Articles Posted in Dui

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in an Arizona DUI case, affirming the prosecution’s motion to preclude any evidence that led to the defendant’s stop. Ultimately, the court concluded that the lower court was proper to grant the prosecution’s motion, and affirmed the defendant’s conviction.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, a police officer responded to a call for possible vehicle arson. Upon arrival, the officer noticed that a silver car was driving by very slowly. People nearby told the officers that the occupants of the car were involved in the arson. However, because the officer was alone, he could not leave the scene to follow the silver car, and called in for backup. However, before backup could arrive, the owners of the burning vehicle chased the silver car. Eventually, backup officers stopped both cars.

The defendant was driving the silver car. As officers approached, they noticed that his eyes were red and watery, and his speech was slurred. They also noticed a smell of alcohol, and that the defendant seemed to be unsteady on his feet. There was an open can of beer, as well as several “Molotov cocktails.” The passenger of the car had a loaded gun.

Continue reading

Drunk driving is taken seriously by police and prosecutors across the country. That said, out of all fifty states, Arizona DUI laws are among the strictest. However, the punishments for DUI crimes are not always easy to understand. At the same time, it is only when someone truly understands what they could be facing that they can make a fully-informed decision on how to handle their case.

In Arizona, not all DUI offenses are created equal.

  • DUI – A DUI offense is the most basic version of an Arizona drunk driving crime. Someone can be found guilty of a DUI if they are driving a car with a blood-alcohol content between .08 and .14.
  • Extreme DUI – Someone can be found guilty of an Extreme DUI If they operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of .15 or more.
  • Aggravated DUI – An aggravated DUI results when someone is driving under the influence (with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or more) under one of the following circumstances:
    1. Driving on a suspended or revoked license;
    2. Having committed two prior DUIs in the past seven years;
    3. Driving with a passenger under the age of 15 years old; or
    4. Refusing to submit to a breath sample (for those ordered to have an ignition interlock on their vehicle).

So, even a driver who is arrested for a DUI for the first time may face any of these charges. Like most other states, Arizona law provides for escalating punishments for those who are convicted of repeat DUI offenses.

Continue reading

For those facing Arizona DUI charges, it is crucial to understand what they are up against before deciding how to proceed. An Arizona DUI conviction can carry severe penalties, including jail time. These penalties can increase significantly based on the existence of certain aggravating factors. The following article provides an overview of the potential short-term and long-term legal consequences of a DUI conviction.

First DUI Offense

As with every other state, it is unlawful for an individual under the influence of a controlled substance (i.e., alcohol or drugs) to operate a vehicle in Arizona. To determine whether someone suspected of a DUI is actually under the influence, law enforcement will test his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Generally, if a driver’s BAC is measured at 0.08 or greater, they are considered to be guilty of driving under the influence. However, if the driver is under the age of 21, they may be found guilty of a DUI if there is any alcohol in their system.

If convicted, a first time DUI offender faces a penalty of at least ten days in jail, and a fine of no less than $1,250. In addition, the driver will have their driving privileges suspended for 90-days. To have driving privileges reinstated, the driver may have to undergo alcohol screening, education and treatment plans, and have their vehicle equipped with a certified ignition interlock device. On top of that, a person may also be required to perform community service. This may sound severe, but keep in mind that this is only for a first-time offense with no aggravating circumstances.

Continue reading

In Arizona, it is against the law to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Routinely, clients facing Arizona DUI charges are surprised to see that their blood or breath contained as much of a substance as the test results indicate. Thus, this post is dedicated to informing motorists about the length of time that many of the most common drugs stay in the human body. To start, it is important to note that alcohol is the only drug that police can detect through a breath test.

Thus, if police officers suspect someone of driving under the influence of alcohol, they may ask the driver to take a breath test. However, if police suspect someone is driving under the influence of drugs, they will most often take a blood test. Blood tests will detect both drugs and alcohol but breath tests will only detect alcohol.

The next critical fact to keep in mind is that someone can be found guilty of driving under the influence of prescribed medication. Occasionally, therapeutic doses of some prescription medications will not put someone in jeopardy. However, certain prescribed medications, if found in sufficient levels, can result in a DUI conviction.

According to a recent news report, Arizona law enforcement agencies stepped up their DUI enforcement efforts over Halloween week in an attempt to curb the number of Arizona DUI cases. The statistics from the enforcement effort have not yet been released; however, last Halloween, there were a total of 364 Arizona DUI arrests made over the Halloween holiday. This figure was down significantly from 2017, in which there were 447 DUI arrests on Halloween.

In the recent article, a spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety encouraged everyone to have a good time, which, he acknowledged, may involve consuming alcohol. However, he urged those who drank alcohol to take an Uber, Lyft, or some other form of transportation rather than get behind the wheel.

The period beginning on Halloween and going through the New Year is a time when law enforcement is out in droves searching for those who are driving under the influence. While motorists are advised to arrange for alternate transportation when they have had too much to drink, it is also vital they understand their rights when there is an increased police presence on the road.

In Arizona, DUI law can be quite complicated. One reason for this is that there are several different Arizona DUI laws on the books, and the differences between each of the offenses is not necessarily apparent. Starting with the least serious, the most common drunk driving crimes in Arizona are as follows:

Misdemeanor DUI: Most first and second DUI offenses are considered misdemeanors under Arizona law. Typically, a misdemeanor DUI requires the prosecution to prove that a motorist’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) was at least 0.08%, or that they had a controlled substance in their system. However, DUI convictions can be sustained on evidence that a driver was “impaired to the slightest degree,” even without a blood or breath test. Even for a first-time DUI arrest, the consequences of a conviction can be severe, and typically include:

  • At least one day in jail;

The opinions of the United States Supreme Court are the law of the land and generally must be followed by all states. Often, the Supreme Court decides which cases to choose based on the issues that are presented in the case. Typically, the Court will select cases that raise legal questions that are unclear or not entirely settled due to incremental advancements in the law made by lower courts.

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case, Mitchell v. Wisconsin, which discusses blood-draws from unconscious motorists who are suspected of being under the influence. The case is the third U.S. Supreme Court case in recent years to touch on this topic. However, because no five Justices could agree on a single basis for the opinion, technically, the decision is not binding on the lower courts and only impacts the defendant in this case. However, in reality, courts across the country will look to the plurality opinion for guidance.

The facts as the Court described them are as follows: police officers arrested the defendant under suspicion of driving under the influence. Officers took the defendant to the police station to administer a breath test; however, the defendant was too lethargic to complete the test. Because Wisconsin law provides that an unconscious motorist is not capable of withdrawing implied consent, an officer drove the defendant to a hospital for a blood draw. The results of the test indicated the defendant’s blood-alcohol content was over the legal limit, and he was arrested and charged with DUI.

Given the manner in which Arizona DUI laws are written and enforced, most people who are arrested and charged with an Arizona DUI offense have no idea that they were over the legal limit or were still under the influence of an intoxicating substance. Thus, the fact that Arizona has one of the strictest – if not the strictest –penalty schemes for driving under the influence creates a situation where a motorist may face severe consequences for violating a law they never knew they were breaking.

In Arizona, like most other states, it is illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above. However, Arizona law is unique in that it creates “presumptions” depending on a motorist’s BAC. For example:

  • a motorist whose BAC is less than .05 is presumed not to be intoxicated;
  • a motorist with a BAC over .08 is presumed to be intoxicated; and
  • there is no presumption of intoxication for motorists with BACs between .05 and .08.

Continue reading

Drivers facing DUI charges may want to seek the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney to represent them in their case. The potential damage to your driving record, your criminal record, and your insurance rates is significant. 

If your DUI case involves no insurance you might also find it difficult to obtain insurance after the DUI charges are filed. Fortunately, criminal defense attorney James Novak in Phoenix, AZ can help minimize the consequences of being arrested for DUI. 

Possible Punishments for Driving without Insurance in Arizona

In the state of Arizona, it is illegal to use or possess marijuana, sell or distribute marijuana, produce marijuana, and transport marijuana. It’s also illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana. The state has stiff penalties against people who violate marijuana DUI laws, which is why having a Phoenix, AZ defense attorney is crucial.

We’d like to consider some of the financial penalties associated with marijuana DUI charges so you understand the difficulties ahead. It will reinforce the importance of having a skilled lawyer by your side to help reduce or drop the charges against you.

Arizona Laws on Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Contact Information