Articles Tagged with drunk driving penalties

DUI one of four main causes of fatal and serious auto accidents on Arizona roadways.

Enforcement of Arizona’s tough DUI laws tend to ramp up in May, especially over Memorial Day weekend and around graduation festivities. Last year, police arrested 3,129 people for DUIs between May 1 and May 31st, 556 of those arrests were made over Memorial Day weekend.

Police agencies statewide have joined together over the past month to patrol for people who are drinking and driving. These efforts are funded by grants from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, which also funds training for field sobriety tests, blood draws, drug recognition and equipment.

Tempe Police is at least one law enforcement agency that announced heightening enforcement from May 24th through May 27th. They have committed increased patrols and mobile units throughout the city and will be saturated in downtown Tempe AZ. Minor Consumption violations and prevention are a main focus.

Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) reported that last year at this time 5 fatalities resulted from 4 separate collisions, and 85 people were injured. Arizona DPS indicated that impaired driving due to alcohol or drugs was one of 4 main causes of fatalities and serious injuries. Other causes included speeding, seat belt violations, and fatigue or drowsy driving. And while it was not mentioned in the AZ DPS press release, some recent studies and reports show that “texting while driving” is also one of the main causes of motor vehicle fatalities and serious injuries.

It announced late last week that it will be “especially vigilant” on the state’s highways for this weekend to reduce the number of fatalities, injuries, traffic, and impaired driving violations. The AZ DPS is reminding everyone to be patient on the roadway while driving, get enough rest before trips, and obey traffic and seat belt laws, and refrain from drinking and driving; and “texting and driving”.

Tips from the police for the weekend include using public transportation or a completely sober designated driver. All drivers should be aware that in Arizona, adults can be arrested for drunk driving even if their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is below .08, if they are impaired to the slightest degree by the amount they drank.

Over Memorial Day weekend, particularly at family outings, some parents may let their older teenagers drink. While some states allow those under 21 to have a BAC of .01 or .02, Arizona has a zero tolerance policy for drunk drivers under the age of 21. Those under 21 may not even have even a BAC of .01%. A relatively recent case looked at the issue of blood tests for BAC for juvenile drivers, and the facts of the case are worth considering if you are a teenager or a parent.

In that case, a monitor at a seventeen-year-old defendant’s school smelled marijuana on his clothing in 2012. The monitor searched the vehicle the defendant and his friends had driven to school and found drug paraphernalia. School officials reported this to the police and the sheriff arrived and advised the defendant of his Miranda rights. Nonetheless the defendant admitted that he and his friends had smoked marijuana away from campus and driven back.

The defendant was arrested and charged with drunk driving. The sheriff read him admonitions related to the implied consent law for blood tests and the defendant agreed to submit to testing. His parents were called and came to the school. Meanwhile, the defendant’s blood was tested without his parent’s consent. His parents were told he was caught smoking marijuana and arrested, but weren’t asked for permission to test the blood that had been drawn.

Before a delinquency hearing, the defendant moved to suppress the blood test results. He argued that, as a minor, he lacked the legal ability to consent to testing. The juvenile court granted his motion, reasoning that the Arizona Parents’ Bill of Rights includes the right to consent before a minor’s blood is tested, notwithstanding Arizona’s implied consent law. It also found that the defendant’s consent hadn’t been voluntary.

The State appealed the juvenile court’s decision. The State argued that the Parents’ Bill of Rights was inapplicable because the parental right to consent did not prevent law enforcement officers from acting in their official capacities within the scope of their authority.

The appellate court reasoned that anybody who operates a motor vehicle in Arizona, including minors, gives consent to alcohol testing of blood, breath and urine in the context of a DUI allegation. Although someone cannot be blood tested in a DUI stop without a warrant, drivers are already assumed to have given consent. They can withdraw the consent that has been given, but they face penalties for doing so.

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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.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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•The Laws in Arizona for DUI are strict, harsh, and frequently changing. If you are unrepresented, you are held to the same standard as an experienced criminal defense attorney. This means you will be held responsible for meeting time lines, filing appropriate motions, challenging your charges with the authority of proper legal citation; representing yourself at hearings; following rules of criminal procedures. Winning cases and losing cases, is often the result of a successful argument or challenge of any of these aspects and the different facets of a DUI.

• You may be completely not-guilty of the charges for which you were arrested or on trial, but the prosecution will not “tell your story” or produce any evidence that will help prove your innocence. That is not their job. The prosecutor generally will not point out weaknesses in the State’s case against you. Only your criminal defense attorney will look for defenses, mitigating factors or evidence that may lead to a dismissal or reduction in sentencing;
• Any information or answers to questions regarding your charges can result in unintended self-incrimination. You have a constitutional right to remain silent and retain legal counsel to defend your charges, and be present during any questioning or testimony. Representing one’s self increases a person’s chance of unintentional self-incrimination.

• The Presiding judge can only intervene on motions; plea agreements; granting or prohibiting evidence from being admitted; and sentencing. The Judge can’t dismiss the charges without formal or proper legal arguments or challenge is made on the evidence; to the law; or other matters surrounding your case; or there is a “Not-Guilty” verdict returned by the jury.

Arizona DUI laws are strict and penalties harsh. A first time Misdemeanor DUI calls for mandatory jail sentencing Ignition Interlock Device on vehicle; suspension of driver’s license; probation, costly fines, fees and assessments. DUI charges result in both criminal charges which are held in criminal court, and civil charges relating to the negative actions on a person’s driver’s license. A qualified criminal defense firm will protect your rights; defend your charges; make every effort to help avoid jail terms and other harsh sentencing.

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