May 2012 Archives

May 29, 2012

DUI check points were staged on the road back from the Salt River, in Mesa AZ where Police made 20 DUI - DWI arrests on Memorial Day 2012. The Salt River is popular for its water tubing, fishing, and other outdoor recreation. Power Road renders heavy traffic in the summer months as people go to and from the Salt River. This road was also targeted due to the number of auto collisions resulting from DUI, impaired driving and other traffic violations over the prior years.

Police authorities held to a "zero - tolerance" policy. Some persons allegedly arrested, were not driving drunk due to alcohol consumption. Rather, they were detained or taken in custody, because police felt they were driving "impaired to the slightest degree" due to drugs or a combination of drugs and liquor.

Other DUI checkpoints were set up throughout the valley, 65 agencies, and 1300 officers participated in the Task Force. Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety (AGOHS) reported 434 total arrests, but expected the number to rise. An estimated 29% of those were considered to be Extreme DUI drivers, which means the driver tested positive for alcohol consumption with a Blood Alcohol Content Level (BAC) of 0.15 or greater. This year impaired driving arrests reportedly declined 31% from 2011.

The AGOHS has reported in the past that the numbers of DUI arrests continue to decline due to increased funding, police presences, educational programs, and tough Arizona DUI laws and penalties in place.

Arizona DUI Laws Overview:

The legal limit in Arizona is 0.08% or greater (A.R.S. §28.1381.A. 2). A driver can also be charged for drug DUI if they are found to be under the influence of drugs, whether legal or illegal, and driving "impaired to the slightest degree" (A.R.S. §28.1381.A). Under Arizona Law a driver with a BAC level that equals or exceeds 0.15% or greater but under .020% is considered to be under tfor alcohol is considered to be under the Super Extreme Influhe Extreme Influence (A.R.S. §28.1382 ). And a driver who tests positive with a BAC of .020% or greater is considered to be under the Super Extreme Influence Arizona Law (A.R.S. §28.1382).

DUI - DWI Consequences Mesa AZ

If you are charged with DUI in Arizona, it can result in serious consequences. Arizona requires mandatory jail time for even first time DUI offenses; suspension or revocation of driving privileges; ignition interlock device after driving privileges are restored; probation; education, counseling or treatment programs for drugs or alcohol; fines, fees or community service. It is important that you consult a criminal defense attorney to discuss your matter, and options for defense. If retained they will guide you through the criminal justice process, defend your charges, and attempt to get the best outcome in your case. In some situations, the DUI can be dismissed, mitigated charges, or sentencing.

Continue reading "DUI task force makes 20 arrests in 5 hours on Power Road in Mesa, AZ.. " »

May 16, 2012

DUI 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 who ar formally trained and accredited to administer the tests, conduct them on the roadside following a DUI stop. The police must have the consent of the driver in order to administer them. These tests are not mandatory under current Arizona state law.

Standard Field Sobriety Test

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)s. They are:

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 Tempe 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 Criminal Defense Attorneys Advise Against Them in Tempe AZ

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 were charged with DUI, and either participated in Roadside DUI testing or refused to participate in them, you should consult a DUI attorney to discuss your case. If retained they will defend your charges, and protect your rights through the criminal justice process. There may be defenses you are not aware of that could lead to a dismissal of charges; suppression of evidence; or reduction of penalties.

Continue reading "DUI Field Sobriety Tests (FST): Why you should refuse to take them. " »

May 7, 2012

Extreme DUI Charges Tempe AZ

Extreme DUI limit for alcohol is 0.15% but below 0.20%. If you are charged with a DUI 0.15% but below 0.20% the police will customarily charge you with three Arizona DUI offenses in the same incident:

1) DUI "Impaired to the slightest degree";
2) DUI above 08%;
3) Extreme DUI above .15%

In absence of "aggravating factors" described under A.R.S. §28-1383 an Extreme DUI charge is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

Extreme DUI Laws in Arizona:

Under Arizona Law A.R.S. §28-1383 a person may be guilty of an Extreme DUI if they are driving under the influence of drug or alcohol in Arizona; and are driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while:

• Under the influence of intoxicating liquor, drug, vapor releasing toxic substance; any combination of liquor, controlled substances or any drugs; vapor releasing substances if the person is "impaired to the slightest degree"; and/or

• Have a Blood Alcohol Content Level (BAC) of .15% (but not more than .20%) or more up to two hours after driving; or being in actual physical control of a vehicle; and the BAC of .08%n level is from consuming alcohol, either before or while driving; or being in actual physical control of the vehicle;

• Since the BAC level of .08%; and "impaired to the slightest degree" are also within the range of .15% statutory limit, the police may charge a person with the additional two offenses under Extreme DUI for a total of three DUI charges in one stop.

Extreme DUI Defense Attorney

Penalties for DUI convictions will be more severe for higher the BAC results and repeat offenses. A first time offense for Extreme DUI will result 30 days jail; $2500.00 fines; 1 year ignition interlock device; 90 days driver's license suspension; probation; fines; fees; costs and alcohol screening and counseling. More penalties may apply. It is important that you consult and retain an experienced criminal defense attorney, before pleading guilty or going to court. There may be defenses that you are not aware of that can be used to challenge the charges and evidence that can lead to a reduction of charges or sentencing; dismissal; or other favorable outcome in your case.

Continue reading " Extreme DUI charges: Find out why police charge a driver for three DUI offenses for one incident of Extreme DUI limit. " »

May 4, 2012

Drug Possession Laws in Phoenix AZ

In Arizona, a person may be charged with possession of an illegal drug if they are knowingly in possession of Marijuana, an illegal drug, or a dangerous drug, defined under A.R.S. 34 13-3401. The higher the quantity of a drug a person is found to have in their possession, the higher the sentencing and penalties. One of the reasons for this is that law enforcement perceives a large quantity of an illegal drug as a sign that the drugs are in their possession to sell, intended for sale, manufacture, distribution, or transport. All of these drug offenses call for harsh prison sentencing.

Drug Sentencing Guidelines

Under Arizona Drug laws A.R.S. 13-3419: Arizona has separate sentencing ranges for convictions into two categories:

1) The illegal drug possession charges involved a quantity below the "Threshold Amount";
2) Illegal drug possession charges that equal or exceed the "Threshold Amount".

• Below Statutory Threshold Amount -

Drug Possession with a quantity that falls below the statutory Threshold Amount
may be charged as a Class 5 to Class 2 with prison sentencing of .05 to 12.5 years;

• Equal or Exceeding Statutory Threshold Amounts -

Drug Possession convictions involving quantities that equal or exceed the the statutory Threshold Amount may be charged as a Class 5 to Class 2 with prison sentencing .05 to 15 + years.

The Threshold Amount is the amount specified by law under A.R.S.13-3401.36 for a the quantity of a certain drug. The higher the amount over the Threshold, the more severe the Sentencing and penalties. Additional penalties include fines, fees, community service, drug and alcohol counseling or treatment, and other fines deemed necessary by the court.

Sentencing Factors

Other factors besides quantity the court will consider in sentencing if convicted include:

First drug offense verses repeat offense;
• Prior criminal history, if any;
• Purpose of the drug in a suspects possession (personal use verses sales)
• Other charges brought at the same time (violent or dangerous crimes)
• Mitigating or Aggravating factors
• Classification of drug (Marijuana, Narcotic, or Dangerous Drug)

Criminal Defense Lawyer for Drug Possession Phoenix, AZ

If you face drug possession charges in Arizona, you should consult an experienced criminal lawyer regarding your matter. They will protect your rights and defend you through the criminal defense attorney. Drug crimes of any kind, may expose a person to incarceration, and other harsh penalties. There are often defenses that exist that can be used to challenge the evidence including the quantity of a drug a person is accused of possessing. Your attorney will make sure you are treated fairly; protect your rights, and defend your charges. In some cases they can help you avoid prison or jail sentencing; lower the charges; and or get the charges dismissed. Your chances of getting a favorable decision in your case, will increase significantly with retention of a private practice drug defense attorney.

Continue reading "Drug Possession Sentencing: The higher the quantity of an illegal drug found in a person's possession, the harsher the penalties. " »