Articles Tagged with DUI penalties

Arizona Appellate Court Rules on Medical Marijuana Card Affirmative Defense; 3 Admissible Ways to establish an affirmative defense; 10 Other Marijuana DUI Defenses

Medical-MarijuanaA 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:

Stakes are high for DUI, and Underage Drinking; Consequences extend beyond criminal charges.

Starting August 15, 2013 nine agencies joined to form a “Safe and sober” campaign task force. The Campaign began at the beginning of the ASU fall semester, and lasted three weeks to end on September 1, 2013, of Labor Day Weekend.

The Law Enforcement Agencies that joined together and included efforts of Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, and Scottsdale Police Departments. The campaign included enforcement of liquor laws as well as educating the community about traffic, bicycle and pedestrian safety and the dangers of youth alcohol consumption, and enforcing nuisance/party ordinances.

Within the first three days, there were 867 citations, 371 arrests, 1421 stops, and 91 total DUI arrests in violation of A.R.S. 28-1381. Of these there were a disturbing number of minor in possession of alcohol arrests (111 such arrests) in violation of A.R.S. 4-244 of Arizona criminal code. The second weekend saw 486 arrests. Over the first two weekends, there were 857 arrests, with 319 for minors in possession of alcohol. Over Labor Day weekend alone, there were 656 DUI arrests; 126 of the Labor Day arrests were for Drug DUI in violation of A.R.S. 28-1381 A (1) & (3).

Arizona Misdemeanor DUI Laws and Penalties – First Offenses

All impaired driving arrests in Arizona are serious. The average Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) for those charged with DUI during the campaign exceeded 0.15 percent, which means makes it even more serious. Extreme DUI charges in violation of the Arizona Extreme DUI Laws A.R.S. 28-1382 (.15 percent or greater) carries harsher penalties. Some of those arrests fell under the Arizona Super Extreme DUI laws (.20 percent or greater), and carry the most severe Misdemeanor DUI penalties. Generally DUI charges that involve higher BAC levels call for longer the incarceration terms. First Office Minimum Misdemeanor DUI penalties call for 10 consecutive day jail terms; first offense Extreme DUI sentences call for 30 consecutive day jail terms; and first time Super Extreme DUI convictions call for 45 consecutive day jail terms. Other penalties for first time DUI convictions include fines, fees, and assessments that range from $1750.00; Suspension of driver’s license for a minimum of 90 days; use of Ignition Interlock Device on the Defendant’s Vehicle 6 to 18 months once driving privileges are reinstated; participation in mandatory alcohol/substance abuse screening, counseling, or treatment, probation, or community services.

Arizona is a “Zero Tolerance” state, meaning it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to be found with any spirituous liquor in their system. Convictions for Underage 21 consumption of alcohol also results is usually a misdemeanor punished with a criminal record, a $500 fine and court costs, community service plus 2 years suspension of your driver’s license. Possession of alcohol by a minor is another charge with similar penalties. It permits a minor to be charged for being close to alcohol and having it accessible.

Underage 21 DUI penalties are particularly harsh. Unlike adult DUI charges, which are usually brought for actually being impaired to the slightest degree, or having BAC of .08 while driving, a minor may be charged for driving with just one drop of alcohol in his or her system. A Class 1 misdemeanor, under age DUIs are punishable with $1500 in fines and costs, up to 10 days in jail, loss of driver’s license for up to 2 years, and community service. Nine of the 10 days in jail can be suspended if a defendant agrees to complete an alcohol treatment program.

Collateral Consequences of DUI or Alcohol Related Convictions

Adult DUI Convictions – Consequences of any DUI convictions for adults often reach far beyond criminal sentencing and have adverse impacts on many areas of a person’s life and family. Some consequences can include loss of residency; loss of income; loss of job or ability to get a job; inability to obtain auto or health insurance; high surcharges or premiums and even non-renewal of insurance; and a criminal record that will follow them for years into the future.

Minor Consumption and Under Age 21 DUI Convictions- The consequences of a DUI or Minor Consumption conviction can reach far beyond even the devastating criminal penalties. Other consequences are social stigma, expulsion from school, and a criminal record. The last is especially serious because it means every time a minor is asked about his or her criminal record when applying for college, graduate school or a job, he or she will have to disclose the information and explain what led to the conviction for a DUI. Consequences of a conviction can also result in an athlete being suspended from athletics; loss or denial of scholarships; or financial assistance programs.

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1409595_gavel_5-1.jpgThe Court of Appeals of Arizona recently decided an appeal regarding aggravated DUI in the case State of Arizona v. John Patrick McDonagh. This is an interesting case that works in favor of DUI defendants. It arose when the State charged the defendant with four counts of aggravated DUI. These were all variations on the same facts, including: (1) drunk driving on a suspended license, (2) drunk driving with a BAC over .08 on a suspended license, (3) third instance of drunk driving within 84 months, and (4) driving with a BAC over .08 on a third offense.

The defendant was convicted of all four of these. During a sentencing hearing, the judge imposed a minimum mandatory 4-month term in prison followed by two years of probation. The court ordered the prison terms and the probation to run concurrently. It also ordered significant “Assessments” totaling $4,630 per count. From the way the court wrote the order, it was not clear whether these Assessments were imposed concurrently or if this was the sum the defendant had to pay per count.

The defendant appealed solely with respect to the issue of the Assessments. He argued that there shouldn’t have been four separate Assessments assessed for four felony convictions all arising from the same driving incident. He didn’t raise a constitutional issue, but rather a prohibition found in the state statutes. Specifically the code states, “[a]n act or omission which is made punishable in different ways by different sections of the laws may be punished under both, but in no event may sentences be other than concurrent.”

The appellate court asked the parties to report how his payments were applied. The parties’ reports revealed that the court’s clerk applied the payment such that each dollar was credited to only one, not four counts.

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Phoenix DUI Lawyer.jpgHow BAC impacts DUI impairments and penalties in Arizona

According to the National Center for Disease Control (CDC) recent studies three categories of people are the most at risk of getting an alcohol or drug related DUI. Those categories include young people; motor cyclists; and repeat DUI offenders:

1) More than one of every three fatal crashes involved a driver’s with BACs of 0.08% or greater were between the age of 21 to 24 (34%); The next largest percentage of age groups were the 25 to 44 years of age (28% average);
2) Of all motorcyclist involved in a fatality 28% of them had a BAC of 0.08% or greater. Of those impaired riders killed 44% were between the ages of 40 to 44 years of age;
3) Motorist with BACs of 0.08% or greater involved in fatal accidents were four times likely to have a prior DUI – DWI conviction.

Arizona DUI Legal Limit BAC Laws and Penalties

Arizona has some of the most strict laws and harsh punishments in the country. The higher the BAC level, if the impairment is due to alcohol, the more impaired they become. The more impaired the driver. Arizona recognizes this, and consequently has laws in place that increase the severity of charges and penalties for higher BAC limits.
Under A.R.S. 28 – 1381 the legal limit for Blood Alcohol Content in a person’s system is 0.08% or greater. However, under the law, a person may be guilty of DUI even if their BAC is below the legal limit of 0.08%, or even if they had no alcohol in their system. This is called being “impaired to the slightest degree. A person convicted of these charges will be exposed to 10s jail along with other harsh penalties.

Under A.R.S. 28 – 1382 a motorist with a BAC of 0.15% or more, and less than 0.20 is considered to be under the Extreme Influence of alcohol. A person found guilty of these charges will be subject to 30 days in jail, in addition to other harsh penalties.
And under A.R.S. 28 – 1382 and a driver with a BAC of 0.20% or greater is will be guilty of Arizona Super Extreme DUI charges. Penalties for this offense will be subject to 45 days in jail in addition to the other harsh penalties.

Second DUI offenses expose a driver to heavier sentencing of 90 to 180 days in jail in addition to other harsh penalties.

Third offense within 7 years will result in Aggravated DUI (Felony), which will expose a person to prison sentencing that ranges from 4 to 8 months in imprisonment.
Convictions in all of these cases will result in adverse Driver’s License actions including suspensions, denials, or revocations; court ordered installation and use of Ignition Interlocking device on vehicle; alcohol or substance abuse screening and counseling; fines, fees, costs; probation; community service; or restitution.


DUI Lawyer Chandler AZ

If you were arrested for any type of impaired driving charges due to drugs or alcohol you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who defends DUI charges. They will discuss your matter and options for defense. If retained they will evaluate your case to determine if any defenses are available to challenge the charges; defend your charges; make sure your rights are protected; and work to get the best possible resolution to your case.

Additional Resources:

Arizona State Legislature – DUI laws and Impaired to the Slightest Degree

Arizona State Legislature – DUI laws – Extreme and Super Extreme DUI Laws

National Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Arizona Department of Public Safety – Driver Impairment

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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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Dring & Keys.JPGThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently conducted an evaluation of the Maricopa County DUI Court program. The purpose was to review the effectiveness of the program aimed at reducing <a href="The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently conducted an evaluation of the Maricopa County DUI Court program. The purpose was to review the effectiveness of the program aimed at reducing Aggravated DUI (Felony) and repeat impaired driving offenses.

The study concluded that Maricopa County’s program was effective in reducing recidivism and had successfully helped reduce repeat offenses. It also concluded that Maricopa County’s program was more effective than other County DUI Probation Programs. DUI Court Program DUI Court is a specialty court designed to improve public safety and reduce repeat and future felony DUI offenses, by promoting changes in destructive and illegal behaviors. This is accomplished through team efforts of the prosecution, judge, probational officers, criminal defense attorney, and the drug/alcohol treatment professional, and the probation department. As part of sentencing, the court includes substance abuse screening and treatment as well as probation. This treatment is a primary component of the program.

Those eligible to participate in the program must demonstrate a voluntary willingness to stop drinking or stop substance abuse behaviors in an effort to rehabilitate them. Not everyone will qualify for the program which usually involves a reduction of other harsh sentencing including jail and prison terms.

Requirements of the DUI Court Program

Participants are required to sign a contract with the court that outlines the details their obligations. These may include the following:

• Abstinence from drugs and alcohol;
• Substance abuse screening, counseling or treatment with a qualified treatment program;
• AA meetings;
• Monitoring, supervision and reporting of defendant to their probation officer;
• Attendance to DUI Victim Impact meetings;
• Random drug and alcohol testing;
• Attend court hearings and meet with the presiding judge to discuss progress and issues of concern.

A variety of incentives are used by the court to encourage successful completion of the programs. These may include deferred or reduced jail or prison time; public recognition; set aside of criminal charges; or reduced penalties.

Penalties for Non-completion of the program

The participating defendant is held accountable for completing or not completing the program. A person may be exposed to the following penalties or sanctions for non-compliance, or breach of contract in the program:

• Additional jail or prison terms;
• Community service;
• Curfews;
• Electronic monitoring;
• Probation violation hearings and consequences;
• Abolishment from the program;
• Revocation of probation;
• Reinstatement of original sentencing
Successful completion of the program

In order to graduate from the program sucessfully a participate must do the following:

• Remain sober or abstained from drugs for six months; • Attend school or be employed;
• Comply with all court orders;
• Attended all treatments and counseling and provide proof of completion;
• Fulfilled all other probation or court ordered requirements.

Criminal Defense Attorney for DUI charges Tempe AZ

You should always retain qualified legal representation if you face any type of DUI charges. Your attorney will defend your charges, and make sure your rights are protected. They will also work to help you to get qualified for a treatment program, that may reduce or mitigate sentencing, if the case can not be dismissed.”>Aggravated DUI (Felony) and repeat impaired driving offenses.

The conclusions were that the program was effective in reducing recidivism and had successfully helped reduce repeat offenses. It also concluded that Maricopa County’s program was more effective than other County DUI Probation Programs.

DUI Court Program

DUI Court is a speciality court , similar to drug court. It is designed to improve public safety and reduce repeat and future felony DUI offenses, by promoting changes in destructive and illegal behaviors. This is accomplished through team efforts of the prosection, judge, probational officers, criminal defense attorney, and the drug/alcohol treatment professional, and the probation department.

As part of sentencing, the court includes substance abuse screening and treatment as well as probation. This treatment is a primary component of the program. Those eligible to participate in the program must demonstrate a voluntary willingness to stop drinking or stop substance abuse behaviors in an effort to rehabilitate them. Not everyone will qualify for the program which usually involves a reduction of other harsh sentencing including jail and prison terms.


Requirements of the DUI Court Program

Participants are required to sign a contract with the court that outlines the details their obligations. These may include the following:
• Abstinence from drugs and alcohol;
• Substance abuse screening, counseling or treatment with a qualified treatment program;
• AA meetings;
• Monitoring, supervision and reporting of defendant to their probation officer;
• Attendance to DUI Victim Impact meetings;
• Random drug and alcohol testing;
• Attend court hearings and meet with the presiding judge to discuss progress and issues of concern.
A variety of incentives are used by the court to encourage successful completion of the programs. These may include deferred or reduced jail or prison time; public recognition; set aside of criminal charges; or reduced penalties.


Penalties or sanctions for non-completion of the program

The participating defendant is held accountable for completing or not completing the program. A person may be exposed to the following penalties for non-compliance, or breach of contract in the program:

• Additional jail or prison terms;
• Community service;
• Curfews;
• Electronic monitoring;
• Probation violation hearings and consequences;
• Abolishment from the program;
• Revocation of probation;
• Reinstatement of original sentencing
.

Successful completion of the program

In order to graduate from the program with successful completion, the person must to the following:

• Remained sober or abstained from drugs for six months;
• Attend school or be employed;
• Complied with all court orders;
• Attended all treatments and counseling and provide proof of completion;
• Fulfilled all other probation or court ordered requirement.


Criminal Defense Attorney for DUI charges Tempe AZ

You should always retain qualified legal representation if you face any type of DUI charges. Your attorney will defend your charges, and make sure your rights are protected. They will also work to help you to get qualified for a treatment program, that may reduce or mitigate sentencing, if the case can not be dismissed.

Additional Rescouces:

• National Highway Safety Administration – Evaluation of DUI Court Conclusions

Maricopa County – DUI Specialty Court Program

Arizona State Legilslture – Revised Statutes for Felony DUI
Arizona MADD website – Victim Panel

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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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