Recently, an Arizona appellate court affirmed a lower court’s convictions of a defendant in a DUI case involving a minor passenger. The defendant appealed the lower court’s decision, arguing that there was a fundamental error in the record. The appellate court found that there was no fundamental error because the court proceedings were properly conducted and afforded the defendant all of his constitutional and statutory rights. The appellate court affirmed the defendant’s convictions. Operating a vehicle while under the influence and with a minor present in the vehicle results in heightened penalties in the state of Arizona.
The Facts of the Case
On the night of the incident, a police officer was driving on a highway and observed a vehicle stopped on an exit ramp. The defendant was the driver, and his eight-year-old son was also in the car. According to the arresting officer, the defendant stumbled while getting out of the car and spoke with slurred speech, prompting the Arizona Department of Public Safety Troopers to investigate. The troopers observed the defendant’s bloodshot watery eyes and the smell of alcohol, and the defendant’s subsequent field sobriety tests indicated he may be under the influence of alcohol. The troopers administered a blood test, revealing the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) to be 0.187, which is above the 0.08 threshold and thus indicates driving while impaired.