Articles Posted in Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a common crime in Arizona. However, there is an often-held misunderstanding about the serious consequences an Arizona DUI conviction can carry. Contrary to popular belief, these are not minor traffic offenses. DUI cases are taken very seriously by Arizona law enforcement, prosecutors and judges, and a conviction for a DUI offense can have lifelong consequences.

The seriousness of a DUI arrest depends on a few things. Most notably, whether you have a prior conviction for a DUI. Generally speaking, first-offense DUIs are less serious than subsequent offenses. For example, the punishment for a first-offense DUI is ten consecutive days in jail, a fine of at least $250, and mandatory community service. In addition, you will need to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle before you can drive again. If you are convicted of a second DUI, then the punishment you face will increase significantly. For example, the jail time the comes along with a second offense increases to up to 90 days in jail. However, if you participate in drug or alcohol classes, you can have a portion of that sentence suspended.

In addition to the criminal penalties associated with a DUI conviction, you can also suffer a host of collateral consequences. Collateral consequences are the non-criminal aspects of a conviction that impact your life, often making it much more challenging to get a job, attend school, or obtain certain benefits. For example, if you are convicted of an Arizona DUI, employers can refuse to hire you, and you may not be eligible for certain professional licenses. Landlords may also ask you on a rental application if you have ever been convicted of a crime, which impacts their decision of who to rent to.

Late last month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in an Arizona DUI accident case discussing the defendant’s motion to suppress an identification made by witnesses to the accident. Ultimately, the court determined that the witnesses’ identification was not unduly suggestive, and even if it was, the defendant could not show that he was prejudiced as a result of the identification. Thus, the court affirmed the defendant’s conviction.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, a car crashed into a tree right outside of a school. Two school employees were notified of the crash, and walked outside to see the defendant inside the car in the driver’s seat. The witnesses saw the defendant try to drive away, but when he couldn’t’ get his car to move, he exited the vehicle. The witnesses told the defendant to stay on the scene, but he walked away towards a nearby convenience store.

One of the witnesses left briefly to get his car keys. He located the defendant a short time later, and called 911. The witness told police that the driver of the car had on jeans and a dark T-shirt. Not long after the 911 call, an officer stopped the defendant because he matched the description. The officer noted that the defendant appeared to be intoxicated. As the officer was waiting for the witness to come to make an identification, the defendant admitted to being the driver. When the witness showed up, he identified the defendant as the driver, and the officer arrested the defendant. Another witness provided police with photographs and a video of the defendant leaving the scene of the accident.

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To prevent against the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it has come to be known, Governor Ducey signed an executive order requiring schools close, many businesses close, and residents stay inside their homes except for certain specified reasons. The Governor’s order, referred to as “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected,” went into effect on March 30, and is scheduled to end on April 30. As of April 25, 2020, the Governor has not made any indication as to whether the order will be extended. However, for weeks now, people across Arizona have been required – for the most part – to stay at home. Not surprisingly, the stay-at-home order has had the unintended effect of significantly reducing the number of Arizona DUI arrests.

According to a recent news report, from January to April of last year, there were a total of 7,500 Arizona DUI arrests. However, for that same period during 2020, the number of DUI arrests dropped nearly 33 percent to just over 5,000. Not only that, but serious traffic accidents that require an investigation have dropped by more than 75 percent, according to the Arizona State Police.

Of course, the reduction in Arizona drunk driving arrests does not necessarily mean that there is a lack of enforcement or that law enforcement officers are cutting drivers a break. Rather, most attribute the reduction to the fact that bars and restaurants are closed and that there are fewer people on the road. Also, people are required to follow social distancing protocol, so even drinking in social settings has significantly decreased.

Anyone who has ever been arrested for an Arizona DUI knows that the criminal justice system treats driving under the influence very seriously. Over the years, legislatures across the country have continued to enact stricter penalties for those convicted of driving under the influence, even for first-time offenders.

When someone is arrested for an Arizona DUI, it is often the first time they have faced criminal charges. This can be a very stressful and traumatic experience because defendants rarely know what punishment they could face if they are found guilty, and they often have no idea about how to go about contesting the charges.

While some Arizona DUI cases are best settled before trial, there are a number of cases in which the prosecution cannot meet their burden to establish the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In other cases, police officers overstep their authority by stopping motorists, searching their cars, or asking them to take blood- or breath-tests. The fact is, Arizona DUI charges can be fought, and won, in many cases.

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The 4th of July is known as a holiday when people kick back and relax with friends and family. Over this holiday, it is inevitable that some people will have too much to drink. Knowing this fact, each year Arizona police set out to make a statement against driving under the influence by focusing their efforts on strictly enforcing the state’s DUI laws over the holiday break.

According to a recent news report, 1,726 law enforcement officers participated in a state-wide enforcement effort over the holiday. In total, police made over 11,000 traffic stops over July 3rd and 4th, and arrested nearly 300 people on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Of those, 62 of the arrests were for “extreme DUI” in which the driver’s blood-alcohol content is alleged to be greater than .15.

Police Were Looking for Reasons to Stop Drivers

Given that the state’s law enforcement officers were on high alert for drivers under the influence, it is likely that many of the traffic stops police made were motivated by “gut instincts” rather than articulable facts supporting a finding that the driver was under the influence. However, under Arizona law, police officers cannot pull over motorist for no reason or act on a hunch when determining which motorists to stop. Doing so violates the motorist’s constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

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After a DUI conviction, you’re bound to face a number of challenges. Yes, there are fines, jail or prison time, probation, and other penalties levied against you. Yet there are many other consequences and restrictions you may not be aware of. That’s why having a skilled Phoenix, AZ DUI defense attorney is crucial.

With this in mind, we want to consider some of the challenges a person may face when crossing the border to Canada if he or she has a drunk driving conviction on their record. It’s not as simple as having a valid passport. As you’re about to read, these issues can be much more complicated than you expect.

Can You Be Denied Entry to Canada Due to Drunk Driving?

DUI laws can be complicated. In the state of Arizona and the city of Phoenix, there are plenty of considerations when it comes to drunk driving charges and arrest. What's more, actual physical control (APC) debates complicate DUI charges. These APC disputes could lead to people getting charged with drunk driving when when a vehicle is stationary.

Let's explore the issues of actual physical control right now, and offer some insight into these kinds of legal disputes.

Liberal Interpretations of "Drunk Driving"

A breathalyzer is a device that law enforcement uses to measure the amount of alcohol on a driver's breath. The breathalyzer works in a simple fashion. Drivers are asked to blow into a straw attached to the breathalyzer machine. The breath is analyzed and a read of alcohol content is provided to law enforcement. This is one of the ways that police can assess intoxication.

There are flaws with breath testing, however, and a Phoenix DUI defense attorney can help address them. Let's consider the problems with breath tests and then see whether or not you should refuse a breathalyzer test from a police officer.

Problems with Breath Tests to Assess Sobriety

The people of Tempe deserve a skilled defense attorney who puts their rights ahead of all else. That's why so many people turn to The Law Office of James Novak in their time of legal need. For skilled criminal law and DUI defense, we can help.

A number of clients have questions about the nature of aggravated DUI charges. Let's take a moment to consider these kinds of cases and the legal penalties involved right now.

Defining Aggravated DUI

Here at The Law Office of James Novak, we help people throughout Phoenix who have been charged with drunk driving. We believe that everyone deserves a fair hearing as well as experienced DUI defense attorneys who offer sound legal advice. This ensure that our system works fairly, and that people are aware of some of the unexpected long-term repercussions they will face after a drunk driving charge.

The Long-Term Consequences of of DUI Charges

If you are arrested and charged with a DUI, that drunk driving arrest will remain on your criminal record, though it can be potentially removed after a number of years have passed.

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