Articles Tagged with DUI laws

5 Things you need to know about Arizona DUI laws and defense

police-stop-drunk-driver-3-300x201No one who drinks expects to get a DUI or be the victim of an alcohol related disaster.

It is important to remember that others on the road may be driving dangerously due to drug or alcohol impairment.

Often people who have been drinking, lose track of how much they are drinking, and have not planned for an alternative ride home or arranged for a designated driver.

A Comprehensive Overview of Arizona’s Ignition Interlock Program & Legislative Changes

IID Breath testArizona drivers currently found guilty of DUI charges are required to install and use an ignition interlock device (IID).

It doesn’t matter that their DUI did not involve alcohol.  It doesn’t’ matter that they never used alcohol a day in their lives.

Requiring a person convicted of a drug DUI to install and submit to an IID screening before they can start their vehicle, never made a lot of sense.

This was particularly true if the driver didn’t drink alcohol, considering that current IID technology does not allow for detection of drugs in a person’s body.

Current IID technology is limited to detection of spirituous liquor on a person’s breath during exhalation.

It may have served a punitive purpose;  but it did nothing to prevent a driver from driving impaired due to drugs.

This however, is about to change.

Arizona’s SB 1228 has passed.  It will allow for judges to have some discretion as to whether or not to impose installation and use of an IID for Drug DUI convictions.

This article provides a comprehensive look at Arizona’s Ignition Interlock Device Program and other related topics included:

  • Overview of Arizona SB 1228
  • Ignition Interlock Devices used in DUI Sentencing
  • Arizona Removes Ignition Interlock Device Requirement for Drug DUI
  • How the new law will Impact Arizona Drivers
  • Driver Obligations for Use and Reporting of Ignition Interlock Device
  • 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Arizona DUI IID Program
  • DUI Classifications, Penalties & Criminal Defense Mesa AZ

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Maricopa County Arizona DUI Task Force Van


“The best way to deal with a DUI checkpoint is to be prepared for it. Lack of preparation or knowledge of your rights can lead to a false arrest, and violations of your rights.”

A Case of False Arrest at a DUI Checkpoint

One spring evening, 61 year old, Michael Wilhelm found himself in a DUI Checkpoint Line-up operated by Cape Coral Police. He was not driving impaired or under the influence of any alcohol or drugs. He asked to take a breath or blood test because instead of Field Sobriety Roadside tests (FSTs), because he was recovering from opened heart surgery. But the officers instead administered the field sobriety tests. Michael Wilhelm was arrested following the FST roadside test even before a breath test was taken. Police finally decided to do a breath test, while Wilhelm was still placed under arrest. Then while the police were preparing for the breath tests, Wilhelm began complaining of severe chest pains. He was taken to the hospital. There he requested the blood test to prove that he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The hospital complied with his request. The DUI blood tests were all negative. The criminal charges were finally dismissed. He filed suit against the city and police and spent the next two years of his life in civil litigation. The case was finally settled for a meager $18,750.00 in Wilhelm’s favor. This was one of two DUI checkpoint cases for false arrests that ran concurrently against the city at that time over false arrests that took place at DUI Checkpoints.

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Why Missouri v. McNeely won’t have much impact in Maricopa County

1066864_police_cruiser.jpgA recent U.S. Supreme Court decision may not change Arizona DUI law, but it may bring the rest of the nation more in line with Arizona’s policies.

Phoenix AZ court’s Search Warrant Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for police to obtain a warrant via “eSearch”. According to Phoenix Police, an officer can now obtain a search warrant within minutes. So the fact that the body’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels naturally decrease over time should not compel police, to bypass a search warrant. This is because the BAC levels take hours to decline, and will not be reduced drastically within 10 minutes.

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

298987_bbq_1.jpgEnforcement 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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How National Agency’s Recommendations Will Impact Arizona Drivers

1368042_wine.jpgArizona has tough DUI laws. They may get tougher, but not by much. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an independent federal agency, recently recommended, among other things, that the blood alcohol threshold be dropped from .08 BAC to .05 in all 50 states. Those drivers whose blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 are presumed under Arizona and other state laws to be impaired.

The NTSB is an investigative agency. It doesn’t have the authority to institute the changes. It is up to the Department of Transportation whether it wants to endorse this recommendation or not. States will each have to decide whether to accept the recommendation from NTSB. If the NTSB gets support from the Department of Transportation and other states, they will be closer to Arizona’s current policies against drunk driving.

The American Beverage Institute (ABI) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA) took offense to this recommendation. They believe that a lower BAC targets moderate drinkers in addition to drivers who are actually drunk. A representative of ABI said, “Moving from 0.08 to 0.05 would criminalize perfectly responsible behavior.”

ABI points to research indicating that less than 1% of over 32,000 traffic fatalities in 2011 were caused by drivers with a BAC between .05 and .08. Moreover, those with twice the current BAC (a BAC of .15 or higher) cause more than 70% of the drunk driving deaths.

NTSB argues that the research shows you start to be impaired in cognitive and visual abilities around .05, not. 08. This increases the likelihood of a serious crash. Most countries seem to agree, since they have BAC limits at .05 or lower.
But NTSB, an independent federal agency, said research shows most drivers suffer impairment of cognitive and visual functions like depth perception at a BAC level of 0.05, increasing the risks of a serious crash. According to the agency, the risk of having an accident increased substantially at .08.

More than 100 countries have BAC limits set at 0.05 or lower, according to the agency. According to another source, the U.S., Canada, and Iraq are among the small group with a BAC threshold of .08. Most European countries, most South American countries and Australia have set their BAC levels for purposes of assessing drunk driving to .05.

A representative of the AZ Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has stated that this new federal law won’t affect Arizona, claiming Arizona has “Not only the toughest laws in the country, but the toughest enforcement in the country.” He believes this extends to Arizona’s policy on driving while using drugs, too.

Arizona has passed a number of laws that are harsher than the DUI laws in other states. Among them is a law that says even if motorists have a blood alcohol level below .08 they can be cited if they are impaired.

A recently passed law requires first time DUI offenders to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their car or other vehicle for six months. An IID requires a driver to pass a breathalyzer test before being permitted to start the vehicle. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the number of drunk driving fatalities has dropped 46% since 2007.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
NTSB Safety Report on Eliminating Impaired Driving
Arizona DUI Laws
Arizona MADD.org

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“We are going big” says AZ DPS in preparation for intense week of DUI enforcement

A DUI may result in an arrest, jail time, but you can also wind up costing a person their job. That’s just a few consequences of a DUI conviction. Arizona calls for tough criminal penalties; civil penalties such as loss of driver’s license; and other consequences.
The Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (AGOHS) announced it has organized 12 task forces for what it considers to be an intense week of DUI through January 1, 2013.

The DUI task forces 40 – 100 strong include 70 law enforcement agencies valley-wide, and working with Arizona Department of Public Safety.

The goals this year include focusing on both drivers impaired due to alcohol or drugs, especially extreme DUI arrests. The AGOHS reported that Extreme DUI arrests increased statewide 12% from 2011 to 2012. Total DUI arrests have increased over 14% overall from November during this from this time last year to December 27, 2012.

AZ DPS, Director Alberto Gutier, reported to local media sources that instead of employing DUI task forces, that officers would be out tar employs the DUI checkpoint method, in geo-targeted patrols throughout the valley. He indicated that they want to send the message that they are everywhere verses one particular checkpoint.

Arizona DUI Laws

In Arizona it is unlawful to drive “impaired to the slightest degree” due to alcohol or drugs under the legal limit of 0.08% due to alcohol or intoxicating drugs.

A person may also be arrested for DUI if they are driving over the legal limit with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08% person.

Driver’s with BAC limits of 0.15% or more will be charged with Extreme DUI; and BAC limits that exceed 0.20% or more will be charged with Super Extreme DUI under Arizona Law. Higher the BAC limits call for harsh sentencing including longer jail terms.
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The legal drinking age in Arizona is 21, and a motorist under the age of 21 found to have any alcohol in their system, will be arrested, whether or not that driver is impaired.
DUI charges generally brought as Misdemeanors unless Aggravated Factors exist. If Aggravated Factors are present, the charges will be prosecuted as Felonies. These factors include a third DUI with two prior DUI convictions with 84 months; driving impaired due to alcohol or drugs with a child passenger under the age of 15 years old; driving impaired with an invalid driver’s license; or one that involves a serious or fatal auto accident.

DUI Defense Attorney, Chandler AZ

If you face drunk or impaired driving charges, your future and freedom are in jeopardy. You should consult a criminal defense attorney regarding your matter, before your first court appearance. If retained, they will protect your rights; and defend your charges. There may be defenses you are not aware of that could lead to case dismissal, or otherwise favorable outcome in your case.


Additional Resources:

Arizona Statewide DUI Enforcement Statistics 2012

Arizona Department of Public Safety

Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety

State Legislature – Extreme DUI Laws

Chandler Police Department

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Tips for keeping your holidays safe and free from DUI arrests and hazards

Last week, the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (AGOHS) announced it will be holding a Holiday 2012 DUI Enforcement “Kick-off” Conference at the Arizona State Capitol, Tuesday November 27, 2012. They will be discussing details for safety checkpoints, saturation patrols, and increased presence throughout the state to enforce DUI laws.

The AGOHS works with local city, and county officials to organize DUI Safety Checks that generally beginning around Thanksgiving and run through the New Year. During this time frame last year, DUI roadblocks resulted in over 4,170 Arizona DUI arrests for Drug DUI and Alcohol related DUI offenses.

7 Basic DUI Safety Tips

Here are some tips for planning Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holiday celebrations, to help avoid hazards and arrests resulting from impaired driving:

• Refrain from driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
• Appoint a trustworthy designated driver;
• Make arrangements in advance for a safe ride home including taxi, public transportation, or trustworthy family or friend;
• Know the Arizona DUI laws related to drug and alcohol DUI;
• Avoid binge drinking, and know your impairment threshold for drinking;
• Don’t allow yourself to be a passenger in a vehicle driven by a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
• Talk to your teens about the dangers of drinking and driving and encourage them to follow these tips
Arizona DUI Laws and Facts

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration works with Arizona to provide support for their Holiday DUI Enforcement “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaigns. Here are some Arizona laws, and NHTSA facts to keep in mind:

• Of the 32,885 people who lost their lives in 2010 to motor vehicle accidents, 31% or 10,228 fatalities resulted from alcohol impaired driving;
• The age group subject to the greatest risk of impaired driving and fatal crashes were 21 to 34 years old, who were under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
• Nighttime driving 6:00 pm to 6:00 am was the most deadly time frame for fatal crashes, and 78% of fatal crashes within the study in December 2010 alone;
• Of those, 45% had a Blood Alcohol Content of .15 BAC or higher;
• Police have zero tolerance for DUI charges, and do not provide warnings. DUI arrests will be made;
• All DUI convictions call for jail time and suspension of driver’s license;
• In Arizona Refusal to take alcohol breath tests will result in a suspension of a motorists driver’s license, whether the motorist was found to be driving impaired or not;
• In Arizona the legal limit for alcohol is 0.08% BAC;
• A person may be arrested for DUI, if their BAC is below the 0.08% if they are driving “impaired to the slightest degree” under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
• The legal drinking age in Arizona is 21 years old. Zero tolerance applies to any one driving or found to have any amount of alcohol in their system.

Criminal Defense for DUI Charges Tempe AZ

If you were arrested for DUI charges in Arizona, you should always consult an experienced DUI defense lawyer regarding your charges. Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws and penalties in the country, and prosecutors egregiously pursue convictions for all types of DUI – DWI charges. If retained, your attorney will make sure your rights are protected; that you are treated fairly; defend your charges; and attempt to get the most favorable resolution possible for your charges.

Additional Resources:

Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety – News Announcement

National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration

Arizona State Legislature – DUI laws

Arizona Mothers Against Drunk Driving – (MADD)

Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles

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DUI lawyer Chandler AZ.jpg5 reasons police conduct Preliminary Breath Tests

Arizona is one of a majority of states with Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) Laws.

The PBT is a small mobile device used to establish the presence of alcohol in a person’s system. The PBT is intended to be used as an early detection or screening tool by police. Arizona does not allow a PBT to be admitted as evidence in court against a person accused of DUI, because the machines historically are not considered accurate in measuring exact Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Levels. In addition, PBT units are not calibrated or routinely maintained like the official Breath Tests Machines.

Arizona Portable Breath Test (PBT) Law

Under A.R.S. 28 § 1322 Preliminary Breath Test law a police officer who has reasonable suspicion to believe a person is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol has authority to request that a person submit to a preliminary breath test.

Under this law, the officer may also require the person to submit to further testing
pursuant to the Implied Consent Law A.R.S. 28 § 1321. This includes DUI blood, breath, urine testing.

5 reasons PBTs are commonly used in Arizona

The National Highway Safety Administration recognizes that although the PBT is useful, it is not admissible as sole evidence to determine BAC; but is generally reliable in determining if any alcohol at all is present in a person’s system. Arizona courts do consider PBT evidence to be admissible in court as evidence against a defendant facing DUI charges. Below the police may likely choose a PBT in a DUI field investigation:

• To determine or rule out DUI influence of alcohol v. drugs;
• Drivers who may have a high alcohol tolerance level, and can perform field sobriety tests or other tasks to a greater degree than those with lower tolerance levels;
• To detect if an underage 21 person is under the influence of any alcohol in violation of the state’s Zero Tolerance law;
• As a preliminary DUI screening test only; and if positive, will be followed up with an Official Breath Test Machine.
• At the scene of a DUI collision where the driver is suspected of DUI, but has been injured and is unable to perform Standard Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs).

Criminal Defense for DUI Chandler AZ

Arizona laws and penalties are some of the toughest in the country. If you have been arrested for any type of DUI you should always consult a qualified criminal attorney to discuss your charges. You should do this before you appear in court or plead guilty to the charges. You have the constitutional right to defend your charges, and this is done by pleading not guilty and retaining proper legal representation. There may be defenses that you are not aware of that if used, may lead to a dismissal of charges, sentencing, or other favorable outcome in your case.

Additional Resources:

Arizona State Legislature – Portable Breath Test Laws A.R.S. 28 § 1322

Arizona State Legislature – Implied Consent Laws A.R.S. 28 § 1321

Arizona Department of State – Public Safety – Determining Alcohol Concentration

Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety – DUI laws

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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.
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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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