Articles Posted in Alcohol-Related Offenses

Published on:

In many Arizona criminal cases, the issue of witness credibility is key. This is because, by and large, most cases present two sides of the same story. Whichever side the judge or jury believes is generally the side that prevails at trial.Whether it be the testimony of a complaining witness, the arresting or investigating police officer, or the defendant himself, the importance of establishing that a witness is being truthful is crucial to the side calling that witness. On the flip side of the coin, the opposing side will often attempt to establish that an adverse witness is biased, untruthful, or somehow mistaken about their remembrance of the facts. This is most often done through cross-examination.

When a witness testified, he or she will first be asked questions by the party calling that witness. This is called the direct-examination of a witness. After that party concludes their questioning, the opposing side will then have an opportunity to ask questions of the witness through cross-examination. A skillful cross-examination can highlight problems with a witness’ testimony, casting doubt on that witness’ credibility.

Continue reading →

Published on:

In a recent Arizona DUI decision, a defendant appealed his conviction for aggravated driving under the influence. The case arose just after midnight when the police arrested him for driving under the influence and performed an inventory search of his car. Inside his car, they found a pill bottle that contained Oxycodone. They took him to the police station, and he consented to a blood draw.

His blood alcohol level was .037, and he had 29 nanograms per milliliters of Oxycodone in his blood. At his time of arrest, his driving privileges were suspended. He was indicted for a count of aggravated DUI while impaired to the slightest degree, as well as aggravated DUI while Oxycodone or its metabolite was in his body and possession of Oxycodone. The last count was dismissed before trial.

At trial, the defendant presented evidence that he’d filled a prescription for immediate release Oxycodone shortly before, and the amount found in his blood fell within the therapeutic range. He also asked for an affirmative defense jury instruction based on A.R.S. § 28-1381(D). This law provided that someone using a drug as prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner wouldn’t be guilty of driving while drugged.

Continue reading →

Published on:

In a recent Arizona homicide case, the defendant appealed a conviction for negligent homicide. He argued that the lower court should have suppressed the blood alcohol content evidence, and he challenged whether the evidence was sufficient for a conviction.

The case arose in 2012 when the police responded to a single-vehicle crash caused by the defendant. The officer found the defendant in the car’s driver’s seat and a woman who was his passenger slumped in the passenger’s seat. The woman was dead. As the officer went with him to a police car for safety, he noticed that the defendant smelled like alcohol. He asked whether the defendant had been drinking alcohol, and he said no. No field sobriety tests were conducted.

He left the defendant and started directing vehicles and spoke to witnesses. The witnesses said that the defendant was going downhill when he seemed to make a lane change to pass a vehicle, but there was no vehicle to pass. He went over the double yellow line and collided with a culvert. There were no skid marks, but the car had damage on it. The officer was knowledgeable about accident reconstruction, and in his opinion, the damage showed an impact speed of less than 35 mph.

Continue reading →

Published on:

In a recent Arizona appellate case, the defendant was convicted of aggravated assault resulting in temporary but substantial disfigurement and assault. The lower court suspended the imposition of a sentence and put him on probation. The defendant appealed, claiming that there was prosecutorial misconduct in charging him with aggravated assault causing serious physical injury, and the court had made a mistake in denying his motion for a judgment of acquittal on that charge because the evidence showed minor injuries.

The case arose in 2012, when a trooper responded to a pickup truck accident. The trooper found that a pickup truck had left the road, and crashed into a sign. There was blood on the driver’s side of the pickup, and none on the passenger side. Emergency medical personnel treated the defendant and his mother. He had a bleeding cut above his left eye and on his hands. The mother didn’t have any blood on her, but complained about experiencing pain. The trooper observed that the defendant had red watery eyes and other signs of inebriation. The defendant admitted that he’d had a few drinks.

The defendant and his mother were taken to the hospital. The trooper followed. At the hospital, a nurse told the trooper they’d be drawing the defendant’s blood for medical purposes and the trooper asked for a sample. The trooper waited in a common area, and overheard the defendant talking on the phone and saying that he’d gotten into the accident after consuming alcohol at a restaurant. He also overheard the defendant confirm to his health care providers that he’d been drinking alcohol.

Continue reading →

Published on:

You should be aware that allowing your vehicle or license registration to expire may provide police officers with a reasonable suspicion to stop you while driving in Arizona. Under A.R.S. section 28-2153, you cannot operate a motor vehicle that has not been registered with the department.

In the unpublished opinion of State v. Avalos, the defendant appealed after being convicted of aggravated DUI and aggravated driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more while his license was restricted, revoked, or suspended. He had been sentenced to concurrent terms of 10 years in prison.

A Tucson officer stopped the defendant after the officer checked the records and found the registration for the defendant’s car had expired eight days before. The officer approached the car, and the defendant got out and handed him his keys, saying he knew that the officer would tow the car. The officer took him back to the car and saw open beer bottles on the floor of the car at the driver’s seat.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Overview of Arizona DUI Trends, Laws, Penalties, and Criminal Defense

If you live in Arizona or plan to drive in the state over the July 4th weekend it is important to be aware of the DUI laws and consequences of a conviction.

According to media reports, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout Arizona will increase DUI patrols over the July 4th weekend. Starting Friday, July 1, 2016 law enforcement, including the Phoenix and Tempe police departments, will have an increased presence throughout Maricopa County looking for drivers impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.

Published on:

74 percent of young persons consider their parents to be the greatest influencers in their lives.

Resource Article – Part 2 of 2   

We start this article with a quote:  “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” – The Art of War

Published on:

No parent is ever fully prepared for a call from their son or daughter from jail following an arrest. The question all parents ask is “What now?”  This is where you start.

Resource Article: 1 of 2 Parts: Arizona’s Trends, Arrests, Laws; Consequences; and criminal defense

On March 30, 2013, an 18-year-old Tempe ASU student fell to her death from a ten-story apartment building. She had just returned from an “all you can drink” party at an off-campus, now-banned fraternity house. Security video footage showed Naomi walking the halls of the apartment stumbling and unable to steady balance after she left the party, where friends say she was drinking heavily. Security cameras from outside the building revealed Naomi straddling the 10th story balcony railing before falling to her death. It is not known whether she fell accidentally or intended to take her life. All we know is that she died that day.

Published on:

Appeals Court says to prosecute public drunkenness, violates legislature’s decision to treat alcoholism and substance abuse as a disease, not a crime.

Appeals Court Decision: State of Arizona v. David Harold Cole 

On Monday May 5, 2014 an Arizona Appeals Court ruled unanimously on State of Arizona v. David Harold Coles, deciding that being drunk in public was not a crime. The Arizona Court of Appeals Division One overturned a criminal conviction resulting from violation of a Scottsdale AZ municipal ordinance, making it a crime to be “incapacitated in public” due to alcohol.