Articles Posted in Dui

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.

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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

In Phoenix, AZ, attorney James Novak helps clients maintain driving privileges and minimize the damage done by a DUI (driving under the influence) arrest. A DUI defense attorney helps by doing more than just defending the criminal charges. There are also a host of administrative issues that need to be handled when a DU arrest is made. An often overlooked topic is what to do when relocating to a new state after DUI. In the moments immediately after a DUI arrest, moving out of state may be the last thing on your mind, but life has a way of changing and relocating can become a necessity for family or for a new job. If you have had a prior DUI and need to move to a new state, knowing what to expect when switching over your driver’s license or changing insurance providers is helpful.

Looking at the Status of Your DUI Case

Moving to a new state with a DUI brings up questions about how to complete your case or what to do about getting a driver’s license once you are settled. The answers to these questions can depend on the stage of your DUI case, and what steps are still left to be completed.

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?

In Phoenix, AZ, attorney James Novak provides aggressive defense for DUI cases. A DUI can be defended on many fronts, many of which involve challenging the breath test results. A DUI breath test is designed to determine the level of alcohol in a driver’s system. When an alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher is found, the legal standard for DUI has been met. This threshold is relatively low, making it easier for law enforcement to write more DUI tickets and requiring defendants to fight the charges in order to protect their driving privileges. It is not unheard of for the breath test to give off a false positive, and a false positive with unnatural breathing is one of the most common causes for this type of inaccurate result.

How Your Breathing Can Affect A Breath Test

A breath test machine is designed to measure the amount of alcohol in a persons’ system by measuring the amount of alcohol in the breath. When the machine is blown into, it will give off a reading that translates to a BAC (blood alcohol content) level, if that level is higher than what is allowed by law, the driver can be arrested and charged with DUI. Because the test requires a person to blow into the device, how that person is breathing plays a role in the result. Taking a deep breath allows the alcohol stored at the bottom of your lungs to make its way to the top, and thus be the first thing measured by the testing device. The end result is a higher BAC level, otherwise known as a false positive. A more natural breathing pattern will yield a more accurate result and drivers should not allow an officer to require a large inhale before taking a breath test.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is negligent, dangerous, and can potentially lead to serious injuries or fatalities. Because driving under the influence (DUI) is so dangerous, those who commit a DUI will face harsh financial penalties for their actions. The penalties of DUI can extend beyond financial and include jail time, affect employment, and lead to license suspension. Today, we will focus on the DUI financial penalties those who are convicted of a DUI in Phoenix, AZ, may face. If you have been accused of a DUI, attorney James E. Novak can look at the details of your case to ensure that you receive a fair trial.

Financial Penalties Will Vary

Under Arizona law, DUI financial penalties will vary based on the particular circumstances of each accused person’s case. Some things that will affect the total amount of financial penalties include driving history, blood alcohol concentration (BAC), drug DUI, repeat offenses, a DUI involving an accident, or leaving the scene of an accident involving a DUI.

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