Recent blog posts

Patrick Maloney granted clemencyIn a rather unexpected move, Governor Jan Brewer granted clemency to a man who has spent 50 years in prison for allegedly killing his mother and stepfather in 1964. Patrick Maloney was 16 years old at the time of the killings and is now 65. He has spent the large majority of his life in prison for the killings, but will be released on March 20 on terms of parole.

Maloney was originally sentenced to life with no chance of parole. By reducing his sentence to 45 years to life, Brewer made it possible for him to be paroled. There was no explanation for the governor's decision, although a spokesman said it was not based on time already served for the crime. A state board had recommended the decision four years prior to Brewer's announcement.

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arizona wildcats riotIt was not Arizona's finest hour when police officers responded with force to "riots" after the University of Arizona's basketball team lost to Wisconsin in the Elite Eight playoff game. According to reports, 15 people were arrested for misdemeanors including unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct. Only one of those arrested was kept in jail while the other 14 were cited and released. It is unclear if those who were arrested were University students.

At least eight police squads, some equipped with batons, firearms and masks, stood at the main gate square at the beginning of the game. Air units were also in the area and could be heard flying overhead.

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sierra vista police duiThe Sierra Vista Police Department is being rewarded with three new vehicles for their ongoing efforts to prevent DUI accidents, according to a recent report. The vehicles include a motorcycle, an SUV and a van. The Governor's Office of Highway Safety hopes that the addition of the van will help the police department prevent more DUI accidents. The van contains rolling "checkpoint" equipment so that officers can conduct sobriety tests on the spot in rural areas.

The motorcycle and SUV are the result of a grant that pays for new vehicles for small police departments. Both of these vehicles will be used in daily traffic enforcement that includes targeting both impaired and aggressive drivers.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_schwab_dui_in_flight.jpgDo you want to be able to get your favorite craft beer while flying high in the sky? Well wait no more! In response to changing consumer tastes, US Airlines announced the company will be making specialty beers such as Sam Adams available for purchase for $5 to $7 a can.

Typically, inflight alcohol sales have been predominantly liquors and wines with sales reaching up to $38 million. Craft beer is becoming increasingly popular with drinkers who are growing weary of the mass market beers. The craft beer industry had nationwide sales of $14.3 billion during 2013, and this move will not only increase those sales but will also create brand awareness.

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what to do duiDouglas Schwab represents many Arizona DUI clients each year, and it seems the same questions continue to occur every time. Should I cooperate with arresting officers and give my blood voluntarily? Should I perform field sobriety tests? If it is my first DUI, should I save the money I would spend on a DUI attorney and pay my fines instead?

Here are some of the answers to some of the most common DUI questions. You can find out more answers by talking to Douglas Schwab about your case.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_schwab_dui_minors_involved.jpgThere is an entire section of the Arizona criminal code devoted to the subject of minors and alcohol. With very few exceptions, Arizona prohibits the sale or distribution of alcohol to those under 21. The two exceptions allowed by law are alcohol given to minors for religious or medicinal purposes, and even these exceptions are strictly controlled.

DUI and Minors: A Serious Situation

There are also several special conditions that can cause a person to be charged with a crime involving minors and alcohol, such as drinking and driving with a minor the vehicle. In Arizona, a person commits a Class 6 felony when he or she drives drunk with a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle. This means that if you are convicted of DUI and a child under 15 was in the car with you, you could face up to one year in prison even with a clean record. If you have other felony convictions, you could spend up to 4.5 years in jail and pay up to $150,000 in fines.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Arizona_dui_defense_douglasaschwab.jpgWhile many DUI cases result in fines, jail time or other penalties, there are also DUI cases that are dismissed every day due to lack of evidence or other problems. In order to understand how you can be arrested for DUI but then have your charges dismissed, it is important to understand how the criminal justice system works in general. It is also important to remember that one of the biggest components of the criminal justice system is the criminal defense attorney, the person who represents your rights and protects you from violations of those rights. Douglas Schwab is ready to help you fight for your rights if you are charged with a DUI in Arizona.

The Criminal Justice Process

When you are stopped by a police officer who suspects you are driving under the influence of alcohol, there are a series of events that will take place very quickly. These events are relatively predictable in most cases but they represent the majority of the groundwork that will be laid to determine what happens with the rest of your case. A single mistake by the police during this crucial time could result in a dismissal of your charges.

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dui home detention AZMore and more people are being given home detention in lieu of jail time as Maricopa County continues to increase the price charged per prisoner to house those who are convicted of DUI and other non-violent crimes, according to a recent report.

By 2015, there will be an increase of 3.7 percent to $81.85 per day per inmate to house prisoners in Maricopa County jails. This represents a 45 percent increase from 2006, when the daily rate was $56.23.

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stephen greene super extreme duiIf you are pulled over for DUI, you are already facing the possibility of several serious criminal charges. Making matters worse by running from law enforcement is never advisable. Unfortunately, many drivers panic and simply floor the accelerator in an effort to escape law enforcement officials, especially if they believe they will be charged with DUI.

This may have been the case with a Mohave County man who was arrested on felony charges of unlawful flight after he ran from police who tried to pull him over. According to police reports, Stephen Paige Green, 63, of Kingman, was approached by law enforcement after Mohave County officers received a call about a possibly impaired driver in the vicinity of Marshall Drive and Thompson Avenue. Deputies observed a white SUV driving without lights on Gordon Drive and attempted to pull the vehicle over. The driver allegedly refused to stop and ran from the officers, who were able to apprehend him in the vicinity of Stockton Hill Road and College Drive with the help of Kingman Police.

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dui apartment crashA Chandler, Arizona, family is thankful to be alive after an allegedly drunk driver crashed into their apartment in the wee hours of the morning in a pickup truck, according to police reports. The incident took place near Ray Road and Arizona Avenue when an unidentified driver plowed into the side of a studio apartment, caving in the wall and burying the pickup truck halfway into the building.

Two people were asleep in the apartment when the crash happened but incredibly neither was badly harmed. Both were taken to a local hospital but were treated and released with only minor injuries. One of them, Angelina Romo, said she feels lucky to be alive and was grateful she was asleep on the couch and not in the bedroom where the impact took place.

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dump truckA man who collided with a parked dump truck filled with gravel while fleeing from police was caught and charged with DUI as well as failure to yield and other crimes, according to authorities.

The crash took place on 19th Avenue near the entrance to Interstate 17. A driver failed to yield to officers who ordered him to pull over at 15th Avenue and Roeser Road. The driver fled the scene, but police did not pursue. The driver drove a short distance before crashing into a dump truck filled with gravel on 19th Avenue, prompting an arrest by officers from the Phoenix Police Department who came on the accident scene shortly after the crash.

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Mark Grace DUIMark Grace has been fortunate in that the Arizona Diamondbacks have stuck by him throughout many problems and personal issues. A recent investigative report examined how Grace has "fallen from grace" and how the Diamondbacks have supported him, even through two drunken driving arrests. Some fans have applauded the team's support of one of its own, while others decry the support of a man who has broken the law not once but twice.

Mark Grace's story includes a four-month stint in the Maricopa County Tent City jail after being arrested for drunk driving in 2011 and 2012. He lost his broadcasting job and lost face with many of his fans during this time. However, the career .303 hitter kept his job as a rookie hitting instructor and was even named hitting coach for the Hillsboro Hops.

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super extreme dui arizonaArizona’s super extreme DUI laws were passed in an effort to address the growing problem of drivers with very high blood alcohol content levels. A recent northwest Arizona arrest highlights this issue as a man was arrested with a blood alcohol level of three times the legal limit.

Stephen Paige Greene, 63, was arrested for super extreme DUI and felony unlawful flight from a police vehicle after the Kingman man allegedly attempted to elude officers during a chase. Police were called on reports of an impaired driver and spotted the white sport-utility vehicle in Mohave County.

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waste-management-phoenix-openThe weekend of the Super Bowl was also the weekend of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, a popular golf tournament attended by hundreds in the area and considered by some to be more “cocktail party” than competition. The combination of these two sporting events may equate to the perfect storm for DUI arrests.

Authorities were not shy about posting their plans for Super Bowl weekend. According to a statement issued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, DUI patrols were stepped up on Super Bowl Sunday, and local patrols were watching for golf tournament participants who may have had too much to drink.

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female chain gang arizonaArizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is famous—or notorious, depending your perspective—for his tough stance on crime. Super Bowl Sunday, Sheriff Joe struck again, dispatching an all-female chain gang to clean up the streets of trash wearing traditional black-and-white-striped garb.

Calling the group a “DUI chain gang,” Arpaio says that he wants to remind the public of the consequences of drinking and driving. He noted that 15 women will be assigned the job of cleaning up trash from the state trust land near Scottsdale Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in the northern section of Scottsdale. He also noted that the women volunteer to be part of the chain gang.

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Arizona traffic stopIt is very possible that if you are pulled over and a police officer suspects you are drinking and driving you will be asked to perform field sobriety tests and answer questions. While it is easy to think in terms of “cooperating” with the police like a good citizen, the ugly truth is that anything you say or do will probably wind up being used against you. Therefore, it is usually better not to “cooperate” with the police to the extent of giving them material to use against you at trial.

Favorite Tricks the Police Will Use

Here are a list of things that the police will often say or do when they pull someone over for DUI. Read this list carefully so that you will have some idea of what you may expect from the police if you are ever pulled over for drunk driving.

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lake havasu drug bustReports indicate that two drug dealers were indicted, along with 16 other people, in Mohave County by a Grand Jury recently. The two men, Dale Clement, 55, and Ralph Sizemore, 35, each received eight counts based on two separate investigations into alleged drug activity.

Clement was arrested following a months-long investigation by Lake Havasu City law enforcement and detectives from the Mohave Area General Narcotics Enforcement Team as well as other officials. Clement is alleged to have sold methamphetamine in several buys and was finally arrested at his home on Maricopa Avenue. After he was taken into custody, police served three search warrants on his home and a storage unit on Sweetwater Avenue. They seized approximately 11 ounces of meth, a boat and various electronics from the locations. Clement was indicted on four counts of drug sales, two counts of paraphernalia possession and weapons misconduct.

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Justin LaClereA former Phoenix Police Department officer’s testimony was completely disregarded by a jury in a DUI case, leading to a not guilty verdict for the accused woman. Officer Justin LaClere, 32, who resigned from the force after a sex scandal involving a 17-year-old girl from Scottsdale, was arrested for sex with a minor after the DUI trial.

The Whole Story: DUI vs. Credibility

This complicated matter began when Michelle Thomas was riding in the back seat of a vehicle while her husband was driving. LaClere allegedly pulled the husband over for failure to stay in his own lane. At the time, he left the vehicle running while he performed field sobriety tests on the husband. Thomas remained in the back seat, unable to get out of the car due to the fact that the child safety locks were on.

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blood alcohol contentOne of the hardest things for many people to understand is the fact that, in Arizona, you can be charged and even convicted of DUI without having a .08 percent blood alcohol content. Most people have become so used to the “.08 cutoff” that they simply assume that if your BAC is less than .08 percent you will walk away from a DUI charge. This is not true; in fact, there are several cases in which you can be charged with a DUI with a blood alcohol content of well less than .08 percent. For example:

  • Bus drivers and commercial truck drivers. The cutoff for a per se DUI charge for those operating a vehicle on a commercial license is .04 percent rather than .08 percent.
  • Under 21 drivers. Anyone under 21 can be charged with DUI with any measureable amount of alcohol in the bloodstream under Arizona’s “Zero Tolerance” law.
  • Impairment without blood alcohol per se levels. If you cause an accident or commit some type of dangerous driving error, it is possible that the police will pursue an impairment conviction without a supporting blood alcohol level.
  • Using drugs. Any use of marijuana, narcotics or other drugs can result in an impairment charge.
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first time dui interlockBeing arrested for DUI is always stressful and can be intimidating. However, some people believe that a first-time DUI will not result in serious penalties. Nothing could be further from the truth: in fact, Arizona has some of the toughest first-time DUI penalties in the nation. If possible, you want to avoid any DUI conviction, but if you cannot completely avoid a conviction you want to minimize your penalties to the greatest extent possible.

What Does DUI Mean in Arizona?

Arizona law provides for any adult who is operating a vehicle while “mentally or physically” impaired to be charged with DUI. Many people assume that this means you must have a blood alcohol level of .08 percent, but this is not true. The .08 percent mark is simply the legal cutoff for “per se” impairment, meaning that the police do not have to prove you were impaired; the court will simply assume that you were.

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arizona implied consentThose who have been arrested for DUI sometimes ask if they are required to submit to a blood alcohol test or if they can be forced to do so. In Arizona, the answer is yes.

What Do Arizona’s DUI Laws Allow Police To Do?

Under Arizona law, the police must have probable cause to pull over and arrest someone for DUI. In the case of sobriety checkpoints, the courts have upheld that the police can test or submit someone for testing based on observation even though the police did not technically “pull over” the vehicle. Police observation of suspicious behavior is generally understood to mean slurred speech, bloodshot eyes or a smell of alcohol or to be based on the person’s behavior and demeanor.

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Bridger KimballThe recent plea by a Maricopa City Council member to DUI has prompted a closer look at the plea system in place that may allow suspects to plead to lesser charges pending the outcome of blood alcohol tests. Bridger Kimball was arrested while driving home from a friend’s house in Chandler, but officers could not obtain an accurate reading on his blood alcohol level through breath tests. His blood was drawn and sent to the crime lab for analysis.

In the meantime, Kimball was allowed to plead to a Class 1 misdemeanor DUI before the blood test results were returned. It turned out that his BAC was .285, nearly three-and-one-half times the legal limit of .8. Under Arizona law, Kimball should have received at least 45 days in jail and at least $3,000 in fines as well as losing his license for a minimum of 90 days and being required to install an ignition interlock device, none of which happened in this case. Instead, Kimball received the same punishment as a first-time DUI offender with a blood alcohol percentage of around .08.

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dui pedestrian accidentA Tempe, Arizona, Wal-Mart parking lot was the scene of an accident involving a pedestrian and an allegedly drunk driver and illustrates the reality of pedestrian DUI cases in this state.

The series of accidents began when a 31-year-old woman was allegedly driving under the influence and collided with a car turning onto Rural Road from Southern Avenue. The impact caused the vehicle to spin out and strike a third car. The woman then allegedly fled the scene, driving quickly through a Wal-Mart parking lot. There, she collided with yet another vehicle, causing that car to spin and strike a woman who was exiting the store at the time. Her car also hit several other cars in the parking lot.

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arizona duiFor the first time in a decade, the total number of DUIs in Arizona is lower than the year before.  In 2013, there were slightly more than 29,000 DUI arrests across the state, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.  This represents a drop of about 3,000 total arrests from 2012’s numbers.  Almost 4,000 of these arrests occurred in the period between November 25 and December 31.

While this may seem like encouraging news, a closer look at the other statistics surrounding these numbers tells a slightly different story.  DUI remains a big problem for Arizona drivers, and those who are arrested for this crime face ever-more-stringent penalties.

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arizona drivers licenseOne of the most crippling effects of a DUI conviction is the loss of a driver's license.  Unfortunately, most people do experience at least a temporary license suspension in the wake of a DUI, but there are also cases in which people are allowed at least provisional use of their license and others in which the license is reinstated completely after a brief period of time.  What happens to your driver's license depends on the circumstances of your DUI and the ultimate resolution of your case.  This is one reason why hiring a DUI attorney makes sense.  A DUI attorney like Douglas Schwab may be able to help you avoid losing your license altogether or hasten the time when your license is reinstated.

What Happens To My License If I Am Charged With DUI?

What happens to your driver's license in Arizona depends on the circumstances of your DUI.  If your blood alcohol test results show more than .08 percent, it is likely that your license will be suspended for a period of time.  While the most common term is 90 days, many people become eligible for a provision reinstatement of their driver's license after 30 days if the DUI is their first.  Subsequent DUIs normally result in longer suspension periods.

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immigration criminal lawImmigration continues to be a hot topic in Arizona, and programs aimed at decriminalizing immigrants often meet with resistance from various facets of the population.  However, many people do not understand that some immigrants become criminals without actually being violent or even intending to break the law.

Douglas Schwab, a criminal defense attorney, offers help to anyone who is charged with a crime.

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vandalism tresspass evadingSometimes, our best efforts turn out to have a different effect than the one we intend.  When a number of buildings in Thatcher were tagged with graffiti, it turned out that the miscreant was not a gang member or a vandal but a young man who wanted to do something in his grandfather's memory.

James Spurgeon, 31, was living in Holladay, Utah, when his grandfather passed away.  He visited Thatcher and spray-painted the phrase "Abner, gone but not forgotten, 1924-2012" on several buildings.  His blood alcohol content at the time was measured at .157.  He attempted to evade capture by the police by fleeing but was apprehended close to the scene of the crime.  After his arrest, officers found other locations that had been similarly marked.

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arizona dui courtLawyers who represent those charged with DUI have many stories of clients who have made matters infinitely worse in court by saying or doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.  If you are charged with a crime, what you say can be used against you, so it is important to know how to conduct yourself to minimize the effects of a DUI charge.

This is one of the biggest reasons to hire a DUI attorney.  Douglas Schwab represents those who have been charged with driving under the influence and helps them fight these charges and minimize the consequences of a DUI.

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holidy drinkingThe holiday season for DUIs now stretches from "Blackout Wednesday," the day before Thanksgiving, through New Year's Day, according to data from several organizations.  Binge drinking and drunk driving peak around this time of year and, as a result, police officers are out in full force to arrest those who get behind the wheel after drinking.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that around 725 people will be killed every day between Thanksgiving and New Year's in drunk driving accidents throughout the United States.  This number is between two and three times higher than all other days of the year.

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Arizona Drivers License duiIn the first rush of a DUI charge, most people are worried about staying out of jail and paying off the heavy fines that could be incurred.  When the dust settles, and the DUI has been dispatched, there may be lingering problems that are not obvious during the first few weeks of excitement surrounding a DUI charge.

For example, when a person first hears that he or she will lose the privilege of driving for a few months, it may not seem like a big deal.  However, having to get up every morning and bum a ride to work with friends or family can cause all sorts of friction and problems after a very short period of time.  Unfortunately, losing your license to drive for some period of time is almost inevitable with an Arizona DUI conviction.

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survive a duiThere are many people who will be quick to tell you that people who are charged with DUI "deserves what they get."  This judgmental attitude is not surprising when you consider the focus on the horrifying effects of DUI accidents and their impact on the innocent.  Certainly, stopping DUIs should be everyone's goal, but in the meantime, those who are accused often suffer terrible trauma without being able to talk to anyone about it.

DUI is a secret sort of crime.  Most people who get one do not want to talk about it.  They certainly do not want their friends and relatives to know about it.  Unfortunately, in the Information Age, it is likely that evidence is already up in abundance on the Internet.  The fact is that someone, somewhere may find out about the DUI, and if one person knows others may also learn about it.

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08 bacOne of the most dangerous misconceptions about DUI in Arizona is that anyone who registered a blood or breath alcohol content of .08 percent is automatically guilty of a DUI, and anyone who registers lower than that is automatically innocent.  This misconception has caused countless people to lose the opportunity to defend themselves against a DUI charge only to find out that their strategy is based on false logic.  A DUI attorney should always be consulted before entering any pleas to any type of DUI case or any time a person is charged with this crime.

What Does Per Se Intoxication Mean?

The confusion about the .08 percent blood alcohol content "limit" may arise from a misunderstanding of what the law says about driving while intoxicated.  .08 percent BAC has been established as the level at which a prosecutor no longer needs to prove that an individual is impaired by alcohol.  It is assumed that anyone with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher is impaired, freeing the prosecution to focus on the other aspects of the case. 

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second offense duiWhen you were in college, you got a DUI and pled guilty.  You did community service and paid a fine, eventually got your license back and moved on with your life.  You were only 21 years old, and you were in school.  It seemed smart back then to simply take the punishment and move on.

Today, you are 28 years old with a successful job and are starting a family.  That 21-year-old has little to do with your current life; in fact, you hardly ever think about that old DUI.  Then, one evening, your work colleagues invite you to a bar to celebrate a co-worker's retirement.  You have a few beers and head home.  On the way, you encounter a roadblock and are stopped and asked to submit to field sobriety tests.  You are then given a blood test which shows that you have a BAC of .08.

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drinks impairmentDo you know when you are too drunk to drive? Chances are that you believe you can tell when you can beat a DUI charge, and the chances are that you are wrong. If you drink any alcohol at all and drive, there is a danger that you can be charged with DUI. DUI defense attorney Douglas Schwab offers some tips for avoiding the trap of overconfidence and the subsequent DUI charges that may follow.

But I Don't Feel Drunk!

One of the most common statements heard after an unsuccessful attempt to pass a Breathalyzer test is, "But I don't feel drunk!" Many people are truly shocked when they see their BAC on the screen. In fact, many people believe the Breathalyzer is wrong rather than believe that they could be impaired.

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marijuana duiThe recent turnover in the law regarding the possession of marijuana for medical purposes has caused an uproar in DUI circles.  Judges are scrambling to figure out how to fairly assess the use of marijuana for the purposes of DUI convictions that will withstand the test of higher courts.   As more people are arrested and charged with DUI from marijuana use, the question will only become more complicated.  Douglas Schwab provides DUI defense representation for those who are charged with driving under the influence of any substance.

The Problem With Marijuana

The real problem with marijuana is that there is no reliable test for how often or how much marijuana someone has smoked.  The only way to know for sure that someone has used it recently is to do a urine test within 48 hours.  Even then, the urine test often does not show a concentration that can be reliably said to indicate "intoxication."  A blood test is usually used to identify those who have smoked marijuana, but the blood residue could be weeks old.  Someone who smoked marijuana four weeks previous to his or her arrest is obviously not still intoxicated, but can be charged with a DUI all the same under current practice.

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dui guilty pleaIf you receive a DUI charge, especially a first-time charge, you may be asked to plead guilty in exchange for a "lighter" sentence.  You may be told that if you plead guilty to your first DUI that you will avoid most of the penalties that can occur if you are convicted.  However, what the authorities may not tell you is that pleading guilty to a DUI can result in more serious penalties down the road if you are ever in trouble again, even for things not related to a DUI.

Douglas Schwab is ready to speak to you about your DUI and help you decide if a guilty plea is the right course of action in your case.  Some people can benefit from not pleading guilty to a DUI, while for others it is the best option.  A DUI defense attorney can help you decide on the right resolution to your own particular case.

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reality dui convictionYou may believe that your first DUI conviction is not serious enough to warrant hiring an attorney.  It may seem that by pleading guilty to this DUI you can quickly put the incident behind you, pay a fine and move on with your life.  Unfortunately, many people find out that this is not true after it is too late.

Even a first-time DUI conviction can have long-term consequences.  Some of the problems you may face as the result of a DUI conviction are:

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arizona dui interlockIf you have recently received a DUI conviction, you may have been required to install and use an ignition interlock device as part of your sentencing.  What is an IID and why are you required to have one?  More importantly, how does this device affect your driving privileges?

What An Ignition Interlock Device Does

An ignition interlock device or IID is a device that keeps your car from starting until you take a breath test by blowing into a device on the dashboard.  This device measures your breath alcohol concentration and if you have been drinking will not allow your car to start.

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arizona dui blood drawProsecutors in Scottsdale argued that a judge should not have dismissed DUI cases that involved questionable handling of blood samples by a particular lab, according to news sources.

Scottsdale Judge Jerry Bernstein recently barred prosecutors from using blood evidence in 11 aggravated DUI cases.  Judge Bernstein made his ruling after DUI defense attorneys showed that the lab used to test the blood was operating with faulty equipment and that the lab workers did not meet the scientific standards set by the state.

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dui roadblockYou are coming home late one night from a party or football game when suddenly you see cars stopped ahead and police officers with light bars blazing.  Your first thought may be that there was an accident, but soon you notice that each car is being subjected to screening.  It is a roadblock, and the officers are probably checking for drunk drivers as well as license and registration.

You think back quickly to the beers you consumed during the game.  Are you over the limit?  What should you do when you pull up to the roadblock?  Can you legally refuse a field sobriety test?  These are all questions that may run through your mind.  Here are some tips on what to do if you are faced with a roadblock and how to minimize your exposure to a possible DUI charge.

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madd dui enforcer of the yearMothers Against Drunk Driving is a powerful organization that has been instrumental in having many laws passed throughout the nation that have affected the way DUI cases are handled.  MADD has widespread public support and often honors police officers and lawmakers it considers supportive of the organization’s goals.

Recently, a Navajo County sheriff’s deputy was honored with the 2013 DUI Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award.  According to reports, Asher Davis received the award from MADD AZ founder Stan Marks for his work in making DUI arrests including 46 blood draws in the past year.  Davis is a qualified phlebotomist and is certified to draw blood for DUI sampling.

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tempe pd safe and soberThe Tempe Police Department has begun Phase Two of its Safe & Sober campaign and kicked off the event with 58 DUI arrests in a three-day period.

According to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, targeting alcohol-related crimes of all types of the Arizona State University campus has been the focus of this phase of the campaign.  To that end, patrols were increased and stops were frequent for DUI checks.  The average BAC of those arrested in the latest sweep was .138, nearly twice the legal limit.  Thirteen drivers were arrested for extreme DUI and six for super extreme DUI.

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carmen garcia conspiracyCarmen Lynn Fisher Garcia, a criminal defense attorney in Phoenix, has been arrested on charges of conspiracy based on more than 250 criminal acts allegedly committed by her husband, Angel Lopez Garcia, from his prison cell.

According to reports, authorities allege that the Garcias operated a large criminal organization with the wife and attorney facilitating the illegal actions from her position outside the prison.  Four other individuals were also indicated as part of the conspiracy.  The charges include money laundering and solicitation to commit murder.

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University of Arizona DUIA student who was stopped by University of Arizona police was arrested for DUI after he accidentally rolled down the wrong window when talking to the officer.

Police allegedly pulled the student over for initially swerving into the far left lane then jerking the vehicle back into the right lane.  When an officer approached the student’s car, the student rolled down the window in the backseat rather than his own window.  Realizing his error, the student finally found the correct button to roll down the driver’s window. 

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super extreme dui arizonaArizona recognizes different levels of driving under the influence of alcohol. A person whose blood alcohol level is barely .08 is treated differently under the law than someone with a BAC of .24. This is because higher levels of DUI represent a far greater risk to the driver and to others than lower levels.

Blood alcohol percentage increases are not linear. This means that a person who has a blood alcohol content of .16 is not “twice as drunk” as a person with a BAC of .08. Instead, that person might be ten times as drunk or, more specifically, his impairment might be ten times greater. It is almost impossible to predict exactly how alcohol will affect individuals at different levels, but it is generally recognized that those with BACs of .15 or greater pose a much more significant risk to the public than those with lower BACs.

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dui rolloverAs a man’s recent experiences show, being the victim of a serious accident will not prevent authorities from investigating a driver for DUI in Arizona.

According to recent reports, Deputies arrived at South Barney Lane near Solomon Road in Graham County to find that a Chevy pickup had rolled several times during a single-vehicle crash. Evidence at the scene indicated that the truck had crashed into the side of a hill, scattering debris across the road and rupturing the gas tank. The driver had been ejected from the truck and was lying about 75 feet from the vehicle with numerous head lacerations.

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You may have heard drivers speak of having “points” added to their licenses due to driving infractions.  Arizona is one state that uses a points system to determine when a driver’s license should be suspended.  Any driver who has eight or more points added to his or her license within a year is in danger of having the license suspended.

How Many Points Does My Violation Carry?

The Motor Vehicle Department publishes a list of the number of points assigned to various infractions.  DUI, extreme DUI, reckless driving, racing and aggressive driving all carry eight points per conviction.  Leaving the scene of an accident or failure to yield that leads to death carries six points, and speeding carries 3 points, for example.  

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refuse arizona dui testRefusal to take a chemical or other type of test to determine your blood alcohol content in Arizona is a crime.  Arizona has an “implied consent” law.  This means that when your driver’s license is issued in that state, you by implication consent to future tests of blood, breath or urine to determine your alcohol content at the request of an officer of the law or a court.

If you are pulled over or involved in an accident, or if you pass through a checkpoint, and you refuse to give a sample for testing, you can be subject to severe penalties. 

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arizona dui testDid you know that Arizona investigators are permitted to use three types of testing to determine if Arizona drivers are guilty of DUI?  Under the law, officials can test blood, breath and urine for the presence of alcohol.  Together, these tests are known as "chemical tests" because they test for alcohol content using chemical means.

Each type of test has a specific purpose and each can be challenged based on the science of the testing process.

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extreme duiA Douglas man was arrested and charged with "extreme" DUI after he allegedly struck four vehicles in a late August crash.  Douglas police responded to a call in the 800 block of 14th street and located a silver Lincoln with extensive front end damage in the 700 block of 14th.  The driver, Luis Carlos Romero, 37, was detained and transported to jail on suspicion of DUI. 

Investigation revealed that Romero allegedly struck a total of four vehicles between the 700 and 800 block of 14th street, including a 1999 Dodge van, a 1999 Chevy truck, a 1999 Ford sedan and a 1999 Pontiac sedan. 

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arizona dui bacDid you know that .08 blood alcohol content is not necessarily required to make a DUI arrest in the state of Arizona?  If you did not realize that you could be arrested even if you have only had one drink, read on to find out the facts about Arizona DUI law and why you may need an attorney if you are stopped by an officer for driving under the influence.

No .08 BAC Required

Every state has now adopted .08 percent as the "limit" at which most DUI charges start.  This means that a person must have his or her blood tested and .08 percent or higher must show to be alcohol before most courts will allow prosecutors to bring a DUI charge.  However, not every state has .08 as the ultimate BAC limit, and Arizona is one of them.

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phoenix officer extreme duiA Phoenix police officer is facing extreme DUI charges after being arrested in August in Mountain View precinct.  The officer, 36-year-old Lori Demski, is a nine-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department.  Officer Demsky was arrested after neighbors alerted authorities that they had seen her drive away from her home in what appeared to be an intoxicated state.  When officers arrived at the home, Demsky was returning in her car.  She was tested and her blood alcohol results were at least .20 percent.  In Arizona, .15 percent is considered extremely intoxicated and is twice the normal limit.  Officials are awaiting confirmation of the exact blood alcohol level in her body before making charges.  That process can take up to six weeks.

Under Arizona law, the degree to which she was intoxicated will determine Demski's punishment if she is convicted.  Although everything over .15 percent is considered extreme DUI, BACs of .20 or more result in at least 45 days jail time and double the fines normally associated with a DUI.

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dui checkpoint stolen carA driver was arrested in connection with a stolen vehicle that passed through a DUI checkpoint in southeastern Arizona. The truck, a black 2001 Silverado, was found to have a license plate belonging to a different vehicle.

The driver of the truck was ordered to stop by police on State Route 90 near Colonia De Salud but instead turned south on Moson Road. The truck traveled to Blaze Way and Pintek Lane where it was forced to stop due to significant vehicle damage.

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marijuana dui labor dayApproximately one out of every six DUI arrests this Labor Day weekend in Arizona were drug rather than alcohol related, according to data released from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.  These figures have some wondering if the new drug laws allowing the use of medical marijuana are contributing to the increase in drug-related DUIs.  Others argue that these numbers are not out of line given the use of marijuana in the general population with or without medical marijuana permission.

The Facts About DUI Arrests in Arizona

During the month leading up to the 2013 Labor Day holiday weekend, officials arrested approximately 800 drivers statewide for some form of DUI.  The Pima County Sheriff’s office alone made 400 traffic stops that led to 20 DUI arrests and the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office made four DUI arrests. 

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dui checkpoint arizonaLabor Day DUI stops were more frequent over the holiday weekend, and several checkpoints were made possible by grant funding from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.  In Prescott, the increased police presence resulted in 111 traffic stops and seven DUI arrests. 

DUI Saturation Patrols were sent out by the Tri-City DUI Task Force and included 12 officers from the Prescott Police Department, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.  Although there were relatively few DUI arrests made, those that were showed a surprising trend toward extremely inebriated drivers.

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college duiNorthern Arizona’s University Mountain Campus in Flagstaff is opening its doors to nearly 1,000 more students than last year. In fact, the freshman class alone has increased its enrollment by 11.5 percent. There are more than 8,000 students living in on-campus housing, and officials are scrambling to schedule fun events that engage students and keep them out of trouble. This week, a welcome-back dinner, concert and block party are all schedule to make students feel welcome.

Despite these efforts, however, several DUI arrests have already occurred on or around the campus. NAU police officers are staying visible in the hopes of avoiding tragic accidents involving alcohol and students.

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high cost of dui arizonaYou may hear people say, “I only had a few” just before getting into a car and heading off down the road. The same mental block that keeps people from recognizing that they could easily be intoxicated also seems to keep some of those arrested for DUI from recognizing the potential severity of the consequences they face.

The state of Arizona takes DUI very seriously. In 2012, more than 540 people were arrested for DUI in the state with 178, or nearly a third of them, having measured blood alcohol contents of more than .15 percent. This is known as “extreme DUI” and represents a very serious infraction of DUI laws and a very dangerous situation for both the driver and others on the road. These numbers mean that judges and prosecutors have little incentive to reduce charges or consequences for a person arrested for DUI. In fact, public pressure on prosecutors and judges is to increase DUI fines and jail time.

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drunk driving labor dayToo many of us have quietly wondered whether or not we were legally able to drive a vehicle at a certain time or times during our lives yet we still got behind the wheel and started moving down the road. We may have been familiar with where we were going and/or we may have only had a short distance to travel. Many of those times, we have arrived at our destination safely and not had to deal with the potential ramifications of police scrutiny. After these experiences, many of us have forgotten all about them and moved on.

Unfortunately, too many of us have made the mistake of consuming alcohol before operating a vehicle and we have felt that proverbial cold water splash down on us when we saw sirens light up and sound off behind us. We have all but panicked when we got pulled over and investigated on suspicion of DUI only to have those police suspicions confirmed. When you’re arrested for any crime, it’s a terrifying and extremely stressful experience, and in the wake of such an experience many of us simply want to crawl in a hole and hope that it all goes away by the time we reemerge.

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dui defense attorneyDUI is a unique crime in several ways. It is a serious crime in that some people who are convicted of DUI or DUI-related charges even for the first time can face the real prospect of serving some time in jail. However, unlike most serious crimes the investigation for DUI happens very quickly. Therefore, there is usually little or even no time for a suspect to build a defense and to put together a strategy, as the duration between the beginning of an investigation for DUI and an arrest on suspicion of this type of charge in Arizona can take mere minutes.

As such, too many people wind up basically convicting themselves or making matters much worse because of common mistakes that are made. The risk for mistakes in these situations is high because there is often no Arizona DUI defense attorney present and in many cases suspects are extremely frightened, overcome by stress and perhaps actually intoxicated to the point where their ability to make sound decisions is impaired.

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duicheckpoint arizonaLawyers may continue to argue that DUI checkpoints are unconstitutional or are imperfectly administrated, but the public tends to support them and courts respond to this support. This is particularly true when a DUI accident takes the life of an innocent person. Often, after such a tragedy, law enforcement officials ramp up checkpoints, a visible symbol to the public that they are on the job and attempting to prevent the next DUI accident.

DUI checkpoints have not been shown to be extremely effective in lowering DUI incidents. A recent article on the effectiveness of DUI checkpoints shows that relatively few arrests are made, but that experts do believe these stops are deterrents to those who might consider drinking and driving. However, this is almost impossible to measure, and many others point out that checkpoints may actually instigate some accidents by causing drivers to suddenly bolt for fear of an arrest.

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dui blood testIn a rare move by a Superior Court judge, Jerry Bernstein ruled that blood test results will be suppressed in at least 11 felony drunk-driving cases. These cases were consolidated and presented as a unit to the judge based on the validity of blood-testing equipment at the Scottsdale Police Department. The judge’s ruling could potentially affect hundreds of current and past DUI cases. The state is planning on appealing the ruling.

“It Takes Some Courage”

Defense attorneys praised the judge’s ruling, noting that if the equipment is malfunctioning, there is the potential that thousands of DUI cases may be affected. Therefore, according to one attorney, it took “courage” for the judge to make a ruling that could potentially release DUI offenders who have already been convicted or take away evidence that might be used in future cases, especially those that involve death or injury to innocent victims.

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dui forensicsIt may not be CSI: Las Vegas, but advances in forensic technology are allowing Montana and other states to make arrests that would have been impossible even a few years ago.  However, the use of new forensics also brings up legal issues, particularly if someone is accused of DUI or some other crime that could result in significant punishment if the person is convicted.

Supporters of the use of new crime-scene technology point out that brining the guilty to justice and exonerating those who are innocent should be the focus of any law enforcement agency.  However, those who are cautious about the ability of forensics to “solve” crimes point out that evidence is rarely as clear-cut in real life as on television shows, despite the fact that juries often believe forensics should be the ultimate evidence.

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medical marijuanaMedical marijuana cardholders continue to challenge the DUI laws that basically require them to stay home or risk a DUI if they are caught driving while using the drug. Prosecutors have stated that any amount of marijuana residue in the blood stream can be charged as a DUI and that holding a medical marijuana permission card is no defense to the charge. Advocates of legalized marijuana use argue that this places an undue burden on marijuana smokers who should be afforded the same rights as those consuming alcohol: a cutoff above which drivers are considered legally impaired.

Arizona voted to allow legalized marijuana use for medical purposes in the last election. Since that time, battles have raged in the state’s court system over DUIs given to those who ingest or smoke marijuana under the new law. With 18 states and the District of Columbia now allowing medical marijuana use, the battles in Arizona are being watched closely.

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breathalyzerThe highest court in the state of Arizona has made a ruling that may be considered a victory for some drivers accused of DUI and may give those accused a new tool to form a DUI defense. The Supreme Court ruled that defendants can now present evidence of individual DUI factors such as body temperature in cases in which a breath test is performed to argue that they were not legally intoxicated, regardless of the results of such a test.

The ruling could give defendants a powerful tool in combating Breathalyzer readings. The ruling was based on an appeal by a man who was arrested in Tucson in 2010 for DUI based on the findings of a breath test that he claimed were inaccurate. Currently, a breath reading of .05 to .079 allows juries to consider other evidence to determine if a person is intoxicated. A reading of .08 or above allows the jury to presume the defendant was intoxicated.

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victory commanderThe Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has awarded a $180,000 grant to the Marana Police Department to purchase vehicles and equipment as well as to pay for overtime and training programs for police officers and to fund community education. All of these additions are aimed at reducing aggressive driving and driving under the influence.

Marana has experienced no drug- or alcohol-related fatalities since 2008. Part of the grant money awarded to the police department will be used to purchase a DUI enforcement vehicle as well as two Victory police motorcycles. These motorcycles are made in Tucson and will be the first of their kind in service in the United States.

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teen duiA Safford teenager was arrested for driving under the influence after a minor crash on 20th Street and Mason Way.  The teen allegedly collided with a curb, causing substantial damage to the front passenger tire as well as deploying several air bags.


Thomas Del Jesus Hunt, 19, was standing next to the vehicle when officers responded to the call.  He allegedly had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and a smell of alcohol on his person.  His breath alcohol concentration was measured at .204.  He claimed that he was leaving a house on Mason Way when he failed to negotiate the turn at the intersection and crashed into the curb.

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sinking carA strange case that may involve DUI resulted in a woman sitting on top of her sinking car in the middle of a canal when police arrived. Maria Estella Martinez-Hernandez, 39, was discovered in the area of Seventh and Dunlap sitting on top of a car in the Arizona Canal.

Police received a call from Brian Rexroad around 2:30 a.m. Rexroad was traveling home from work when he allegedly saw a car serving across Dunlap Avenue. Upon closer examination, he found that the car had gone into the canal and called 911. Firefighters responding to the scene found Martinez-Hernandez sitting calmly on top of the vehicle, waiting for help.

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arizona dui defenseArizona allows charges of driving under the influence to be brought against anyone over 21 who is driving with a blood alcohol content of more than .08 percent and anyone under 21 who is driving with any blood alcohol percentage. The law in Arizona requires drivers to submit to a chemical blood test upon demand by a police officer; failure to do so will result in suspension of driving privileges.

Arizona police are required to measure your blood alcohol content within two hours of stopping you for DUI. However, even if your blood is taken at a later time, prosecutors may successfully pursue a DUI case.

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dui arizona licenceArizona, like many states, offers a restricted driver’s license options to some drivers convicted of DUI. There are conditions attached to the restricted license with which the driver must comply in order to have the privilege of operating a vehicle, but many drivers are willing to adhere to these conditions in order to be able to drive to work, the store and other necessary places.

How Do I Get A Restricted License?

Not everyone is offered the option of a restricted license after a DUI. If a person has multiple DUI convictions or if there were other crimes attached to the DUI the option may not be available. However, if it is, the law is very specific as to what the driver must do to obtain a restricted license.

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arizona medical marijuana duiThe use of marijuana is now legal for certain residents in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Currently, marijuana use is legal in Arizona with the following restrictions: 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana on the person or up to 12 plants. Arizona also recognizes other states’ registration cards.

However, that does not mean that drivers are free to drive while under the influence of marijuana. In fact, Arizona ironically has a “zero tolerance” policy toward driving while under the influence of marijuana. The drug metabolizes in the blood and officers can check for metabolites just as they can check for blood alcohol content. Drivers who have metabolites in their blood stream could face DUI charges. A marijuana DUI actually has more severe consequences than an alcohol DUI in Arizona, including up to one year of driving privilege suspension.

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GERDWe have been representing clients as Arizona DUI defense lawyers for more than 15 years. During that time, we have defended thousands of suspects who were facing charges of DUI or something related to this crime. We have always made sure that we built the strongest defense possible for our clients based on the facts of the situation, and many times we have built these defenses on the fact that the technology that was used to determine if someone was legally drunk or not was far from perfect. We have earned positive results many times in the past because we successfully proved that something was wrong with the way that evidence was gathered.

The most common way that someone can be ‘investigated’ for DUI in Arizona or anywhere else in the United States is by way of a Breathalyzer machine. Suspects are told to blow into the machine so that their Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC can be measured. If people blow a 0.08 or above, they are considered legally drunk. This type of a machine has been in existence for decades and its accuracy has been challenged many times across the United States. Some of these challenges were successful, and recently a man in Canada also experienced success with his challenge of the accuracy of the Breathalyzer results.

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ignition interlock deviceThousands of people are arrested on suspicion of DUI in Arizona every year, and thousands of people are ultimately convicted of DUI or some related charge that can include aggravated DUI, extreme DUI and others. Arizona is notorious throughout the United States for having some of the toughest penalties in place for people who are convicted of DUI, and even people who are convicted of it for the first time can face spending some time in jail along with having to pay heavy fines and losing their driving privileges for an extended period of time. While the best and most obvious policy for someone to follow with regards to these laws is to avoid driving when consuming alcohol and vice versa, that is not always what happens.

As such, thousands of people every year in Arizona face not only the penalties that are described above if they are convicted of DUI or a related charge, but they will also face the possibility of having to have what is known as an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. This device basically requires someone to pass an on-board breathalyzer test before their vehicles will start and move. If there is alcohol in this person’s system, he or she will not be able to drive that vehicle.

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dui_arizona.jpgDriving while intoxicated happens every day on Arizona highways. In fact, recent statistics show that 60 percent of all adult drivers admit to getting behind the wheel after a few drinks at some point. However, most of these drivers deny that they are “drunk,” outlining a serious problem with DUI: most drivers do not realize when they are legally affected by alcohol.

In response to the widespread problem of DUI, many groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving have put pressure on legislators to toughen up penalties for DUI drivers. This has largely been successful as injury and death numbers due to DUI climbed in the last part of the 20th century. Primarily due to stricter and more uniform DUI enforcement, deaths due to drunk driving are around half of what they were in 1970.

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Jessie_Thornton.jpgIn Arizona, the surprising answer seems to be “yes.” A man was arrested last month in Surprise, Arizona, for DUI although his Breathalyzer results were 0.00.

The 64-year-old man was pulled over by police after he allegedly crossed the white line of his lane. Crossing a line or “weaving” is a common sign of drunk driving. The officer allegedly told the driver that it was obvious that he was DUI by the “look” in his eyes. The driver told the officer that he had been swimming at LA Fitness, but the officer elected to do a sobriety test.

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7th dui arizonaEveryone seems to understand that the criminal justice system takes time to move forward and to reach results. That’s just the way it is and the way it will always be to some extent even with the introduction of technology that will ramp up efficiency. Given that reality, there can be gaps and delays that arise when someone allegedly commits an offense several times before the system ultimately catches up to someone and steps are taken to correct the suspected problem. That is certainly true when it comes to Arizona DUI arrests and convictions, but just because the system can move slowly doesn’t mean that people who commit this crime several times won’t ultimately face serious consequences.

Unfortunately, a man was recently arrested on suspicion of what could be his 7th DUI in Arizona if he is convicted of this most recent charge. This incident marks the seventh time that he has been arrested on suspicion of DUI during the last four years, and three of those DUI arrests have come since January of 2013. According to several published reports, the latest incident is quite troubling because the suspect was allegedly driving on a suspended driver’s license that arose from his previous arrest.

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dui_interlock.jpgWhen ignition interlock devices or IIDs were first released to the public, advocates hailed them as a way to end the problems of license suspension for DUI drivers. Many people convicted of a DUI who had their licenses suspended were unable to get to work or drive in an emergency and not all states had provisional measures to allow driving for these reasons. With the installation of IIDs, proponents believed that DUI offenders would get a “second chance” to prove they could handle driving responsibilities after making a mistake.

However, the reality of ignition interlocks has not been as simple as their advocates had hoped. Ignition interlock mandates can be the beginning of a chain of financial difficulty that is only exacerbated by other expenses connected with a DUI.

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dreamstime xs 5432611The law enforcement community warned the public that they would be out in full force across Arizona during the July 4th holiday. The purpose of putting extra officers in the streets was to watch for, investigate and ultimately to arrest suspected drunk drivers. This type of effort has been happening at seemingly every holiday point on the calendar in the state, and by now anyone who drives in Arizona during such weekends as Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day ought to know that they are being watched closely.

Given this reality, people should simply avoid driving if they have consumed alcohol. It’s never a good idea to get behind the wheel after having drinks, but it’s especially problematic to do so during times when additional police officers will be out and about specifically watching for suspects. Apparently, that message of caution got through to a lot of people, as the statistics are in and it appears that the number of DUI arrests in Arizona over the 4th of July holiday is down significantly when compared to the data relating to 2012.

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dreamstime xs 31461653It used to be many years ago that there was no such thing as BAC or Blood Alcohol Content, at least insofar as we needed to be concerned with it when we drove vehicles. The first jurisdiction to adopt a drunk driving law was New York in 1910, and other places followed suit. The first generally accepted BAC limit was 0.15. From there, the laws began to change around the United States and the legal limit for alcohol was lowered to 0.10. More recently, every jurisdiction in the country has adopted a legal limit of .08.

In addition to the lowering of the BAC limit, many states including Arizona have enacted significantly tougher laws that lead to stiff penalties for people who are convicted of DUI. These convictions are almost always tied to the BAC that was measured in the suspect at the time, as this is the primary evidence available that the suspect was under the influence of alcohol at the time of arrest. It seems that we could be facing the first signs of another lowering of the legal BAC limit based on some recent recommendations made by the federal government.

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dreamstime xs 5691145Every summer season is one that is filled with traveling, vacations and people taking some time to relax with family and friends. There are generally three milestones that mark the progress of summer: Memorial Day weekend kicks it off, the 4th of July marks the midway point and Labor Day ends the season, at least in unofficial terms. We are already fast approaching that second milestone, and unfortunately that means that too many people will make the mistake of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol or some other intoxicant.

Every holiday weekend that falls in the summer is filled with travelers, but the streets and highways are also filled with police officers who are on the lookout for those who may be impaired. This 4th of July weekend will be no different, although given how the calendar falls it could lead to even more serious legal problems for more people. That’s because the holiday itself falls on a Thursday, and many people will not be working on Friday, July 5th. That will only lead to a 4-day weekend that will prompt many people to let loose and blow off some steam.

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dreamstime xs 5193556The American legal system is such that it provides those accused of crimes the right to confront witnesses. This is done so that the defendant can expose any lack of credibility with a witness that may exist, as this does happen from time to time. As such, many witnesses in criminal matters undergo exhausting cross-examinations by defense attorneys who are attempting to expose any lack of credibility that the court or the jury should consider. This is how things work in Arizona DUI matters as well, as police officers are almost always witnesses in cases that go to trial.

Unfortunately for many defendants facing Arizona DUI prosecutions, an ongoing investigation into some alleged conduct by a police officer who spent his time investigating and pursuing DUI cases could prove to have an effect on several cases. What’s perhaps more important is the effect it could have had on cases that have already been completed. Basically, an officer is being investigated for a crime that would affect his credibility as a witness if it turns out to be an accurate allegation, but defense attorneys are upset that they were not made aware of it.

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dreamstime xs 24012679The notion of implied consent has been one that has been the topic of much discussion in the legal world in recent times, particularly when it came to what police could do when arresting someone who was suspected of a crime. With regards to Arizona DUI arrests, the notion of implied consent basically meant that law enforcement could draw blood from someone who was suspected of drunk driving even without the permission of that DUI suspect. This evidence could then be used against a suspect after he or she became a defendant in a criminal prosecution case.

However, that all changed with a decision that was made by the Arizona Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that the police could not use existing traffic laws to draw blood from someone suspected of driving under the influence in the state without first obtaining a valid search warrant. Any blood gathered without such a warrant will not be admitted as evidence if the case proceeds to trial. The basis of this ruling was that these blood draws without warrants amounted to unreasonable searches and seizures under the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

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DrunkDrivingEvery year, people from all different walks of life in Arizona warn others of the risks involved with drinking and driving over Memorial Day Weekend. Every year, the law enforcement community across Arizona steps up their efforts to patrol for drunk drivers and to arrest those who are suspected of having committed this crime. It is generally common knowledge at this point that long holiday weekends are a time when everyone is on the lookout for people who should not be behind the wheel, and every year statistics are released that detail the number of DUI arrests that were made in Arizona.

We have now gone through another Memorial Day Weekend, and we have also had the opportunity to review several numbers regarding alleged drunk driving over the holiday. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, a total of 559 people were arrested on suspicion of DUI and DUI-related crimes over the holiday weekend. These arrests resulted from a total of more than 13,000 traffic stops that were made for various reasons. These 559 arrests represent a slight increase when compared to the 547 people arrested over Memorial Day Weekend of 2012.

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dreamstime xs 30814058It’s that time of year again when summer unofficially kicks off with Memorial Day Weekend. Arizona is one of the best places in the United States to kick back and relax for three full days of fun in the sun, and millions of people will be doing just that beginning later this week and moving through the beginning of next week. Barbecues, parades, picnics and several other items are on the agendas of people from Flagstaff to Phoenix and everywhere else in between.

Of course, this is also a weekend where people will tend to imbibe a bit as they take some time to relax and reflect. As long as you are at least 21 years old, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as it is a legal activity in Arizona. However, if history holds, too many people will also make the mistake of getting behind the wheels of vehicles after consuming alcohol, and that will obviously present the risk of major problems for everyone who does so.

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People who are old enough can remember when there really wasn’t a uniform standard for the amount of alcohol that could be in a driver’s system before he or she would face a charge of drunk driving. One of the first generally accepted standards was 0.15. After some time, that standard was lowered to .10. Not long afterward, the standard was lowered to .08, where it stands today in every jurisdiction in the United States. Now comes word that this standard could be changing again, or at least the first salvo was filed by the National Transportation Safety Board.

According to several news reports, the NTSB has voted to recommend to states that the legal limit for alcohol in a driver’s system be lowered from .08 to .05. Doing so would actually bring the United States more in line with the rest of the world. Most of the countries in Europe, South America and Australia all have legal limits set at .05. Canada is the only other country nearby with a BAC limit of .08, so this change is not as radical as it seems to many who have seen the news.

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Every May, there are several reasons for law enforcement officials in Arizona and around the country to be extra wary of drunk drivers. Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day Weekend and graduations from high schools as well as colleges and universities tend to prompt a higher number of people than normal to get behind the wheels of vehicles after consuming alcohol. As such, the law enforcement community of Arizona tends to step up its efforts with regards to DUI enforcement every May, and so far this year has been no exception.

Last weekend was Cinco de Mayo weekend, and the holiday itself fell on Sunday. Law enforcement officials were out in full force beginning on Friday night, and according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, 274 DUI-related arrests were made on Friday night and on Saturday night. This does not even take the actual holiday into account, and there were several specific statistics released by the Governor’s office in furtherance of this news.

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DUI Arrest

DUI laws are usually quite state-driven, in that each state has its own set of laws and those laws can differ between jurisdictions. Many in our state already know that Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country in terms of standards that apply and penalties that can be levied even for a first-time conviction on this charge. However, there are certain cases that become federal in nature, and a few of them will actually make it all the way to the United States Supreme Court from time to time.

Recently, another case made it to the highest court in the land, and the fundamental basis for the court hearing this case concerned an analysis of the 4th Amendment and its rule regarding unreasonable searches and seizures. The case concerned a man in Missouri who was arrested on suspicion of DUI and who was given a blood test without the police attempting to secure a search warrant in order to perform that test.

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Everyone understands that drinking and driving is a terrible mistake to make and that making such a mistake and getting caught can lead to serious consequences.  This is especially so in Arizona, which has some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the United States.  People who are convicted of DUI in Arizona even for the first time can face stiff fines, the loss of driving privileges and in some cases they can face some jail time depending on the circumstances of the case.

There are also several circumstances where a person could face a charge of aggravated DUI in Arizona, and as many would imagine this is a charge that leads to even more severe penalties if that person is convicted.  Examples of situations where someone could face a charge of aggravated DUI in Arizona include:

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scottsdale dui lawyerIf you or anyone you know has ever been pulled over and investigated for a possible DUI in Arizona, you understand that the technology at the fingertips of police is such that these investigations can be completed in minutes. Additionally, lab tests for DUI can be done in ways that were simply not possible 20 or 30 years ago, and suspects can become defendants based on the results of blood and other tests in ways that make it very difficult to challenge that evidence.

However, with technology comes risk, and that risk is being defined in a legal challenge that has been filed on behalf of several felony DUI defendants in Scottsdale. These defendants want to know if a potential mistake made by lab technicians who handled evidence relating to their cases could have skewed the results of those lab tests. If that is what the court decides happened, it could open the floodgates to hundreds of challenges if not more to lab results that were offered as evidence in DUI cases.

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dui-lawyer-azAs the law stands right now in Arizona, you could be pulled over by the police if they suspect that you may be impaired for some reason. If you are a legal user of medical marijuana, this could prove to be a problem even if you are not under the influence of the drug at the time. If you have any trace of the drug in your system, you can be arrested and prosecuted for DUI. There are certain blood tests and other chemical tests that can be performed to check for the presence of this substance, and a recent court ruling states that this is enough evidence for a prosecution and even a conviction.

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dreamstime xs 20091379Perhaps you’re one of many people who has told yourself, “I can make it. I’m really not drunk. I’m fine. I know my way home. I just won’t speed, I won’t draw attention to myself and everything will be OK.” Many of us have told ourselves just that from time to time, and many of us have actually gotten away with driving after having too much to drink.

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dui lawyers phoenixEvery year, people get revved up for St. Patrick’s Day whether they are Irish, not Irish or pretending to be Irish. They consume alcohol, sometimes in copious amounts. While there is nothing inherently illegal about this activity, it can and often does lead to bad decisions. Perhaps some of the worst alcohol-fueled decisions that can be made while in this state involve those where a people believe that they are OK to drive home. Law enforcement officials understand that many people do fall into this self-generated trap and they are watching closely for drunk drivers.

As is the case every year, many different law enforcement agencies across the state were stepping up their patrols over the weekend so that more of them could be on the lookout for drunk drivers. However, and to the surprise of many, the number of people arrested on suspicion of DUI in Arizona between Thursday and Sunday was lower than it was in 2012. Specifically, 273 people were arrested in Arizona this year on suspicion of DUI as compared to 289 last year.

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dui lawyers arizonaThere are very few if any days on the calendar that are more associated with consuming alcohol than St. Patrick’s Day. This is especially so when this festive holiday falls on a weekend, as it does this year. Sunday marks yet another day when people get together and drink green beer, and unfortunately many people will imbibe too heavily. To make matters worse, too many people will consume alcohol and then decide to get behind the wheel of a vehicle, which is a terrible decision for many reasons.

One of those reasons is that the Arizona law enforcement community can also read a calendar and they can also anticipate what a day like St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Sunday will mean. Therefore, police forces all over the state and on every level will be stepping up their enforcement of DUI laws and some law enforcement agencies will be setting up checkpoints to check to see if people have been consuming alcohol. If they have, they will be arrested and they will face prosecution for violating some of the toughest DUI laws in the United States.

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dui-accident-lawyersMarch is the time of year when hundreds of thousands of students at a time converge on Arizona to celebrate their spring break. From Lake Havasu to Scottsdale to Tempe, students from all over the country head to the desert to enjoy some fun in the sun and a week of relaxing. In fact, spring break is an important contributor to the overall economy of the state, as the tourism and hospitality industries need this time to bolster their revenues.

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drunk-drivingMany of us have laughed and joked about the so-called efficiency of government on several levels. We have all been taught that government is a creature that moves extremely slowly and that nothing gets done before mountains of red tape have been eliminated. However, the sharing of data pursuant to DUI arrests in Phoenix is no joke for anyone, and people who face this or any DUI-related charge in the city may soon be facing a much more efficient government that has access to all the data and evidence that could relate to a DUI case.

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Regardless of people's politics, it is known around the country that Arizona is a state where the government is working to curtail spending on many things. However, one issue that is not having funding pulled but rather is obtaining more funding is that which involves the enforcement of DUI laws around the state and the prosecution of people who are arrested on suspicion of these types of charges. That effort was bolstered recently when the City of Mesa’s Prosecutor’s Office was awarded a $60,000 grant to provide funding for the investigation and prosecution of drug-related DUI cases in the area.

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When people have alcohol in their system above a certain level, it’s safe to say that in a scientific sense that they are impaired at the time the measurement was taken. That’s because alcohol travels through a person’s system in a relatively quick fashion, and the tests that are used will catch someone who is under the influence of this substance. However, that is not necessarily how it works with other drugs, as it’s possible for certain substances to remain in a person’s system long after he or she was impaired by any of them. This leads to complications when it comes to testing for DUI in Arizona.

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dui-accident-arizonaAt this point in our history and in our culture, everyone either already knows or should know of the dangers of drinking and driving as well as the potential penalties that can be faced if someone makes this mistake. As such, many people do try to do the right thing and avoid driving after an evening of imbibing. However, there is still a matter of science to consider in that it takes time for alcohol to leave a person’s system such that he or she falls below the legal limit for alcohol in the bloodstream.

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Arizona is known as a state where the DUI laws are extremely tough in terms of the potential penalties that someone can face if convicted even on a first offense. Despite this notoriety, the numbers regarding DUI arrests across the state remain extremely high, as the efforts made by law enforcement are known to be relentless. However, there appears to be another growing problem relating to DUI in Arizona, and this one does not involve the use of alcohol, but rather the use of other substances before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

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Arizona is known around the United States as a place where people do not want to face prosecution for DUI or any DUI-related charge. Not only are the penalties for even a first-time offense as stiff as anyone could encounter, but the enforcement of these laws is extremely aggressive. As such, tens of thousands of people are arrested on suspicion of these charges every year. Given these numbers, one would think that the reality of the situation would deter people from making this mistake and risk getting caught and facing these tough penalties. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be what’s happening.

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Every year, the law enforcement community in Arizona puts together a task force, so to speak, that is charged with stepping up the enforcement of the DUI laws that exist in the state. This is done by increasing the number of patrols that are out on the roads, by putting checkpoints together and by strongly encouraging the public to report suspected drunk drivers. This effort has led to a high number of arrests of people on suspicion of DUI and related charges, and it appears that the results for this most recent holiday season were no different than previous years.

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