Recently in DUI Laws Category

December 16, 2013

"DUI arrests for "probable cause" doesn't mandate that the police officer show a driver was actually under the influence, only that it is probable that he was".

1066864_police_cruiser.jpg A police officer need only have a reasonable suspicion that you have violated a traffic law (like the speed limit) or engaged in criminal activity to stop you. "Reasonable suspicion" means that there is a "particularized and objective basis" for believing somebody had violated the law. Once you are stopped, there must be probable cause to arrest you.

In a recent case, the Arizona Court of Appeals considered whether there was probable cause where the defendant was convicted of four counts of aggravated driving under the influence (aggravated DUI). The defendant had been stopped in his vehicle after a police officer visually estimated he was going fifteen miles over the speed limit. According to the police offer, he'd been trained to accurately estimate vehicle speed within five miles per hour.

Once the officer stopped the defendant, he saw the defendant had watery bloodshot eyes, spoke with slurred speech, and smelled like alcohol. The defendant couldn't find his driver's license and gave the officer his social security number. It turned out that he provided his wife's social security number. When the officer learned this, he asked the defendant for his wife's social security number. This time, the defendant gave him his own number. The officer administered a test for alcohol impairment. When the defendant refused a breathalyzer test, he was arrested.

Continue reading "DUI Arrest without Breath, Blood, or Chemical Testing" »

November 28, 2013

How to avoid additional charges, and make sure your DUI stop does not turn deadly
police-car-126271-m.jpg

Recently a Mesa AZ police officer approached a vehicle and asked the driver if he had any weapons. The driver responded, affirmatively that he did in fact, have weapons in the vehicle. At that point he reached to the other side of the car and pulled a gun out of a holster from inside the vehicle. The officer apparently felt threatened, and reacted by drawing out his own sidearm. The police officer gave verbal commands for the driver to drop his weapon. The driver immediately dropped his weapon. The driver agreed to take a field sobriety test, which evidently did not go well for driver, since he was then taken to a command center to be booked for a DUI.

What went wrong that made this DUI stop potentially deadly?

Let's take a closer look at reported events; application of the law; and tips on how to avoid criminal charges that are unrelated to driving impairment. First, there is no legal duty to voluntarily tell an officer you are carrying a gun if you are pulled over while driving in Arizona. However, you should respond affirmatively to an officer who asks. You should never pull a firearm out or at the officer or cause those to feel threatened in anyway. The driver was fortunate that the officer responded apparently with levelheadedness.

Although most attorneys discourage suspects from volunteering any information to the officer in a stop, there are others who feel there are safety benefits for the driver to volunteer to an officer that they are carrying a weapon so long as they are prohibited possessor and it is a prohibited weapon. This will avoid the police officer being taken by surprise, it in the event a search is conducted of your vehicle. Some feel too, that volunteering this information will alert a law enforcement officer that you are not doing anything wrong.

With every widely observed holiday, you're likely you will see heightened police presence, enforcement and DUI Sobriety Checkpoints. DUI Roadblocks are set up with the intent to seek drivers for signs of intoxication or impairment, and make DUI arrests. The goal is to prevent motorists from driving impaired under the influenced of alcohol or drugs. DUI checkpoints can be considered "double edged sword" of sorts. Everyone wants impaired drivers off of the road. But if you've ever found yourself in a line-up waiting your turn through the checkpoint, you know it's no fun. Whether you are driving impaired or not, it's completely normal to feel a little nervous or anxious.

Most people sort of look around to make sure there is nothing in their vehicle that would give rise to the suspicion that they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Arizona, you should know that when the officer stops you at a DUI checkpoint, arrests can be made for violations of other crimes too, not just impaired driving.

In absence of a formal DUI safety checkpoint, a police officer needs a "reasonable suspicion" that a violation of the law or crime has occurred or is in progress to stop a driver and conduct a DUI investigation. However, DUI checkpoints bypass this usual step. Not all states have laws authorizing use of DUI checkpoints, but in Arizona their use is becoming more prevalent.

Always, (one more time) "always", keep both hands on the wheel while you are talking to the officer. The exception to this, is if he instructs you to show him your license which requires you to take your hands on the wheel; or otherwise. Talk to the officer as calmly as possible, and when you must take your hands off the wheel to reach for your driver's license and registration, do so calmly as well.

Like the situation in Mesa described above, an officer who sees you reach into an area of the car he can't see may think that you are about to shoot. You do not have to reach for anything to extend a verbal affirmative or negative response.

If an officer who pulls you over for suspected DUI asks for your driver's license, you need to show your driver's license to him. Otherwise you may give the officer probable cause to conduct a further search and seizure. If the officer asks to search your car, you should say that you do not consent to a search. However, if the officer searches anyway, you must cooperate and you cannot put up any sort of resistance.

Field Sobriety Tests are not mandatory in Arizona. They are simply tools for Police to conduct roadside DUI screening and due to their unreliability may result in false conclusions. You can politely and lawfully refuse to participate in a field sobriety test. You should let the officer know that your reason for refusal is that you understand it is not mandatory by law, and it is your understanding that field sobriety tests are often unreliable and could give false impressions that a person is impaired when in fact they are not. You should be aware that refusing to submit to a field sobriety test may be cause for arrest or further detainment. You can and should refuse to answer questions based on your rights under the Constitution and request to speak with an attorney.

Arizona is an implied consent state. What does this mean to drivers? It means that there are civil penalties through the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) for refusal. If a driver refuses to take a breath or blood test to determine your BAC, your license may be revoked or suspended, whether they are were driving impaired or not; or convicted of the charges or not. All a refusal of a DUI breath or blood test costs you is a suspension of your driver's license for one year. But the choice of course is ultimately yours.

Continue reading "Arizona DUI Stops: Weapons in Your Vehicle " »

November 4, 2013

Appeals Court overturns conviction holding that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant knew or should have known of the suspension.

mountain-road-1424189-m-1.jpgThere are several ways to get an aggravated DUI conviction in Arizona. Among the ways is driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs, medication, or illegal substances while having a suspended, cancelled, revoked, refused or restricted license. This is a class 4 felony.

However, you can also be charged with driving on a suspended license, which is a class 1 misdemeanor. Although the latter may not seem particularly important because it is a misdemeanor, it does give you a criminal record and can impact you in the future.

In a recent case, the defendant was charged with aggravated DUI while driving on a suspended license. The defendant did not appear for his trial and was tried without being present.

Continue reading "Aggravated DUI for Driving on Suspended License Defenses " »

July 17, 2013

Arizona has the toughest Sheriff in the Country, and now the toughest Marijuana DUI laws.

439288_roach.jpgDriving under the influence of marijuana is illegal in Arizona under Arizona Revised Statutes (Section 28-1381(A)).

In Arizona, motorists are prohibited not only from driving while impaired by the effects of marijuana, but also "while there is any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person's body." Recent case law exists that allows for prosecution under this law in Arizona, even if the motorist was not driving impaired. That is, if the only substance found in their bodily system was residual trace compounds that were present due to Marijuana smoked or ingested weeks prior to the DUI stop, they may still be prosecuted.

Frequent Marijuana users, especially Medical Marijuana users, have been known to tolerate anywhere from 2 to 5 times of what would be considered the legal limit of Marijuana in some of the states that have legalized it in some fashion, and still drive without impaired function in driving skills.

We provided a post post on this ruling several months ago. This is refresher and update on the topic since the ruling could have broad impacts throughout the country. A US Supreme Court ruling that would hold this decision in favor of prosecuting the non-impaired motorist, could potentially have serious consequences not only for Arizona residents, but also for people from out of state who are driving to or through Arizona and used marijuana a month before their trip. We believe that the defendant is appealing the case to the Supreme Court, but there is no word on whether the court has decided to hear this case as of yet.

A first time marijuana DUI offense can be punished by up to six months in jail, as well as with a mandatory substance abuse program and the requirement that you install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. If convicted of only driving under the influence of marijuana (as opposed to marijuana and alcohol), your driver's license will also be revoked for a year.

The active ingredient in marijuana is the drug THC. Unlike blood alcohol tests, a blood test for marijuana cannot determine how intoxicated or impaired you might be from the THC. THC is rapidly metabolized in the blood stream and turns into about eighty different molecules called metabolites. These metabolites are stored in the user's body fat. Some of them have a half life of twenty hours, but others can take 10-13 days to be eliminated from the body. When a blood test is taken, certain non-active metabolites may show up on the test. Anecdotally, some heavy marijuana smokers have reported positive test results well over a month after stopping smoking.

Earlier this year in the case Arizona v. Shilgevorkyan, an Arizona appellate court ruled that any motorist with any metabolite or marijuana in their bloodstream could be convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana. The defendant had been stopped for speeding and unsafe lane changes and agreed to take a blood test. One metabolite, Carboxy-THC was found in his bloodstream.

The defendant argued that it was not "the" metabolite referred to in the statute. His attorney put forward an expert who testified that this metabolite was not psychoactive and could take 4 weeks to leave the body. The superior court agreed with him, but the State appealed. The appellate court looked at the legislative intent of the statute and determined that the statute intended to outlaw any of the metabolites into which THC metabolizes.

The medical marijuana bill barely passed in Arizona--it was defeated in 12 out of 15 counties and as the case described above shows, Arizona continues to penalize drug use very harshly even if it happened in the past.

Continue reading "Arizona Marijuana DUI Laws " »

March 13, 2013

Arizona Court of Appeals rules non-impairing Marijuana ingredients qualify for DUI prosecution.

A recent Marijuana DUI dismissal was overturned in favor of the state and moved for continued prosecution in the Arizona Court of Appeals.

The main legal issue was whether or not a motorist could be prosecuted for Marijuana DUI when the only evidence revealed on a blood test was an inactive chemical compound in Marijuana. In this case, the drug compound was one that does not cause impairment, "Carboxy-THC". This is a residual compound known to stay in a person's blood stream for 3 to 4 weeks after Marijuana use.

The inactive or non-impairing compound was examined in contrast to the known active ingredient THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol. THC has been successfully argued in courts as one that causes driving impairment.

The lower court dismissed the case before appeal, on the basis that the motorist was not driving impaired. But the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that both the active compound and the inactive compound fall within Arizona DUI Law A.R.S. 28-1381, so the motorist could still be subject to prosecution.

The impact of this ruling is that the prosecution does not need to prove that the driver was impaired. In order to prosecute the motorist for DUI with Marijuana, as long as at least one of the two compounds can be identified in the DUI blood test evidence. Another adverse impact is that a person may have used the Marijuana legally in another state, days or weeks prior to driving in Arizona, and still be arrested for Marijuana DUI.

The Arizona Court of Appeals indicated that this ruling shall not be used to set precedent. However, this presents challenges in consistency for the courts since other cases similar to this are pending prosecution.


Arizona Drug DUI Law

Currently under Arizona law A.R.S. 28-1381 a person may be guilty of DUI under the following circumstances:

(1) While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs while they are impaired to the slightest degree; or

(2) If the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more, within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol was consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle; or

(3) While there is any drug defined in section A.R.S.13-3401 or its metabolite in the person's body.

A person driving under the influence of Marijuana could be arrested under items (1) or (3) depending on the circumstances of the Marijuana DUI. It is not a defense if the person is a qualified Medical Marijuana user.


Criminal Defense Attorney for Drug DUI charges Mesa, AZ

If you face any type of drug DUI charges in Arizona, you should always consult a qualified criminal attorney to discuss your case. Arizona has some of the most strict laws, and severe penalties for DUI conviction in the state. Sentencing for drug DUI charges are the same or similar to those of drunk driving. They include jail terms, suspension of driver's license, probation, substance abuse screening and counseling; fines, fees, and assessments. Other penalties may apply. If retained an experienced criminal lawyer will protect your rights, and defend your charges. There may be defenses that you are not aware of that could lead to a dismissal of charges, or otherwise favorable outcome in your case.


Additional Resources:

Arizona Drug DUI Laws

Arizona Court of Appeals Division 1

Arizona Drugs Defined Under Criminal Code

Mesa AZ Municipal Court

Mesa AZ Police Department


Continue reading "Marijuana DUI: The Impact of Montgomery V. Harris in Arizona " »

January 28, 2013

If you plan to move or travel to Arizona; you should become familiar with Arizona's strict prescription drug DUI laws.

A person may be arrested in Arizona for a DUI, if they are not driving drunk, and even if they have had no alcohol at all. Last year Drug impairments accounted for 15% of all DUI arrests in Arizona. Police attribute many of these to Prescription DUI violations. If a motorist is driving impaired due to Prescription-only medications solely or in combination with alcohol, they may be exposed to a DUI Arrest. Convictions for drug related driving impairments are generally as severe as those for alcohol related impaired driving charges.


Arizona Prescription Drug DUI Laws

A.R.S. 28-1381 - In Arizona it is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle, if the person is "impaired to the slightest degree" while:

• Under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree;
• If the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle;
• Due to any drug defined under A.R.S. 13-3401 or its metabolite in a person's bodily systems.


Prescription Drug DUI Penalties

A person found guilty of driving impaired due to prescription drugs will be convicted of a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Penalties first offense Drug DUI convictions include 10 days in jail; substance abuse education and screening; fines, fees, costs of $1250.00; 90 day driver's license suspension; and probation; and Ignition Interlock Device (IID) one year.

A second violation, within 7 years is a Class 1Misdemeanor. Penalties include 90 days jail; $3,000.00 fines, fees, costs; license revocation for one year; probation; Ignition Interlock Device (IID); and probation.

A third DUI violation of any kind within 7 years, with two prior DUI convictions elevates a DUI to a Class 4 Felony, or Aggravated DUI to a Class 4 Felony. Penalties call for 4 months in prison for the third DUI; and 8 months for subsequent impaired driving convictions; fines, fees, costs of at least $4,000.00; driver's license revocation for 3 years; ignition interlock device (IID) 2 years; probation or community service; and a felon criminal record.

These penalties may vary slightly, and additional penalties may apply.

Prescription Drugs Defined

A.R.S. 13-3401 (28) includes the definition of "Prescription only drug" and means;

• Any toxic or potentially harmful drug as recognized in the general medical community; and
• Is considered safe to use only under the supervision of a licensed and qualified medical practitioner;
• Limited or approved for use as new drug under Federal Rules and medical supervision; of a medical practitioner.
• Potentially harmful drugs with labeling that includes proper directions for use;
• Drugs required by the Federal Rules to include labeling with the test "Federal law prohibits dispensing without prescription" or "Rx only".


Criminal Attorney for Prescription Drug DUI defense Gilbert AZ

Arizona has some of the toughest laws and penalties for conviction in the county. If you are arrested for any type of impaired driving in Arizona due to alcohol or drugs, your future and freedom are in jeopardy. But you have the right to defend their charges, and by law are innocent until proven guilty. You should consult a criminal defense attorney, regarding your matter before deciding to plead "guilty". If retained, a qualified legal advocate will protect your rights and defend your charges. There may be defenses you are not aware of that could lead to a case dismissal, reduction of charges, or mitigation in sentencing.


Additional Resources:


Arizona Prescription Drug Definition

Arizona DUI Laws

Gilbert AZ Police DUI Enforcement Units

Criminal Court Gilbert AZ

Arizona MADD.org

Continue reading "Prescription Drug DUI charges " »

December 28, 2012

"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

Continue reading " DUI Targeted Patrols and Command Centers Replace Checkpoints " »

December 18, 2012

Combined Resources Creates Larger Valley-wide DUI Task Force December 2012


This year Phoenix AZ, East Valley, and West Valley are combining DUI Task Force Efforts to create one large task force, for better efficiency and safety.

The Special DUI Task Force will be in place for the rest of month of December 2012. A central Command Post will be set up at Devonshire Community Center. It is located at the intersections of E. Devonshire Ave and 28th Street, in Phoenix AZ. Police will also set up DUI Field Vans, with Preliminary Breath Test Units, throughout the valley.


DUI Charges

DUI charges represented the largest number of crimes in Arizona in 2011. A total of 35,505 arrests were made or 14% of all crimes committed in Arizona last year. In an effort to decrease incidents of drunk driving or Drug DUI, Maricopa County police have actively sought out DUI motorists with DUI Sobriety Checkpoints set throughout 2012. This year, they increased their presence and safety checkpoints around holidays, events, and times where high volumes of traffic were expected.

DUI Laws

Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws and penalties in the country. A first-time DUI is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Under A.R.S. 28-2831 it is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while:

• Driving "impaired to the slightest degree" due to any alcohol or drugs;

• If the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle.

In Arizona the legal limit for alcohol or Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08%. However, a person may be guilty of DUI even if their BAC was below 0.08%, if due to alcohol or drugs they were driving "impaired to the slightest degree".

Before making an arrest, the police will conduct an investigation to determine if they have probable cause for a DUI arrest. This may include Field testing, breath testing, and or blood testing.

DUI Penalties

First-time non-extreme DUI conviction will result in the following penalties:

• 10 jail sentence;
• Suspension of driver's license for 90 days;
• Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on vehicle following reinstatement of driving privileges;
• Fines, fees, costs and assessments of at least $1,200.00;
• Probation;
• Alcohol/drug abuse education and counseling which will reduce jail time to 24 hours if successfully completed;

The higher the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level found in a person's system, the higher the penalties.

Laws and sentencing are more severe for repeat offenses. If a person is found guilty of a third DUI within 7 years, even if the prior DUI charges occurred in another state, they will be convicted of an Aggravated DUI which is a Class 4 Felony. Penalties for Felony DUI call for:

• 4 months in prison;
• Fines, fees, and assessments of S4,000.00;
• Driving privileges revoked for 3 years;
• 24 months of IID after reinstatement of license;
• Parole;
• Drug and Alcohol counseling and treatment;
• Community Service
• Felony criminal record


Criminal Defense Attorney for DUI Charges in Phoenix AZ

If you face DUI charges of any kind you should always consult a DUI Attorney before pleading guilty or appearing in court. Even though you were arrested, you have the right to retain an attorney and defend your charges. Your legal advocate will protect your rights; provide a defense; and work to resolve your matter as favorably as possible.

Additional Resources:

Arizona DUI Laws

Arizona Department of Public Services (DPS) - 2011 Crime Statistics

Phoenix Police Department

City of Phoenix - Municipal Court

Continue reading "Super DUI Task Force Created: East & West Valley Join Phoenix for Greater DUI Enforcement" »

December 11, 2012

Super Extreme and Drug DUI laws and penalties apply to all motorists driving in Arizona

A criminal superior court judge in Northern Arizona was arrested on Super Extreme DUI charges, Sunday morning, December 9, 2012. He was stopped by police after swerving into oncoming traffic.

It was reported in the media that his Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level exceeded the Super Extreme limit which is 0.20%. The suspect allegedly admitted to being under the influence of prescription drugs. The Judge was not at his bench on Monday, and the court reported that was allegedly assigned to non-judicial duties due to a personal matter.

In Arizona it is illegal to drive "Impaired to the Slightest Degree" due to alcohol or drugs. Prescription drugs, especially for pain, often have adverse impacts on driving. When drugs and alcohol are combined, they can prove to be particularly impairing on a motorist's ability to drive.

A mistake in judgment can easily result in a criminal offense. A DUI conviction can result in harsh criminal penalties including jail, driver's license suspension, and other civil penalties, as well as other consequences. If you will be driving in Arizona, you should understand the side effects of any drugs you take; and be familiar with Arizona DUI laws and consequences of a conviction.

Arizona Drug DUI Laws

A.R.S. 28-1381. (A). Under Arizona law it is illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle, "impaired to the slightest degree", while under the influence of:

• Alcohol;
• Drug, or toxic substance (including over-the-counter, prescription, other legal or illegal drugs; or
• Any combination of liquor, and drugs

First offense drug DUI charges are treated are very similar to those of an alcohol DUI with a BAC of 0.08%, and categorized as a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Penalties for conviction include:

• 10 days jail;
• Fines, fees, costs of $1,200.00
• Installation of Court ordered Ignition Interlock Device on vehicle for at least 6 months;
• Drug/Substance abuse screening, counseling or treatment which if completed, will reduce jail term;
• Suspension of Driver's License for 90 days;
• Probation and/or
• Community Service



Super Extreme DUI laws in Arizona


A.R.S. 28-1381. (A)(2)(B). A motorist driving with an Alcohol BAC of 0.20 or more will be found guilty of Super Extreme DUI. A super Extreme DUI is a Class 1 Misdemeanor;

If a person is found to be driving with a BAC of 0.20 they will also be cited with "Impaired to the Slightest Degree"; 0.08% BAC DUI; 015% or more Extreme DUI and 0.20% Super Extreme DUI for up to 4 citations in one stop.

Penalties for a first offense Super Extreme DUI include

• 45 days in jail;
• Fines, fees, costs of $2,500.00
• Drug/Substance abuse screening, counseling or treatment which if completed, will reduce jail term;
• Installation of Court ordered Ignition Interlock Device on vehicle for at least 18 months;
• Suspension of Driver's License for at least 90 days;
• Probation and/or
• Community Service



Criminal Defense Attorney for Super Extreme DUI charges Gilbert AZ

Penalties for DUI if convicted will usually result in other life altering consequences such as termination or suspension of job. It is important to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney before going to court to discuss your matter, and options for defense. The penalties for any DUI in Arizona are some of the toughest in the country. You should never plead "Guilty" without being represented by an effective criminal defense lawyer. There may be defenses you are not aware of, that can lead to a dismissal, reduction or charges, or a reduction of harsh penalties. They will guide you through all phases of the criminal justice process; protect your rights; defend your charges; and work to get the most favorable resolution to your case.


Additional Resources:

Drug DUI and Super Extreme DUI laws

Gilbert AZ Police Department

Alcohol/Substance Abuse Counseling and Treatment Providers

Arizona Department of Health Services - Behavior Health Resource Links


Continue reading "Felony DUI Judge arrested for Super Extreme DUI " »

November 5, 2012

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


Continue reading "AGOHS Announces Holiday DUI Task Force Conference" »

August 29, 2012

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.


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• National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - Driving Safety

National Impaired Driving Enforcement Crackdown

Arizoan Legislature - Arizona Revised Statutes

Continue reading "National Impaired Driving Enforcement Crackdown in Effect" »

July 10, 2012

Extreme DUI Laws Scottsdale AZ

The Extreme DUI Blood Alcohol Limit (BAC) for alcohol is 0.15% but below 0.20%. If you are charged with a DUI 0.15% or greater, police will customarily charge you with three separate DUI offenses in the same stop. They will include the two or three BAC offense ranges of less than the one they were charged with:

• DUI "Impaired to the slightest degree"; A.R.S. §28-1381(A)(1)
• DUI above .08%; A.R.S. §28-1381 (A)(2)
• Extreme DUI above .15% A.R.S. §28-1382 (A) (1)
• Super Extreme DUI .20% A.R.S. §28-1382 (A) (2)

For example, if a motorist is charged with Super Extreme DUI, they will also be charged with 1) "impaired to the slightest degree", 2) DUI .08%; 3) Extreme DUI .15% and 4)Super Extreme DUI .20%. As a result, a motorist in this case would be charged with 4 DUI offenses.

Penalties Extreme DUI Convictions

If no other "aggravating factors" surround the incident, an Extreme DUI charge is a Class 1 Misdemeanor which is the most serious of Misdemeanors.
Generally, the higher the BAC, the more severe the penalties if convicted. Sentencing may include: 30 to 45 days in jail; $2500.00 fines; 1 year to 18 months ignition interlock device on vehicle; 90 days driver's license suspension; probation; fines; fees; costs and alcohol screening and counseling for a first time extreme DUI convictions. More penalties may apply.

Attorney for DUI Defense Scottsdale AZ

Any DUI arrest is serious. You should always consult a qualified criminal defense attorney before going to court, or pleading guilty. You have the right to defend your charges. There may be defenses that you are not aware of that could lead to a dismissal or reduction in charges or sentencing. If you wish to defend your charges, you should invoke that right, by retaining legal representation on your behalf. If retained, your attorney will make you're your rights are protected; defend your charges; and work to obtain the best possible outcome and resolution in your matter.

Continue reading "Extreme DUI Laws: Drunk Driving with Extreme BAC result in three DUI offenses in one stop " »

March 23, 2012


Extreme DUI Charges in Arizona

The 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.

Consequences for Extreme DUI Convictions

Penalties for DUI convictions will be more severe for higher the BAC limits 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 retain an experienced criminal defense attorney, before pleading guilty or going to court. You should in the least obtain a consultation to discuss your matter, the charges, and consequences. 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 " Arizona Extreme DUI charges: Find out why the police will charge you with three DUI offenses if your BAC exceeds the Extreme DUI limit. " »

November 16, 2011

James Novak, an experienced Tempe Arizona DUI and criminal defense lawyer explains important reasons why you need an attorney to fight for your criminal defense.


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November 1, 2010

ARIZONA DUI ATTORNEY

The United States Supreme Court has held that an officer must have a reasonable suspicion of a criminal or traffic offense to stop a vehicle. If it is determined that the police did not have a justified legal reasonable suspicion, then your Arizona DUI lawyer has a compelling argument to press for dismissal of your Arizona DUI charges.

The Law Office of James Novak is devoted to handling 100% DUI, Drug & criminal cases in Gilbert, Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Scottsdale, AZ, and other cities surrounding areas valley-wide in Maricopa County Arizona.

Arizona DUI Charges
This is just one of many facets of an Arizona DUI charge to examine and challenge in your defense. But you will not get that benefit without a good Arizona DUI criminal defense or DUI lawyer. DUI Charges in Arizona are serious, and carry some of the harshest penalties in the country. If you were charged or arrested for DUI in Arizona you will need an experienced Arizona DUI Attorney to defend your AZ DUI charges. Your Arizona DUI lawyer will evaluate the many factors in your defense. Below are just a few of many common defenses that an experienced criminal defense or DUI Attorney in Arizona may use to defend your case:

Top DUI Defenses
ILLEGAL STOP OF PERSON OR VEHICLE - Did the police legally stop you?
The United States Supreme Court has held that an officer must have a reasonable suspicion of a criminal or traffic offense to stop a vehicle. If the officer did not have a reasonable suspicion, then the remedy may call for a dismissal of the DUI charges. An officer cannot legally stop a driver unless they can substantiate a specific and just cause to believe there has been a traffic infraction or other violation of law. Weaving within one's own traffic lane for a short distance or making a wide turn should not justify a hunch that the driver is driving intoxicated. These types of actions are seen commonly in unimpaired drivers.

CHANGING LANES WITHOUT A SIGNAL AS A BASIS FOR A STOP - Were you stopped because you did not use your turn signal?
You should always use your turn signal at all times. However, an argument could be made that the stop was illegal because no other traffic existed, involved a remote area, or no other traffic was affected by your turn without using a turn signal. The police and prosecution will argue that you are required to signal if there is other traffic nearby. Most DUI arrests occur late at night and very often the police car is the only vehicle even within sight distance of the driver. The Arizona Law reads as follows: A.R.S. 28-754. Turning movements and required signals: "A person shall not so turn any vehicle without giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided by this article in the event any other traffic may be affected by the movement."

THE OFFICER DID NOT HAVE PROBABLE CAUSE TO MAKE THE ARREST-
Was there probable cause to arrest you?

The burden on the Arizona police is greater to arrest you than it is to make the initial stop. The standard for an officer to stop a vehicle, the officer must have merely a "reasonable suspicion" of DUI. But to make an arrest, the level rises to a higher standard, which is that "probable cause" to arrest. If a motion to dismiss for lack of probable cause to arrest is made, the court then considers all facts gathered by the officer before the arrest. What occurred after the arrest: the breath or blood test then is not relevant. Based on the facts, the case may be dismissed.
Arizona DUI Attorney

Showing up to court unrepresented by a good criminal or DUI legal representation is putting your putting your hope in the hands of the person who wants to convict you, the prosecutor. That's their job. Many of the best Arizona DUI Attorneys agree that if you face Arizona DUI charges, you will need to retain an Arizona DUI lawyer to defend your case. This is not an and this is not an offense that you want to have processed through the Arizona Criminal Justice or Arizona Courts without the defense of an experienced DUI attorney. A good DUI lawyer in Arizona will fight to make sure your constitutional rights are protected, examine the evidence, build the most solid and effective defense possible, attempt to get your DUI charges dismissed, reduced or otherwise the best outcome in your case.

Continue reading " ARIZONA DUI LAWS | TOP DUI DEFENSES" »