Recently in DUI Stop Category

November 28, 2013

How to avoid additional charges, and make sure your DUI stop does not turn deadly
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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 " »

April 11, 2010

For a AZ DUI conviction of a an Arizona DUI offense pursuant to A.R.S. § 28-1381 or extreme DUI offense pursuant to A.R.S. § 28-1382 the term of probation is up to five years and for a conviction of an aggravated DUI offense pursuant to A.R.S. § 28-1383, up to 10 years. A.R.S. §13-902(B).

If you are placed on Arizona probation for your AZ DUI as part of your sentence, you are expected to complete all your terms of probation. Doing any of the following may cause you to be in breach of your probation: committing a new crime, failing a drug/alcohol urine test, failing to keep appointments with probation officer, and possessing a firearm. If you are convicted of a felony DUI and violate probation you could be held non-bondable pending your probation violation hearing.

Under Arizona General Crimes
: Unless terminated sooner, the term of probation for a class 2 felony is up to seven years; class 3 felony, up to five years; class 4 felony, up to four years; class 5 or 6 felony, up to three years; class 1 misdemeanor, up to three years; class 2 misdemeanor, up to two years; and class 3 misdemeanor, up to one year.

13-902. Periods of probation; monitoring; fees
A. Unless terminated sooner, probation may continue for the following periods:
1. For a class 2 felony, seven years.
2. For a class 3 felony, five years.
3. For a class 4 felony, four years.
4. For a class 5 or 6 felony, three years.
5. For a class 1 misdemeanor, three years.
6. For a class 2 misdemeanor, two years.
7. For a class 3 misdemeanor, one year.

B. Notwithstanding subsection A of this section, unless terminated sooner, probation may continue for the following periods:
1. For a violation of section 28-1381 or 28-1382, five years.
2. For a violation of section 28-1383, ten years.

28-1381. Driving or actual physical control while under the influence; trial by jury; presumptions; admissible evidence; sentencing; classification
A. It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state under any of the following circumstances:
1. 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.
2. 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 and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle.
3. While there is any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person's body.
4. If the vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle that requires a person to obtain a commercial driver license as defined in section 28-3001 and the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more.

28-1382. Driving or actual physical control while under the extreme influence of intoxicating liquor; trial by jury; sentencing; classification
A. It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state if the person has an alcohol concentration as follows within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle:
1. 0.15 or more but less than 0.20.
2. 0.20 or more.

28-1383. Aggravated driving or actual physical control while under the influence; violation; classification; definition
A. A person is guilty of aggravated driving or actual physical control while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs if the person does any of the following:
1. Commits a violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or this section while the person's driver license or privilege to drive is suspended, canceled, revoked or refused or while a restriction is placed on the person's driver license or privilege to drive as a result of violating section 28-1381 or 28-1382 or under section 28-1385.
2. Within a period of eighty-four months commits a third or subsequent violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or this section or is convicted of a violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or this section and has previously been convicted of any combination of convictions of section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or this section or acts in another jurisdiction that if committed in this state would be a violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or this section.
3. While a person under fifteen years of age is in the vehicle, commits a violation of either:
(a) Section 28-1381.
(b) Section 28-1382.
4. While the person is ordered by the court or required pursuant to section 28-3319 by the department to equip any motor vehicle the person operates with a certified ignition interlock device, does either of the following:
(a) While under arrest refuses to submit to any test chosen by a law enforcement officer pursuant to section 28-1321, subsection A.
(b) Commits a violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or this section.

Continue reading "Arizona Probation - Arizona Aggravated DUI Convictions" »

April 5, 2010

Eleven Things NOT To DO if Stopped for an Arizona DUI:

1. DO NOT get out of your vehicle or unlatch your seat belt until the officer gives you permission or requests that you do so.

2 DO NOT ever touch the police officer! It can be used as a reason to arrest you or charge you with felony flight or felony assault on a police officer.

3. DO NOT resist arrest, and do not refuse to cooperate. Resisting arrest by itself is a reason to arrest you.

4. DO NOT try to "explain" the situation to the police - any statements you make could be taken out of context or twisted around to be used against you. Your Arizona Defense Attorney will present your side of the story throughout the defense, through the proper legal channels.

5. DO NOT complain. Making a scene or threatening to file a complaint only makes the situation escalate and your words can be used against you. Never argue with the police or lose your temper. Remember, you have the right to remain silent - Use it!

6. DO NOT make any statements about leaving from a bar. Do not admit drinking alcohol even if your last drink was hours ago.

7. DO NOT make any statements about smoking marijuana or taking illegal, legal or valid prescription drugs; even if the last time you did was hours, days or weeks ago.

8. DO NOT give your consent for any searches. However, the police may have the legal right to search post arrest or after obtaining a valid warrant.

9. DO NOT do any roadside balance or eye tests. Arizona DUI laws state that you are not required to perform these tests. However, if you do not, you should also know there is a chance you may be immediately arrested on the spot, and your refusal could be used against you at trial. Therefore, this is not a blanket rule and should be decided based on your individual situation. Think carefully about your choice.

10. DO NOT submit to a breath, blood, or urine test until after you have requested to call an attorney. However, do not delay submitting to the request. Any delay could be considered a refusal and cause the police to get a warrant and you would get a revoked drivers' license for one year.

11. DO NOT delay hiring an experienced Arizona DUI defense Attorney. While you do delay, the police and prosecution are building their case against you. You want your AZ DUI Defense Lawyer to begin fighting for you immediately, contacting the prosecution, examining evidence and building your defense.

These "DO NOT" items are general information intended as guides only. They may apply to most, but not all situations. Some of the Top criminal defense attorneys in Arizona have different perspectives or opinions on these items relating to being stopped or arrested for an Arizona DUI. Ultimately the decisions are yours to make based on the circumstances of your own situation.

Continue reading "Stopped For DUI - Eleven Tips from a DUI Lawyer " »

April 4, 2010

Things to DO if You are Stopped for a DUI in Arizona:

1. Do: Pull over immediately and wait for the officer to approach. Do not get out of your car. Stay seated calmly and be sure to keep your seat belt on, until the officer requests otherwise.

2. Do; Remain calm. Think, act and speak carefully. If the officer asks you why if you know why he stopped you, politely and simply say "no". .

3. Do: Provide license, registration, and proof of insurance. Note, from the second the officer approaches your auto, he/she will be evaluating your communications and actions, to look for signs of impairment. Know in advance exactly where your license and registration documents are, so that you do not nervously fumble for them. Remember they are looking for signs of impairment.

4. Do: Be as polite and courteous to the police officer as possible.

5. Do: Select your words and actions carefully. Don't get into an argument and try to maintain your composure. Anything you say or do can be held against you. Everything that happens at that stop including your words will be documented by the officer in the police report and used as evidence against you.

6. Do: If arrested, ask to speak with an attorney, if you do not have an attorney ask for a telephone book to attempt to reach a criminal DUI lawyer.

7. Do: Think carefully before refusing a breath, blood, or urine test. If you refuse, you will lose your driver's license for 1 year, rather than 30 days suspension followed by a 60 day restricted license. If you refuse the police will get a telephonic search warrant and take your blood by force. So the police will get the tests they want, one way or the other. Refusal of the tests simply buys you one year's loss of your driver's license.

8. Do: Ask for a second sample of blood or urine to be taken and preserved for you so that your Arizona Defense Attorney can have an independent defense retest on your behalf. You have the right to request it, and the right to obtain it.

9. Do: Request to be released for an independent blood test.

10.Do: Call an experienced Arizona DUI defense attorney for a free consultation about your phoenix drunk driving case as soon as possible.

These "Do" items are general information intended as guides only. They may apply to most, but not all situations. Some of the best Arizona criminal defense attorneys have different perspectives on some of the "Do" items and how they should be handled in the event you have been stopped or arrested for an Arizona DUI. Ultimately the decisions are yours. Choose wisely.

Continue reading "Ten DUI Tips from a DUI Attorney" »