Posts tagged ‘DUI’

October 6, 2011

Under What Circumstances Can a Person Be Arrested for a DUI?

In Arizona, “driving under the influence” statutes define a person’s ability to operate a vehicle in multiple ways. Listed below are explanations and definitions of Arizona’s DUI classifications:

MISDEMEANOR DUI’s

1.    A “DUI” is operating a vehicle while impaired to the slightest degree. Impairment may be from alcohol, drugs, or some other method by which the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle is somehow compromised. In other words, one does not need to be drinking to pulled over and ticketed for a DUI in Arizona.

2.    A person cited for “Per Se DUI” is a person whose blood alcohol content is above 0.08 within 2 hours of driving. A Per Se DUI is the offense people usually refer to when they, or someone they know, has been arrested for drinking while driving.

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May 15, 2011

Implied Consent in Arizona

Under Arizona law, driving on the State’s roadways is a privilege and not a right. A person must apply for a license to drive a vehicle in Arizona. Once Arizona’s Motor Vehicle Division issues a person’s driver’s license, the person impliedly agrees to give his or her consent to have his or her breath, blood, or urine tested when a police officer suspects that person of driving under the influence of alcohol or some other substance. Arizona’s current state law imposes this presumption of implied consent.

The consequences for violating the implied consent law in Arizona are severe. If you refuse an officer’s request to submit to a test involving your breath, blood, or urine, the officer generally will serve you with a notice that suspends your license for 12 months. Moreover, the officer may detain you seek and obtain a warrant perform the test against your will. You may request a hearing at the MVD to determine the validity of the suspension. If you request such a hearing, the MVD will not suspend your license until making a determination following the hearing.

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March 9, 2011

DUI and the Consequences

Arizona law enforcement agencies made over 3,500 DUI arrests from November 25th to January 1st. Most of those people charged with Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated have no experience with the legal system nor have any idea about what their options are. Instead their minds are probably filled with questions about possible jail time, the fines and fees involved, license suspension, and treatment program or community service involvement.

In Arizona there is a drunk driving law that prohibits a person from driving when they have a concentration of 0.08 percent of alcohol in their blood system, and this is the standard measurement used in all states. (If the person is a commercial driver, the limit is 0.04.) If convicted there are fees, fines, possible jail time, license suspension, and the installation of an ignition interlock device. For a first time offense this could range from $600-several thousand dollars, 24 hours up to 180 days of jail time, 90 days to 1 year license suspension, the cost of the ignition interlock device to the offender, and possible community service. These penalties increase with the 2nd and 3rd offense. In addition to the above, being convicted of a standard DUI in Arizona is a Misdemeanor Criminal Conviction. However, this could rise to the level of a Felony Conviction in certain circumstances, such as if this was the 2nd or more DUI convictions, there was a minor in the vehicle, the driver was on a suspended or revoked license, or there was serious injury or death.

You can see that the Arizona penalties for DUI are harsh but diverse. The need for obtaining a good lawyer early is crucial. Having an attorney whom you have selected is better than having a court ordered attorney or signing a waiver that gives up your right to an attorney. You are then on your own and likely lack the needed understanding of the law. You should know that you have given your consent to a chemical test (blood, breath, urine) just by getting behind the wheel in Arizona. A good attorney is there to answer your questions, to give you good advice, perhaps to challenge the blood alcohol testing and its reliability, and to prove that you were not impaired while driving. Know that The Carroll Law Firm is there to represent you when faced with a DUI arrest or conviction. We are only a phone call away.

December 2, 2010

Staying Safe During the Holidays

Do you have any idea what the number 10,839 represents? It is the number of people killed by an impaired driver in the United States last year.  In Arizona (AZ) alone, there were over 14,000 arrests made in 2009 for those driving while under-the-influence; and 4,500 of these came between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  Unfortunately, the holiday season is notorious for examples of people having one more drink at the office party, or enjoying an extra cocktail with a friend while remembering old times, or maybe just making a poor decision because of reduced judgment.

The Drunk Driving Fines and Penalties in Arizona range from the 1st offense having a base fee of $250 with a number of additional charges possible, to jail time with a minimum of 24 hours up to 10 days, or license suspension from 90 to 360 days.  The court may also order the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device. Obviously, if it is the 2nd or 3rd conviction, the penalties drastically increase.  The measurement of 0.08 percent Blood Alcohol Concentration is the standard measurement used to determine if a driver is “impaired.” There is not an exact answer if you are wondering how many drinks would result in this measurement of 0.08.  Each individual has different characteristics that result in a different amount of alcohol needed to reach that measurement.  It really takes very little alcohol to make a person legally drunk, and so it is best not to drink before driving.

This holiday make good choices for yourself, your family, and for others.  Taking that extra drink begins with a choice and can end with a tragedy that could have been prevented.  Remember that the Arizona DUI Task Force, which began 20 years ago when two officers were killed by a drunk driver, is increasing their number of officers and setting up routine checkpoints to help make this a safer holiday season for all. Drive Safely!

November 24, 2010

The Legal Limits of Holiday Spirits

With this past weekend’s annual Anthem Tree Lighting Ceremony at a close and the temperature continuing to drop towards the digits that make most of the country envy us Arizonians (at least during the most wonderful time of the year), it is safe to say that the holidays finally have come again to the Valley of the Sun. But along with the hallmark sounds of sleigh bells and carols comes a far less pleasant sound that is rapidly becoming a staple of the holiday season: police sirens.

As Arizona residents gear up for holiday festivities, police across the state are preparing for the sharp increase in DUI violations that come as a result of a little too much holiday cheer. Special DUI enforcement in Arizona typically begins with Thanksgiving weekend and carries through past New Year’s Day, and results in more DUI arrests than any other time of the year.

The number of DUIs issued last December accounted for 19% of the total DUI arrests for 2009. Goodwill towards men does not factor into these seasonal citations, nor does it have a bearing on Arizona sentencing guidelines, which continue to carry the harshest DUI penalties in the country. A person convicted of driving under the influence faces the penalty of jail time ranging from 15 to 120 consecutive days alongside thousands of dollars in fines, fees and court costs and a host of other penalties, including revocation of driver’s license and installation of an ignition interlock device.

So to keep your holidays merry, bright and DUI-free, remember the following:

*        Many assume New Years Eve results in the largest number of DUI citations, but statistics show that the majority of seasonal DUIs occur over Thanksgiving.

*       Though the legal limit remains .08 year round, being below the limit does not necessarily mean you’re in the clear to drive. Even if you’re below the limit, if an officer has reason to believe that you are impaired to the slightest degree they do have the discretion to arrest you.

*         If you are stopped for DUI, mind your manners! Should the incident go to trial, the court often relies on the testimony of the arresting officer. Believe it or not, your behavior counts and will have an impact on the process.

*        The number of police cars patrolling the holidays will be matched by the number of taxis. Transportation companies also anticipate the increase of party-goers in need of a safe ride home. Furthermore, in the spirit of the season, many companies are offering bonuses such as a free ride back to your car the next morning.

*        Though the results of a breathalyzer or blood test do carry heavy evidentiary weight, an unfavorable result does not alone guarantee guilt or innocence. DUI cases often times relies heavily on procedural details, and it is important to have your case reviewed by a competent attorney who is well-versed in the common pitfalls of litigation.

On behalf of our attorneys at The Carroll Law Firm PLC, we’d like to wish you a safe and happy holiday season. We look forward to meeting all of your legal needs in the New Year!