Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in an Arizona aggravated DUI case that was brought against a man who was arrested for driving while under the influence while his license was suspended. The case required the court to determine if the lower court properly instructed the jurors that they could presume the defendant had notice that his license had been suspended. Ultimately, the court determined that the jurors were properly instructed and affirmed the defendant’s conviction.
Aggravated DUI in Arizona
Under Arizona Revised Statutes section 28-1383, a motorist can be charged with an aggravated DUI offense if the prosecution can prove one of several additional facts. For example, if a motorist is found to be driving under the influence while their license was suspended. Another example is if there is a passenger under the age of 15 in the vehicle at the time the driver is arrested for DUI.
The Facts of the Case
The defendant was arrested in Arizona after he rear-ended a police officer. It was later determined that the defendant was intoxicated and that his California driver’s license had been suspended. The defendant was charged with aggravated DUI, convicted, and sentenced accordingly.
The defendant appealed his conviction, arguing that the trial court improperly instructed the jury that it could infer the defendant knew his license was suspended because there was insufficient evidence indicating that he had notice of the suspension. The defendant claimed that he was not living at the California address at the time, and the mere fact that a notice was sent was not sufficient to establish he had actual knowledge of the suspension. The defendant argued that he jury should have been instructed on the lesser-included offense of non-aggravated DUI.
The court disagreed with the defendant and affirmed his conviction. The court explained that one month prior to the defendant’s arrest, a notice of suspension was sent to his California address. The court noted that, although he defendant claimed not to be living at the California address at that time, it was the address he provided to police upon his arrest. Thus, the court held that the evidence supported the lower court’s decision to instruct the jury that it could presume the defendant had notice of the suspension if the jury believed that the notice was sent to his California address.
Have You Been Charged with an Aggravated DUI?
If you have recently been arrested and charged with an Arizona aggravated DUI, contact the Law Office of James E. Novak. Attorney Novak has decades of experience representing individuals charged with all types of Arizona DUI crimes, and knows how to attack the prosecution’s case against his clients. Whether it be through a motion to suppress blood- or breath-tests, or through argument to the jury, Attorney Novak is prepared to take on any Arizona DUI case. To learn more, call 480-413-1499 to schedule a free consultation today.
Other Articles of Interest from The Law Office of James Novak’s Phoenix DUI Blog:
Arizona Court Condones Officer’s Arrest of Defendant, Despite Potentially Innocent Explanation for Signs of Intoxication, Phoenix DUI Law Blog, September 12, 2018
When Can an Officer Pull a Motorist Over Based on a Belief of Intoxication?, Phoenix DUI Law Blog, August 24, 2018