Articles Posted in Dui

In a recent opinion from an Arizona court involving a DUI, the court denied the defendant’s request for a new verdict. The defendant was found guilty of driving while intoxicated and appealed by arguing that the court unfairly instructed the jury to take into account the fact that he had fled the scene when deciding that he was guilty. The court disagreed, ultimately denying the defendant’s appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was driving a white truck with a female passenger. While driving, the defendant sideswiped another car; then, instead of pulling over, he continued driving down the road. The driver of the second car decided to follow the defendant, noting his license plate and calling the police. The defendant turned onto another road, both occupants got out of the truck, and the female passenger was picked up by another car. The defendant stayed in the truck and drove back to the scene of the accident. He exited the truck and began walking down the street where the accident had occurred.

The police arrived and asked the defendant to stop so they could gather information. The defendant continued walking, initially refusing to stop before eventually complying and answering the officer’s questions. The officer later reported not only that the defendant was intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration of .272 percent, but also that his license had been suspended prior to the accident. The State charged the defendant with two counts of aggravated DUI; one for driving impaired with a suspended license and the other for driving with a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit of .08 percent.

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In a recent opinion from an Arizona court involving a DUI, the defendant’s request for a new verdict was denied. The defendant was found guilty of manslaughter, assault, endangerment, and driving under the influence. He appealed, arguing the verdict was unreasonable because the court allowed the jury to consider a prior DUI offense when making a decision regarding the present DUI offense. The court disagreed, ultimately denying the defendant’s appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was driving one evening when he hit another vehicle, launching the vehicle into oncoming traffic. The vehicles involved in the collision caught fire, and one driver died, while several others were injured. When police interviewed the defendant at the scene, they noticed that his eyes were droopy, his speech was slurred, and he was unable to hold his balance. He was arrested, and he later admitted to having taken two Oxycodone pills fifteen minutes before driving. A blood-draw further revealed that he had several other sedative drugs in his system.

At the time of the collision, the defendant had a prior misdemeanor conviction for DUI and was required to have an ignition interlock device on any vehicle he drove. Even though the defendant was aware of this requirement, he did not have an ignition interlock device on his vehicle.

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In order to obtain a conviction for a DUI offense, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had a blood-alcohol level at or above the legal limit at the time the defendant was operating a motor vehicle. Because police usually rely on a non-portable breath alcohol analyzer or a blood test to prove intoxication, defendants are often not tested until several hours after they have been stopped by police. When a test result after arrest demonstrates a blood alcohol level below the legal limit at the time of the test, police and prosecutors rely on a scientific technique known as retrograde extrapolation to estimate a defendant’s blood alcohol content at the time they were operating a motor vehicle. The Arizona Court of Appeals recently affirmed the aggravated DUI conviction of a defendant whose blood alcohol level had been estimated using retrograde extrapolation.

Retrograde extrapolation is a technique used by police departments and prosecutors to determine and prove a person’s blood-alcohol level at the time they were operating a vehicle, as opposed to when the sample was actually collected. Crime lab chemists will apply a formula that approximate the average rate of decline and a person’s blood-alcohol level and use that to estimate a person’s blood-alcohol level at a time prior to the sample being taken. Although Arizona courts accept retrograde extrapolation as a method of proving intoxication, it is far from a perfect science.

The results of a retrograde extrapolation can be inaccurate for several reasons. First, each person metabolizes alcohol at a different rate, and simply applying the average rate of metabolization to every sample guarantees some inaccurate results. Furthermore, if a defendant consumed alcohol shortly before their arrest, their blood alcohol level may increase rather than decrease in the time before their sample is taken. If standard retrograde extrapolation is applied, the result would be inflated and inaccurate.

After an Arizona DUI conviction, drivers must often install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle before having their driving privileges reinstated. An ignition interlock is a small device installed near the steering column that requires a driver to blow into a tube before starting their vehicle. If there is any alcohol on the driver’s breath, the car will not start. Ignition interlock devices are designed to prevent those with a DUI conviction from getting behind the wheel after having anything to drink. In Arizona, for those required to install an interlock device on their vehicle, it is a crime to drive a vehicle without one.

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in an Arizona DUI case involving the question of whether the prosecution must prove that the defendant knew he was required to install an ignition interlock device of his vehicle. Ultimately, the court concluded that the prosecution must present proof that the defendant “knew or should have known an ignition-interlock restriction was in effect at the time of the offense.” Thus, the court vacated the defendant’s conviction.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, in 2015, the defendant was convicted of a misdemeanor DUI offense. As a part of the defendant’s sentence, he was required to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle he drove once his license was reinstated. Initially, the defendant complied with the requirement. The Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), told the defendant that he could remove the device on June 1, 2017.

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When thinking about the possible consequences of an Arizona DUI conviction, the most commonly feared repercussions involve infringements on your freedom, such as jail time, probation, or the suspension of your driver’s licenses. However, Arizona DUI offenses carry a host of other collateral consequences that can also have a significant impact on your life. One common question facing those who are arrested for DUI offenses involves the impact a conviction could have on their ability to obtain or maintain custody of their children. While a conviction alone is not likely to result in someone losing custody of their children, it can play into the court’s decision.

For example, take a recent appellate decision issued by the Arizona Court of Appeals. In that case, a child was born three weeks prematurely. It was later determined that the baby’s mother tested positive for multiple drugs. However, the child’s father sough to maintain custody. At the hospital, the father was emotional and, evidently, security had to escort him out of the building. A week later, the father was arrested for reckless driving and, after a blood test revealed his blood-alcohol content was twice the legal limit, he was arrested for driving under the influence.

In this case, the court had to determine if the lower court’s determination that the child was a “dependent child,” meaning one “who has no parent or guardian willing to exercise or capable of exercising” the care and control a child needs. Among the factors the court considered was the fact that the father had been arrested for driving under the influence. While there were certainly other issues the child’s father had that caused the court concern, there is a reason the court included the father’s DUI arrest in its opinion.

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in an Arizona DUI case, affirming the defendant’s conviction. The case illustrates the challenges of successfully litigating an appeal, as well as the importance of vigorously defending against all allegations at trial.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, a group of police officers was eating in a restaurant, when someone approached the officers, informing them that a motorist was committing traffic violations. One of the officers left the restaurant, got into his car, and witnessed the defendant run a red light.

The officer turned on his lights and sirens to conduct a traffic stop; however, the defendant did not stop. The defendant led the officer on a chase. According to the officer, the defendant committed “too many traffic violations to count.” When the defendant turned the wrong way down a one-way road, another officer put spike strips down in an attempt to disable the defendant’s vehicle. However, when the defendant saw the officer in the road, he swerved towards the officer. The officer jumped out of the way to avoid being hit.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a case involving an Arizona high-speed chase that ended with the driver being arrested and charged with several serious offenses, including aggravated assault, criminal damage, unlawful flight, and aggravated driving under the influence. At trial, the defendant wanted to introduce evidence that an officer involved in the case had been sanctioned for violating a police policy prohibiting an officer from engaging in a chase after witnessing only a traffic offense. Ultimately, the court concluded that the evidence may have been relevant to the case, but the lower court’s failure to admit the evidence was a harmless error.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, a police officer pulled over the defendant for a traffic violation. The defendant initially pulled over, but then drove off. The officer hopped back in his car and followed. The officer called in back-up as he chased the defendant.

The defendant continued to drive above the speed limit, and eventually drove into a residential neighborhood. The officer who initiated the traffic stop parked his car at the subdivision’s exit, to prevent the defendant from leaving. The defendant crashed into the officer’s car, got out of the car, and ran. He was later apprehended.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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