Weapons Misconduct Following a DUI Stop
Police officers are constantly looking for ways to make an arrest. Often, an officer will use any justifiable reason to initiate a traffic stop in hopes of discovering other evidence of wrongdoing that may or may not be related to the reason for the initial stop. One of the most common tools officers use to carry out these fishing expeditions are DUI traffic stops. However, while police officers are allowed to stop drivers for pretextual reasons, they are not allowed to stop them for illegal reasons. Thus, if an officer cannot justify a traffic stop, any evidence they recover during the stop must be suppressed—including weapons. At the Law Offices of James E. Novak, we proudly represent drivers who were stopped under suspicion of DUI and then arrested for weapons misconduct.What Is Weapons Misconduct?
Officially called “misconduct involving weapons,” the Arizona weapons misconduct statute is a law that prohibits a wide range of conduct related to the use and possession of deadly weapons. Under the terms of the statute, “deadly weapon” refers to anything that “is designed for lethal use,” including firearms.
There are many different ways that you can be arrested for violating the weapons misconduct law. However, in the context of a DUI stop, the most common is by carrying a deadly weapon in your vehicle. Thus, these cases often come up when an officer pulls someone over on suspicion of DUI, decides to search their car, and then recovers a firearm or some other type of deadly weapon.
While a firearm is considered a deadly weapon under § 13-3102, it is not a crime if the firearm is carried:
- In a way that any portion of the firearm is visible;
- In a holster that is entirely or partially visible;
- In a carrying case that is completely or partially visible;
- In luggage; or
- In a case that is kept in the storage compartment of the vehicle, such as the trunk.
A violation of this section of the weapons misconduct statute is a Class 3 misdemeanor, which is punishable by 2.5 to 7 years in jail and fines of at least $750.Other Defenses to Weapons Misconduct Following a DUI Stop
One of the most successful defenses to weapons misconduct following a DUI stop involves challenging the officer’s reason for stopping you. Police officers cannot pull you over for just any reason; they need to have either reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that you committed, are committing or are about to commit a crime.
If an officer suspects that you are driving under the influence, this may give them the legal authority to stop you. However, they need to be able to point to specific reasons that gave them that impression. For example, if you were swerving in and out of a lane and were not maintaining a consistent speed, it may give the officer probable cause to believe you were impaired. However, an officer cannot pull you over just because you were seen leaving a bar with a few friends right as the bar closed. And remember, you never need to consent to a search of your vehicle because, if an officer has probable cause to search it, they do not need your permission.Have You Been Arrested for Weapons Misconduct Following a DUI Stop?
If you were recently arrested and charged with DUI or another crime following a DUI stop, reach out to the Law Office of James E. Novak. Attorney Novak is a veteran criminal defense attorney with more than 20 years of experience defending clients from DUI, weapons misconduct, drug charges and more. He is immediately available to meet with you, answer your questions, and discuss what defenses you may have against the charges you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Novak today, call 480-413-1499.