In a recent opinion involving a DUI, an Arizona court denied the defendant’s appeal. The defendant had been pulled over for reckless driving on the highway, and he was charged with a DUI and with resisting arrest. Despite the defendant’s four different arguments on appeal, the court affirmed the defendant’s original guilty verdict.
The Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, a police officer responded to emergency calls that complained of a pickup truck swerving on the highway in Phoenix. The officer found the truck and began following it, observing that the driver was driving recklessly and nearly colliding with multiple vehicles. When the officer turned on his vehicle lights and siren, the truck did not immediately pull over. Eventually, the driver (the defendant in this case) stopped on the shoulder of the road.
During the traffic stop, the officer noticed that the defendant appeared to be impaired by alcohol. The officer performed several tests on the defendant, concluding that the defendant was, indeed, intoxicated. When the defendant learned he was under arrest for DUI, he immediately ran away, dragging the police officer with him. Both men tumbled to the ground, and they fought each other until the officer was able to restrain the defendant. Later, at the hospital, the defendant was found to have a blood alcohol concentration between .190 and .203 within two hours of driving.
The defendant was charged with and convicted of two counts of aggravated DUI and one count of resisting arrest.
The Court’s Decision
On appeal, the defendant made several arguments to try and reverse his guilty verdict. First, he argued that the prosecution made several substantial errors during the trial. For example, the defendant said that the prosecutor improperly told the jury that his driver’s license had been suspended twice. By presenting an inaccurate statement, the prosecutor unreasonably biased the jury. The court disagreed – it looked at the defendant’s driving record and discovered that the defendant actually had two suspended licenses. Because there was no error on the part of the prosecution, the court rejected this first argument.
Second, the defendant argued that he did not resist arrest. He explained that he fell on the ground while the officer tried to arrest him. The court again disagreed. When the officer told the defendant he was under arrest, the defendant said out loud, “no, I’m not.” The defendant also overtly pulled away from the officer and ran down the road. Given these facts, said the court, it was proper for the jury to find that the defendant did unlawfully resist arrest.
Next, the defendant argued that the lower court did not pay enough attention to his request for a new trial. After the defendant’s original guilty verdict, he had requested that the court conduct another trial that would be fairer to him. The court again rejected this argument. It noted that the deadline for requesting a new trial was ten days after the verdict, and the defendant’s request came 15 days after his verdict was released. Because of this delay, it was fine for the lower court to reject his request for a new trial.
Finally, the defendant argued that the lower court made a mistake when it took his prior two felony convictions into account at the time of sentencing. At the very least, the lower court should have held a discussion on the issue o these two prior convictions. The court disagreed. If the defendant wanted to make this argument, said the court, he would have to prove that the discussion would have significantly changed the outcome of the sentencing. Because the defendant could not make this showing, his argument failed.
Disagreeing with the defendant on all four fronts, the court rejected the appeal and affirmed the original guilty verdict.
Are You Facing Criminal Charges After a Traffic Stop in Arizona?
If your Arizona traffic stop has unexpectedly turned into criminal charges, know that there are options for you moving forward. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we are experienced in Arizona criminal law, and we will not settle for the easiest solution in your case. We will analyze all aspects of your situation in order to build a solid defense that works for you. For a free initial consultation, call us at 480-413-1499.