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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.

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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.

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In a recent opinion involving a DUI, an Arizona court denied the defendant’s appeal. The defendant had been pulled over for reckless driving on the highway, and he was charged with a DUI and with resisting arrest. Despite the defendant’s four different arguments on appeal, the court affirmed the defendant’s original guilty verdict.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, a police officer responded to emergency calls that complained of a pickup truck swerving on the highway in Phoenix. The officer found the truck and began following it, observing that the driver was driving recklessly and nearly colliding with multiple vehicles. When the officer turned on his vehicle lights and siren, the truck did not immediately pull over. Eventually, the driver (the defendant in this case) stopped on the shoulder of the road.

During the traffic stop, the officer noticed that the defendant appeared to be impaired by alcohol. The officer performed several tests on the defendant, concluding that the defendant was, indeed, intoxicated. When the defendant learned he was under arrest for DUI, he immediately ran away, dragging the police officer with him. Both men tumbled to the ground, and they fought each other until the officer was able to restrain the defendant. Later, at the hospital, the defendant was found to have a blood alcohol concentration between .190 and .203 within two hours of driving.

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Many state and national campaigns attempt to combat driving under the influence; however, they primarily focus on alcohol and illicit drug use. As such, many people are unaware that Arizona law permits prosecuting individuals for driving under the influence (DUI) involving legal prescription medications. The cases generally focus on the person’s impairment rather than the drug’s concentration in their system. The penalties for prescription drug DUI in Arizona can range and may involve:

  • Jail time
  • Probation
  • Driver license suspension
  • Community service
  • Ignition interlock device installation
  • Treatment programs
  • Traffic school
  • Fines and assessments

Even those taking the medications as directed may face Arizona DUI charges. Two DUI statutes, ARS § 28-1381(A)(1) and ARS § 1381(A)(3), govern prescription medication DUIs. ARS § 28-1381(A)(1) refers to cases involving “impairment to the slightest degree.” This statute makes it illegal to operate a vehicle while impaired by any drug or alcohol. This zero-tolerance law strictly prohibits driving under these conditions, regardless of whether the driver has a legal prescription. ARS § 1381(A)(3) involves “driving with an illegal drug in one’s Body” and generally refers to non-prescribed prescription medications and street drugs.

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Arizona driving under the influence (DUI) charges can significantly impact a person’s livelihood and reputation. While the short-term consequences may be hard to deal with, the long-term effect can hinder education and job opportunities, social relationships, and even family relationships. As a result, those who face these charges should consult with an attorney before agreeing to any terms or negotiations. Almost every case has a defense, and an attorney can help present a legally sound and compelling case to a judge or jury.

The legal consequences only heighten for every subsequent charge, and those accused of a DUI should make sure that their case receives fair and impartial review. Defenses may involve technical and complex legal theories, and others may revolve around a flat-out mistake of law or fact. A typical example of a mistake involves false positive readings on ignition interlock devices (IID).

Generally, technicals install IID’s in vehicles following a court order. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), the technician wires the device to the ignition and installs it on the vehicle’s dashboard, in addition to a camera and GPS. A driver cannot start the vehicle until they exhale into the device. The engine will not start if it detects alcohol on the driver’s breath. In an attempt to address fraud, the device will randomly prompt the driver to provide a sample throughout their journey. When the sample exceeds the permitted Blood Alcohol Content limit or fails to detect a sample, the car will continuously alert the driver.

In the past few years, general perspectives and laws around marijuana have shifted in Arizona. In 2010, medical marijuana was legalized. In 2020, Arizonans passed Proposition 207, which legalized the use and possession of small amounts of marijuana. Because of these changes, marijuana DUI laws in the State are enforced and prosecuted differently than they were even a few years ago. While it is still a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana, there are important developments in the law that might affect how your case moves forward in court if you are arrested for a DUI.

Changes Based on Proposition 207

Historically in Arizona, defendants charged with DUIs have faced a tough legal landscape when it comes to marijuana. Before the passage of Proposition 207, prosecutors did not need to prove that defendants charged with a DUI were impaired to drive – they only needed to show that there was any amount of drugs in the defendant’s body. Under Proposition 207, the situation has changed: now, you cannot be found guilty of a marijuana DUI unless you are “impaired to the slightest degree.” This means that prosecutors now have to prove both that you were under the influence of marijuana and that you were “impaired to the slightest degree” while driving. This added element makes it more difficult for prosecutors to prove their cases. It is important to note that these elements for a DUI case are the same whether or not a defendant has an Arizona medical marijuana card.

Proposition 207 also changes how police officers in Arizona can investigate crimes. Before the passage of the law, officers could use the smell of burnt marijuana as evidence of a crime. Now, however, the smell of burnt marijuana no longer serves as sufficient reason for an officer to infer criminal conduct. There is one important exception to this rule: if an officer believes that a driver is under the influence because that driver commits a traffic offense, the officer can still rely on the smell of burnt marijuana to make an arrest. Under other circumstances, though, because of changes enacted under Proposition 207, the smell of burnt marijuana cannot serve as grounds for an officer to make an arrest in Arizona.

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This holiday season, drivers will be especially eager to visit their family and friends for annual celebrations. With many people having stayed home last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, groups could be gathering in higher numbers this year compared to years past. It is important to be aware, however, that as more Arizonians are out on the road, police officers will be increasing their efforts to conduct traffic stops and charge people with DUIs.

The holidays are always a time when troopers maintain a more active presence on the roads, and, according to a recent news report, troopers have pulled more people over around 2021 holidays than they had in 2019 and 2020. Fourth of July, Labor Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Halloween all saw increases in the number of DUI arrests compared to 2020. In particular, 2021 Halloween arrests were more than Halloween arrests in 2019 and 2020 combined.

The day before Thanksgiving is the first day to be extra careful on the roads this holiday season; the NHTSA reports that 800 people died in the U.S. due to DUI accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday period from 2013 to 2017. Popularly known as “Whisky Wednesday”, the day before Thanksgiving will be a day when state troopers to pull over more people than they typically would.

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 a recent opinion from an Arizona court involving a DUI stop, the defendant’s request for evidence to be suppressed was denied. The defendant was found guilty of drug possession. He appealed, arguing the police officer’s search of his vehicle was illegal. The appellate court denied the appeal because it found that there were no legal issues with the officer’s DUI stop and that he did, in fact, have probable cause to search the defendant’s vehicle. Because of what the officer found during the DUI stop, the defendant was charged with much more serious crimes, including possession of drugs for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, a police officer in Arizona stopped a speeding vehicle driven by an acquaintance of the defendant. Once the officer stopped the car, he noticed the defendant sitting in the back seat with an alcohol container by his feet. The officer searched the vehicle and began a DUI investigation, all the while noticing that the defendant seemed “abnormally nervous.” Upon a thorough search, the officer discovered a 122-gram bag of methamphetamine in the glove box and a smaller bag in the console. He also found a glass pipe. Later, the defendant was charged with possession of dangerous drugs for sale, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of alcohol in a motor vehicle.

The defendant appealed, arguing that the drugs should be suppressed because the officer did not have permission to search his vehicle. He maintained that because the officer did not have probable cause to conduct the search, the incriminating evidence should not have been used at trial.

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