Articles Posted in DUI Case Law

In a recent DUI case coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant’s appeal of his guilty conviction was unsuccessful. The defendant had originally pointed out on appeal that the police officer who arrested him did not have his body camera turned on, and he argued that the trial court should have instructed the jury as to the officer’s error. The higher court concluded that the jury instruction was ultimately unnecessary and that the defendant’s conviction should be affirmed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was driving his Dodge Charger when he rear-ended another car, which pushed it into a nearby wall. A witness who had witnessed the accident followed the defendant, watching him as he drove into a nearby parking lot. The witness inquired as to whether the defendant was going to check on the driver of the second car. The defendant said yes and promptly headed back to the scene of the accident.

By the time the defendant returned to the collision site, a police officer was at the scene. This officer observed that the defendant had watery and bloodshot eyes, as well as that he smelled of alcohol. Approximately one hour after the accident, the defendant submitted to a blood draw, which revealed a blood alcohol concentration of .164 percent. Around that time, the defendant admitted to the officer that he had rear-ended the second car and that he was alone in his Dodge Charger.

Continue reading

In a recent case coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant successfully appealed his convictions following a car accident at least partially caused by his speeding. The defendant was originally charged with and convicted of manslaughter, aggravated assault, and criminal damage. Because of his appeal and the facts surrounding the accident, the higher court vacated the trial court’s original decision.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was driving between seventy and ninety-five miles per hour in a forty-five miles per hour zone. While going at this speed, the defendant struck another car, causing the two passengers of that second car to be ejected from the vehicle. The second car’s driver was a man and the passenger was his seven-month-old son. Neither passenger was wearing a seatbelt, and the father had THC in his system at the time of the crash. Tragically, the seven-month-old son died as a result of the crash.

The father pled guilty to driving under the influence and endangerment after the crash. The main defense raised by the defendant was that he alone was not responsible for the injuries – it was true, said the defendant, that he was speeding, but the father was also under the influence and without a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Thus, according to the defendant, he could not take all of the blame.

Continue reading

The State of Arizona takes DUI and related offenses extremely seriously. First-time offenders are often required to serve jail time, and subsequent offenders can face substantial prison sentences. With each successive DUI, the punishment becomes exponentially more severe, making it extremely important for persons accused of DUI to obtain competent legal counsel. The Arizona Court of Appeals recently addressed a defendant’s appeal of his DUI conviction, which was for a second offense and resulted in a prison sentence of 4.5 years.

The defendant in the recently decided appeal was stopped while operating a motor vehicle on I-17 in Maricopa county. According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, officers smelled the odor of alcohol on the man and suspected he was driving under the influence of alcohol. After performing sobriety tests, and ultimately a chemical test showing a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit, the defendant was charged with an aggravated DUI. The defendant had previously been convicted of aggravated DUI in the State of Arizona in 2006. The defendant was offered a plea agreement by prosecutors, which he rejected, and the case was taken to trial.

After a jury trial in which several witnesses testified against the defendant, he was found guilty of the aggravated DUI charges. The defendant was not sentenced immediately after his conviction; as he was instructed to return for sentencing. The defendant failed to appear for his sentencing hearing, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. After the defendant was found several months later, he was sentenced for crimes. The defendant was sentenced to two prison terms of 4.5 years, which would be served concurrently. The defendant appealed his conviction to the state court of appeals.

In a recent Arizona DUI case, the defendant’s appeal of his guilty verdict was denied. The defendant appealed in part because he was not present at his trial, and he asked the court to reverse the verdict given his absence. The higher court denied the appeal, finding it was the defendant’s own decision to skip the trial, and that his voluntary decision made him subject to the consequences of the jury’s decision.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, two cars approached the entry gate of a Target warehouse one evening in March 2018. Coincidentally arriving at the same time, the driver of the second car watched as the driver of the first car rammed his vehicle into the closed gate and squeezed into the parking lot. The gate came off its tracks and the driver of the second car immediately called 911.

When police officers arrived, they found the first car zooming around in the parking lot, and they suspected the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The officers stopped the car and found the defendant in this case at the wheel and his one-year-old daughter in the back of the car. At this point, the officers noticed that the defendant’s eyes were bloodshot; he smelled of alcohol, and his words were jumbled and slurred.

Continue reading

In a recent opinion from an Arizona court, the defendant’s appeal of his convictions and sentences was denied. The defendant was originally convicted of four counts of aggravated driving or actual physical control while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, which are class 4 felonies. In an attempt to fight these convictions, the defendant asked the Arizona court to review the trial record for any errors that could have unfairly affected his guilty verdict. Finding no errors, the court affirmed the defendant’s convictions.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was pulled over by a police officer because a rear-mounted camera blocked one-quarter of his car’s license plate, which should have been on full display. The officer checked the license plate in his system and found that it was invalid.

During the traffic stop, the officer noticed that the defendant had bloodshot eyes and was grinding his teeth. Suspecting that the defendant had been driving under the influence, the officer conducted field sobriety tests, including asking him to walk in a straight line and to balance on one foot. The defendant could not maintain his balance and continuously fidgeted during the sobriety tests.

Continue reading

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.

Everyone knows that drunk driving is against the law. However, the elements of a DUI offense are not always straightforward. One of the most misunderstood elements of an Arizona drunk driving offense is the requirement that the prosecution proves a defendant was in “actual physical control” of the vehicle. A recent state appellate decision discusses what the prosecution must prove to meet its burden under the “actual physical control” element of a DUI offense.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, police officers received a call for people sleeping in a car. Police officers arrived on the scene, and noticed that the vehicle had been in an accident. Officers woke the passenger up without issue, but the defendant was “in and out of it,” and exhibited signs of intoxication, including slurred speech and confusion.

Police officers administered field sobriety tests, the results of which led them to believe the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Subsequently, the police arrested the defendant, who then told them that he had driven to the store to buy some food, and fell asleep after pulling over. Police ordered chemical testing of the defendant’s blood, which indicated he was under the influence of methamphetamine and amphetamine.

Continue reading

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in an Arizona DUI case involving the defendant’s claim that the prosecution failed to preserve evidence that would have shown police violated his rights. However, ultimately, the court concluded that the video, at best, could provide “potentially useful” evidence, but could not show that he was not guilty of the charged offense. Thus, the court rejected the defendant’s claim and affirmed his conviction.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, a police officer heard tires squealing and observed a car take off at a high rate of speed. The officer pulled over the car, which the defendant was driving. The officer noticed that the defendant smelled like alcohol, and arrested him, and took him to a booking facility.

Police asked the defendant to perform two sobriety tests, which he did. They then informed the defendant of his Miranda rights, at which point the defendant invoked his right to consult with an attorney. The officers explained the consequences of refusing a breath or blood test, and the defendant again insisted on having counsel present. Police officers then obtained a warrant to take the defendant’s blood, which revealed he had a blood-alcohol concentrate of .121, well over the legal limit.

Continue reading

The role of an Arizona DUI defense attorney is to defend his or her client at every step of the case. Initially, this means conducting a thorough investigation into the case, diligently reviewing the state’s evidence, and creating a compelling defense. Once the trial starts, however, a defense attorney’s role expands, requiring they keep an eye on the prosecution.

The role of a prosecutor is to “seek justice.” However, as history shows, sometimes prosecutors step out of line, either by withholding valuable evidence, trying to use prejudicial evidence, or making inflammatory comments to the jury. Defense attorneys are critical in keeping prosecutors in check, by objecting to their unfair tactics.

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in an Arizona drunk driving case, discussing the defendants’ claims that the prosecutor engaged in prejudicial misconduct. According to the court’s opinion, the defendant entered a roundabout without yielding the right of way to a police cruiser. The officer initiated a traffic stop, and the defendant sped away. The chase reached speeds of 120 miles per hour before the defendant stopped the car and got out. The officer commanded the defendant to get on the ground, and he complied, at which point he was arrested.

Last month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in an Arizona drunk driving case, discussing the defendant’s challenges to certain statements admitted at trial. Ultimately, the court held that, while the statements should not have been admitted, the defendant failed to show that admission of the statements constituted a “fundamental error.”

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, witnesses watched as a car drove into their driveway and crashed into their vehicle. There were three people in the car, the defendant, his girlfriend, and another male. One of the witnesses identified the defendant as the driver. However, in the witness’ statement to the police, the description of the driver matched both the defendant as well as the other male in the car.

When police arrived, the witness again identified the defendant as the driver, as did several of the witness’ housemates. The defendant was arrested and charged with DUI. He then told police that he had been drinking, he was driving at some point, but he did not get into an accident. His defense at trial was that he was not the driver.

Continue reading

Contact Information