI convictions that occurred during the last 7 years:
(3) DUI DWI and a child under 15 years of age was a passenger in the vehicle you were driving
Super Extreme DUI Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in Arizona:
The terms “Extreme” or “Super Extreme” refer to the motorist Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level found in a person’s system.
The legal limit for alcohol in Arizona is 0.08%. If a person exceeds 0.15% they are considered to be Extreme DU; if a BAC exceeds 0.20% or greater they will be charged with Super Extreme DUI – DWI offense.
In Arizona a person can also be charged with DUI for being “Impaired to the Slightest Degree” even if their BAC is below 0.08%, or if they are impaired due to drugs and alcohol, or drugs alone.
Penalties for Felony DUI Super Extreme BAC Convictions:
• Mandatory Prison – 4 months minimum or more;
• 3 year Driver’s License Revocation;
• Participation in Mandatory Alcohol counseling or treatment program;
• Minimum of 30 hours in Community Service;
• Ignition Interlock device on vehicle – current statutory requirements;
• Fines, court fees, prison assessments and fees exceeding $4,000.00.
Tempe AZ Super Extreme Aggravated DUI Lawyer for defense
Felony DUI charges with Super Extreme BAC are very serious. Your future and freedom are at stake. A Felony DUI conviction will leave you with a felon criminal record, prison terms, and have lasting adverse impacts on your life. You should always consult an experienced criminal defense attorney in the jurisdiction where you were arrested or received charges. They will discuss your matter and provide you options for defense. There may be defenses you are not aware of that may lead to a favorable resolution of your charges. If retained, a criminal defense attorney will protect your rights, defend your charges, and pursue the best possible outcome in your case.
• Arizona State Legislature = Aggravated DUI Laws
• Arizona State Legislature – Extreme DUI Laws.
• Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (azgohs.gov) Super Extreme DUI Sentencing
• Arizona Department of Public Safety (azdps.gov)
Arrest Warrants Scottsdale AZ
Basically, an arrest warrant is a legal order issued in the name of the State of Arizona which provides legal authority for the police or law enforcement to make an arrest. The two most common types of arrest warrants are Police Arrest Warrants and Bench Warrants. Police issue arrest warrants when they determine that they have “probable cause” to believe that a suspect committed a crime. A Bench warrant is issued by the Judge in a presiding criminal case, if a defendant fails to appear for a scheduled court hearing (“Failure to Appear for Misdemeanor Charges A.R.S.13-2506; Failure to Appear for a Felony Crime Charges A.R.S. 13-2507). They remain outstanding indefinitely or until the suspect takes care of it through the criminal justice court system.
There are a variety of ways to find out if you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest in Scottsdale. Some mediums charge and some do not. But either way the safest, most reliable way to find out is to consult a Scottsdale criminal defense lawyer or Scottsdale DUI lawyer to find out. An experienced criminal defense Attorney will conduct a thorough search via accessible legal resources. They will then advise you of the most accurate and current information available concerning the warrant.
An arrest warrant is a very serious matter. Some people are arrested decades later upon being stopped for a minor traffic violation or other matter. In Arizona there are no expiration dates on an outstanding arrest warrant. If you have a warrant it will remain outstanding until either the bond is posted or the judge decides to “quash” or cancel it.
Here are your options:
• Pay the bond amount set by the judge: Once you pay the bond amount, the warrant will be quashed and you will be given a new court date if the warrant is for failure to appear.
• Appear before the judge during the Walk-in Docket: Scottsdale Court usually provides a daily time for defendants who need to make unscheduled court appearances. Unscheduled appearances are heard only at specified times available by the Scottsdale AZ Court.
• Retain a private practice criminal defense attorney: This is the best way to take care of an arrest warrant. Your criminal lawyer will confirm the facts, and a Motion to “quash” or cancel the warrant. At that point they can also begin tailoring a solid defense strategy for your Scottsdale Criminal or Scottsdale DUI charges.
The judge may still require a bond be posted before canceling the warrant whether you have an attorney or not. So it is best to be make arrangements in advance to post a bond for your court appearance. Upon Retention of a private practice criminal attorney, they can guide you through the steps of safest ways to deal with the warrant based on your circumstances. They will make sure that the warrant has the least adverse impact on your life relating to addressing the warrant and will defend your criminal charges.
“5 Facts about getting a Scottsdale Police Report for DUI or criminal Charges”
“How do I get a copy of my Scottsdale Police Report for my DUI?”
You can obtain a copy of Scottsdale Police report for DUI or Criminal Charges in one of two ways:
“You have the right to defend your Mesa DUI charges, no matter what events led to the arrest. But you chances of actually getting the DUI charges dismissed increase drastically if you are being defended by a good Mesa DUI lawyer.”
Mesa AZ DUI Charges
If you were arrested by a Mesa DUI Task Force for DUI or Drunk Driving charges, charges, you should contact a Mesa criminal defense or DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Arizona has some of the toughest DUI – DWI laws and penalties in the country. Currently all DUI convictions can expose you to serving jail time, in addition to other harsh punishments. Most experienced DUI Lawyers provide Free Consultations to those who need legal representation for their Mesa DUI or Criminal Charges, to discuss their case and options for defense.