Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney Blog

Phoenx Criminal Defense Attorney.jpgMetal Theft Charges

Copper is an example of a high demand Non-Ferrous metal, with comprehensive uses, and is more resistant to rust and corrosion, than many other types of metals. As a result, thefts of copper and copper cable have become such a widespread problem in Arizona that many law enforcement agencies are offering rewards for information leading to arrests. In additional Arizona has passed legislation in an attempt to combat the crimes which place more restrictions on the businesses purchasing the copper, and more harsh sentencing and penalties for copper theft convictions.

Arizona Metal Theft Laws: HB 2396, A.R.S. §44-1642, A.R.S. §44-1644
Arizona Law HB 2396 was passed March 21, 2012. This Law intended to increase penalties by amending ARS § 13 – 1801, and ARS § 13 – 1802 to delete term “scrap metal” from the definition of value. This change redefines the average Fair Market Value of copper in the local area; together with the repair or replacement value of any property from which the metal was removed during the theft. For sentencing purposes, this serves to increase the penalties for a copper theft conviction, since the value of stolen property is a major factor considered in Sentencing Guidelines and penalties. For example, If a person were convicted of stealing copper in the amount of $3,000 or more may be charged with a Class 4 felony, exposing a person to prison terms of 18 months to 3 years, which is more severe than if it were “scrap metal” stolen.

A.R.S. § 44-1642: Effective January 1, 2012, requires that all scrap metal businesses register to report their purchases by reporting them to a Scrap Metal Theft Data Base that indexes purchase records; transaction limits; age of seller; and exceptions’.

A.R.S. § 44-16442: Effective January 1, 2012, requires that all scrap metal businesses register to report their purchases to the department of public safety; exemption; violation; classification.

Criminal Defense for Copper Theft or other Theft Crimes

If you have been arrested or charged with theft of copper metal, copper cord, or any other theft crime, you may be exposed to felony charges and prison sentencing. The prosecution will egregiously pursue convictions. Laws have been enacted to increase sentencing and penalties for those offenses. You should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your matter and options for defense. With proper legal representation, and you will increase your chances of avoiding prison terms, and harsh penalties of a conviction. An experienced criminal attorney will protect your rights, defend your charges, and make every effort to get a favorable resolution in your case.
Additional Resources:

Theft Definitions
Theft Classifications
Arizona HB 2396

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Don’t be drinking and driving ’cause we’ll catch you”, DPS warns.

Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) is geared up for its’ statewide DUI task forces. They will be in place for their annual Labor Day crackdown, Friday August 31, 2012 through Tuesday September 4, 2012.
Police Car.JPG
They will be looking for drunk drivers; impaired motorist under the influence of alcohol or drugs, along with other traffic stops and motorist/vehicle safety checks. Arizona DPS offers this advice to motorists:

• Don’t drink and drive or you will be arrested;
• Don’t drive if you are under the influence of any medication with potential to impair driving;
• Assign a designated driver or plan for alternative transportation;
• Buckle up or citations will be issued;
• Don’t speed or you will be cited;
• Be aware of increased traffic throughout the Labor Day Weekend;
• Expect closures and delays due to auto accidents or construction;
• Take along plenty of drinking water and supplies in the case of an unscheduled closure;
• Do not drive without valid driver’s; registration; auto insurance, and valid plates;
• Be prepared for changing weather conditions to and from your destination;
• Get a good night’s rest before you leave for your destination if you’ll be driving;
• Be prepared and use caution in reduced speed limit zones;
• Use caution in merging traffic lanes;
• Drive defensively; don’t assume all other drivers will obey traffic and safety laws, and stop at red lights;
• Expect the unexpected;
These are just the fundamental laws of driving. But lack of adherence to these laws and tips, can result in serious automobile accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

DUI Charges in Phoenix AZ

Drunk Driving, DUI – DWI or Drug DUI charges are serious criminal offenses under A.R.S. § 28 – 1381 in Arizona. If charged you will face both civil penalties that include suspension of driver’s license, in addition to any other traffic citations if they apply. Driving impaired to the slightest degree due to alcohol or drugs will result in criminal charges. Penalties for convictions include 10 days jail; ignition interlock device on your vehicle; mandatory drug or alcohol screening and counseling; probation; fines; fees; and suspension or loss of driving privileges. You should always consult an experienced criminal defense attorney if you face active charges to discuss you matter and defense options. If retained, they will defend your charges, protect your rights; make sure you are treated fairly; and work to protect your future and freedom. Often there are defenses that can be used that may lead to a dismissal of charges, or other favorable outcome in your case.

Additional Resources:

Arizona Department of Transportation;
Arizona Department of Public Safety;
Governor’s Office of Highway Safety;
Arizona Legislature

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Arizona DUI BAC Drink chart.GIFDid you know that the National Impaired Driving Enforcement Campaign is in effect August 17, 2012 to September 3, 2012? You have probably seen the Television commercials airing the messages: “Drive Sober or get Pulled Over;” Don’t drink and drive; and “They’ll see you before you see them”. The efforts involve increased police presence, DUI Task Forces; media outreach; national and local advertisements geared at raising public awareness. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a new anti-impairment driving campaign to support high visibility enforcement (HVE) of police officers nationwide. The campaign is intended to help reduce drunk driving, and raise awareness about the hazards of driving impaired due to alcohol or drugs. The efforts focus combining resources: • Community outreach programs and education; • DUI Task Force administration guides and materials; • Heightened Presence of Police for basic traffic safety; • Paid media communications, advertisements and marketing; • Social media and internet campaigns to communicate the messages Every state has their own laws regarding the legal limit or level of impairment that will result in criminal charges. It is important that you be familiar with the laws in your state, or any state that you plan to visit or reside. Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): Legal Limits Arizona All states in the country comply with at least 0.08% as the legal limit. Other states have more strict legal limits for example 0.05%. Under Arizona law A.R.S. § 28-1381 A (2) a person may be arrested for DUI if their BAC is 0.08% or greater while driving or in actual physical control of any vehicle. In Arizona, a motorist may also be charged with DUI, even if the BAC is below 0.08% down to 0%. This is called being “impaired to the slightest degree” under the influence of alcohol or drugs A.R.S. § 28-1381 A (1). The penalties for DUI convictions are some of the harshest in the country. A first time Misdemeanor DUI, non-extreme BAC (below 0.15.%) conviction carries jail terms; 90 day suspension of driver’s license; Ignition Interlock Device on vehicle; mandatory drug or alcohol counseling; probation; fines and fees. DUI Attorney for defense of charges in Chandler AZ If you face any type of DWI or drunk driving charges, you should always consult a criminal defense attorney to discuss your matter, and defense options. It is never a good idea to go to court alone or try to go without legal representation. If retained, your lawyer will provide legal representation throughout the criminal justice process; make sure you are treated fairly; defend your charges; and look for mitigating factors that will help you avoid a conviction or harsh penalties. If you “Like” this article please let us know with a +1! Feel Free to subscribe and “Share • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Driving Safety • National Impaired Driving Enforcement Crackdown • Arizoan Legislature – Arizona Revised Statutes Continue reading

United States Supreme Court.jpgArizona police are allowed to use some force if necessary. But only to the degree that is necessary to prevent a suspect from fleeing; or to avoid harm, or injury to others.

Police are not allowed to use excessive physical or lethal force. The justifiable amount of force that can be used is dictated by given set of circumstances.

Although there is no known precise definitions, below low are some situations that would fall within the meaning of police brutality or use of excessive force:

• Physical force against a person who is already in custody; in hand cuffs; restrained or housed by police;
• Physical force against a person or their property if they are not resisting arrest;
• Physical force used by police such as punching, kicking, choking, slamming, or throwing a person down or against a fixed object such as a wall or vehicle, if the suspect is passive or non-violent;
• Improper use of Police Dogs that cause harm to a suspect;
• Use of a weapon including: gun; baton, tear gas, toxic spray; Taser; or dangerous weapon; against an unarmed individual, and for which it can be reasonably presumed that they do not possess a weapon;
• Use of Taser or other weapon against a non-violent and non-threatening individual;
• Threatening or Intimidating a suspect in order to obtain a statement or confession;
• Violent force or suppression of a peaceful activist or protestor;
• Failure of a Police officer to intervene or stop another officer who is using excessive force;
• Carelessly causing death
Laws that Protect against Police Brutality or use of “Excessive Force”
Rights that protect a person from police brutality and use of excessive force originate from the US Constitution and State Constitution.

I. Federal Laws

• US Constitution Amendment IV – Freedom from unlawful search of person or property and seizures;
• US Constitution Amendment V – Freedom from: self-incrimination; deprivation of life, liberty, or property absent due process;
• US Constitution Amendment VIII – Rights against cruel and unusual punishments
• US Constitution Amendment XIV – Freedom from: states to deny the privileges and/or immunities of citizens of the United States; deprivation of life, liberty, or property, absent due process; denial of persons within its jurisdiction equal protection of the laws.

II. Arizona State Laws
• Article 6 – Right to due process under law;
• Article 6.1 – Right to petition and assemble;
• Article 7 – Freedom of speech and press;
• Article 8 – Right to privacy;
• Article 12- Freedom from self-incrimination;
• Article 14 -Freedom of religion;
• Article 15 – Equal privileges and immunities
• Article 16 – Habeas corpus
• Article 17 – Freedom from cruel and unusual punishment;
• Article 30 – Trial by jury; Rights of accused in criminal prosecution; fair and equal treatment with freedom from discrimination
Your rights if excessive force is used

If the level of force used by police was not justified, then it is a violation of your constitutional rights. If right have been violated, your defense attorney may file a motion to suppress any evidence obtained after the rights violation. This leads to dismissal of the criminal charges.

You chances of getting evidence suppressed or criminal charges dismissed will increase if you have qualified legal representation of a criminal defense attorney. .
Civil laws exist that enable victims of police brutality or their families, in the case of wrongful death, to file complaints and law suits against police officers and their agencies against the police officers, and their department.

Resources

Arizona Constitution

United States of America Constitution

US Constitution Amendments

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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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Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney (2).JPGTypes of Robbery Charges

There are three classifications of robbery in Arizona:

1) Robbery;
2) Armed Robbery which involves a weapon;
3) Aggravated Robbery which involves an accomplice
Even if a robbery offense does not involve a weapon or an accomplice it is serious felony charge. Maricopa County prosecutors pursue them egregiously because they are considered crimes against a victim. If convicted, a person may be exposed to long term jail and prison sentencing.

Arizona Robbery Laws A.R.S. § 13-1902

A.R.S. § 13-1902 Robbery is theft that occurs; is intended; or attempted while the owner, caretaker or authorized party overseeing the property stolen is present at the time of the incident.
Robbery occurs when items (s) are stolen forcefully or against a person’s will. Robbery also includes acts or words of intentional intimidation, force or threat used against the owner or caretaker of the property in an effort to cause them to surrender the property against their will.

In order to get a conviction for robbery, the intent to commit robbery must exist. A person may be found guilty of robbery or attempted robbery, even if no property was taken; or even if a victim was unharmed.

A person may be guilty of robbery, or attempted robbery, even if they did not get away with any of the property; an even if the victim or witnesses were not harmed.

Robbery Sentencing Mesa AZ

Robbery charges without aggravated circumstance are Class 4 Felonies under Arizona Law. All robbery charges are felonies and sentencing is harsh. If convicted a person will be exposed to prison sentencing of up to 3.75 years in State Prison;, or jail sentences up to one year. Other penalties include fines; fees; victim restitution; property damage, community service, and other penalties the judge deems appropriate. A sentence may be mitigated, which means reduced, or aggravated which mean increased based on certain factors. Factors may include prior criminal record repeat offenses; nature, monetary value, and number of items stolen.

Robbery Lawyer for defense in Mesa A
Z
If you have been arrested for robbery, you will need to hire an experienced criminal attorney to defend you. They will make sure you are treated fairly; defend your charges; and look for defenses that may apply to your case; and provide the court with mitigating factors on your behalf. Retaining a qualified lawyer will increase your chances of getting a good outcome in your case.

Arizona Legislature

Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney for Robbery

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550-0038-0409-0105-2144.jpg45 years after Miranda v. Arizona – Its impact on the US Criminal Justice System
Over the last 45 years, legal controversies and challenges have continued to plague the “Miranda Rights”. Yet still it is recognized by all states in country. Following an arrest, the police must inform or warn a person of their “right to remain silent” and their right to defense counsel.

In Arizona the right to remain silent is afforded by both the United States Constitution and the Arizona Constitution. The right to remain silent is a privilege, because it enables a person to a avoid self-incrimination.
Under the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution a person shall not be compelled to be witness against themselves in their criminal case. When you hear someone say they are “pleading the 5th”, this is usually what they are referring to.

Article 2, Section 10 of the Arizona Constitution states that no person shall be compelled to testify or provide testimony, or statements against their own defense.
The right to avoid self-incrimination existed long before the landmark case. But since the US Supreme Court ruling in favor or Ernesto Miranda, in Miranda v. Arizona in 1966 they have been referred to as “Miranda Rights or “Miranda Warning”. In this case, the defendant Ernesto Miranda made a confession, which led to a conviction based on his statements. Ernesto Miranda appealed the decision and prevailed in the US Supreme Court. His argument was that he had not been made aware of his right to remain silent during interrogation, or criminal defense attorney.

If a person is arrested for a DUI or crime, it is important that they invoke their rights. After an arrest and before any interrogation the police must read a suspect their Miranda Rights. Invoking one’s right to remain silent helps avoiding self-incriminating statements that can later be used against them.
To invoke the right to remain silent one must verbally or in writing put police on notice that they wish to do so. If a person simply remains silent, they will be perceived by police as being uncooperative. It’s also important for a suspect to answer routine questions regarding identity and residency as well as the booking process.

Criminal Rights Attorney Chandler AZ

If you have been arrested, be sure you invoke your right to remain silent regarding the charges, until your defense attorney can be present, or has given you other instructions. If your rights have been violated, it may lead to dismissal of charges, other challenges or defenses in your case. You should always consult a criminal defense attorney if you face active charges to discuss your matter, and options for defense.

Additional Resource Links:

Arizona State Legislature – AZ Constitution

Miranda Rights Q. and A.

Justia Law Summary: Miranda v. Arizona 1966

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Phoenx Criminal Defense Attorney.jpgAggravated assault charges are assault charges that involved “aggravated factors” which elevated a Misdemeanor to a Felony. One aggravating factor that will raise a misdemeanor to a felony assault is if the offense was against a police officer. These types of charges carry long term prison sentencing and exorbitant fines. Conviction for this offense is egregiously pursued by the State of Arizona and Prosecution.

Felony Assault against a Police Officer
A.R.S. § 13-1204 (A)

A person is guilty of aggravated assault if they commit assault as defined in
A.R.S. § 13-1203 Assault, and knows or has reason to know that the victim is a police officer, or peace officer professionally engaged in their official duties; and
• A person causes serious physical harm or injury to the officer; or
• A person commits the assault by any means of force that causes temporary but substantial disfigurement, temporary but substantial loss or impairment, body organ or part or a fracture of any body part; of the officer; or
• A person uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument against the officer; or
• A person takes or attempts to gain control of a police officer’s firearm or other weapon.

Penalties for Felony Assault

Charges for Felony Assault may range from a Class 6 felony to a Class 2 felony which is more severe. The only charges higher than Class 2 are Class 1 felonies which are reserved for the most serious of crimes, homicide.

Depending on the seriousness of the assault, and number of offenses, and other factors, sentencing may include prison terms of 1.5 to 3 years for a Class 6 felony; and 7 to 21 years in prison for a Class 2 felony.

Fines for conviction may be ordered as high as $150,000.00, plus victim restitution, costs; fees; assessments, counseling, probation or parole; community service; and other harsh penalties.

If convicted, Felony Assault or Aggravated Assault Penalties can include lengthy prison sentences, long term felony criminal records that will follow you for a lifetime, exorbitant fines, fees, counseling, restitution to the victim, adverse impacts on your job and future job opportunities, negative impacts on your ability to get credit or loans in the future and any other punishments the Tempe court determines is necessary and appropriate.

Criminal Defense Attorney Felony Assaults Phoenix AZ
It is imperative to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney if you face aggravated assault charges. You can discuss your matter, and they will provide you with options for defense. If retained, they will protect your rights; make sure you are treated fairly; defend your charges; and look for evidence in your favor. They will represent you through the proper channels of the criminal justice system. There may be defenses that can be used, could lead to dismissal of charges; reduction in penalties or other favorable outcomes. For charges of this serious nature you should retain qualified legal representation as early as possible so they may begin working on your defense. This will also help you to avoid any unintended self-incrimination that could harm your case.

Resource Links:

Arizona Revised Statutes
Law Office of James Novak – Assault Laws and Penalties

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On July 29, 2012 Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer denied the request to halt implementation of the Medical Marijuana Law voted in by Arizonans in November 2010.
Governor Brewer stated in a letter to the Yavapai County Attorney, that she is “duty-bound” from such halt because “the voters approved it”. Approximately 29,500 people have received their Medical Marijuana cards.
The letter signed by Arizona County Attorneys in 13 Counties, including Maricopa County, requested an immediate halt due to the following concerns:

• Arizona Medical Marijuana laws are preempted by the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”);
• Imminent threats of seizures and closures of dispensaries in Arizona by the U.S. Attorney exist;
• State employees involved or who participate in conduct that is in violation of Federal offenses is compelling enough to take immediate action to halt of ADHS licensing.

Despite the fact that Governor Brewer did not support the passage of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), she feels strongly she has a duty to support its’ existence which was voted into law by the people of Arizona. She stands on firm ground with her decision, and will move forward with implementation until and unless she is notified by the higher Court that State employees will be prosecuted by administration of the law within their duties.

Arizona Laws

As it stands now Medical Marijuana laws allow for, among other things the following provisions:

• No limit exists as to the amount an approved and licensed dispensary may grow;
• Qualified Patients with valid Medical Marijuana cards may purchase 2.5 ounces every two week.

Arizona Drug DUI and Marijuana DUI Laws

All medical marijuana users should understand that although they are qualified users, with valid cards, that do not prevent them from being arrested for Drug DUI.
Under A.R.S § 13-3401, any person “driving impaired to the slightest degree” due to the influence of alcohol, drugs, or Marijuana, they may still be charged with a DUI. The other fact to keep in mind is that Marijuana stays in the blood stream much longer than alcohol. So even in small amounts, it may show positive on DUI blood or chemical testing days or even weeks after it was smoked or ingested.

Consequences of DUI with Drugs or Marijuana DUI

If you are arrested in Arizona for a Drug DUI, or Marijuana DUI you should consult a criminal defense attorney to discuss your matter and defense options. Penalties for Marijuana DUI Convictions are as severe as those for Alcohol related DUI charges. They carry mandatory jail sentencing; suspension of driver’s license; probation; alcohol/drug education, counseling and screening; fines, fees, and assessment costs. You should retain proper legal representation for your charges. They will make sure your rights are protected; that you are treated fairly; and work to get the best resolution in your case. Favorable outcomes may include dismissal of charges, reduction of sentencing; avoidance of jail or other harsh penalties.

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Guy Drinking Bar - shutterstock_40585228_edited-1.jpgDUI Field Sobriety Tests

Field Sobriety Tests are a battery of preliminary roadside test that police administer to detect DUI drivers. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed to these roadside tests to be used in early detection of DUI impaired, and DWI drivers. Police officers are formally trained and accredited to administer the tests. They are conducted on the roadside at a DUI stop. The police must have a motorist’s consent of the driver in order to administer them, because they are not mandatory in Arizona.

Standard Field Sobriety Tests
Police officers have been known to conduct other DUI sobriety tests. However, NHTSA has only approved three official FSTs, known as Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST):

1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN);
2. The Walk-and-Turn;
3. The One-Leg Stand.

If any other FSTs were conducted, outside of the SFSTs, your criminal defense attorney can move to have the results suppressed, so the results cannot be admitted as evidence against a suspect.

Consequences of Refusing Field Sobriety Testing in Scottsdale AZ

A driver stopped for DUI investigation, has the right to refuse the FSTs since they are not mandatory in Arizona. However, persons should be aware, that there are consequences of refusal. If you refuse the FST and the police feel they have other “probable cause” to make a DUI arrest, the may proceed with arresting someone on “suspicion of DUI”.

Why You Should Refuse to Take FSTs

Most attorneys will advise you to politely refuse to participate in any Field Sobriety Testing. You have a constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination. In most cases these roadside tests will not serve to help a suspect’s defense, whether they are driving impaired due to alcohol or drugs or unimpaired. There are many reasons for this:

• Historically, and statistically, even the Standard FSTs have proven inaccurate;
• The FSTs are administered, judged, and graded unilaterally by police officer who is trying to arrest you, often resulting in bias or non-objectivity of results;
• Many people unimpaired by alcohol or drugs cannot pass the roadside tests. If the suspect fails, it can be used as evidence against them, even if they were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
.
• NHTSA rules have strict guidelines regarding instructions and administration of the test; environmental factors; lighting; clothing; landscaping; traffic conditions; candidacy of persons taking it that relate to age, weight, medical conditions and more. If strict guidelines are not followed, the tests results may be invalid;
• They are generally used as evidence against a person and rarely if ever help their defense;
If you have taken or refused a field sobriety test and been arrested for DUI, you should always consult an experienced criminal defense attorney regarding your charges and defense options.

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