Articles Posted in Arizona DUI Defense

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It is estimated that nearly 10,000 people die, 200,000 people are injured, due to DUI involved collisions every year. To combat the problem, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently announced 19 recommendations to reduce DUI fatalities across the country.

A recommendation that has gained much attention is lowering the legal limit of 0.08% Blood Alcohol Limit (BAC) in all states to 0.05 percent. Currently all states have a 0.08% legal limit. At least 100 countries in the world have a 0.05% limit. A spokesperson for the NTSB reported studies that clearly show motorists with a 0.05% BAC or will experience driving impairments that include a decline in cognitive and vision functions.  This increases their risk of causing or being involved in motor vehicle collisions resulting in fatality or serious injuries.

Some studies show on average a person weighing 120 pounds or under, may reach .05% BAC after just one drink of intoxicating liquor, and a person weighing 160 pounds or under may reach the 0.05% limit after only two drinks. However, this can vary by gender; metabolism rate; alcohol tolerance; food or absent food; medications; and other factors that exist.

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Police may soon be able to conduct roadside testing for impaired driving due to Marijuana and numerous other drugs.

Currently, drug and Marijuana DUI can only be detected in a driver’s blood stream through chemical testing such as DUI blood or urine tests. These methods are intrusive, and sometimes take weeks for the results to be processed.

The new hand-held drug DUI detection device was designed by scientists in Sweden and known as “SensAbues”. It works much like an alcohol breath test which requires the subject to breath into a mouthpiece to enable the filtration and entrapment of certain particles to be examined by police.

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Some studies show that an estimated 15 to 33 percent of fatal crashes may involve drowsy driving.

In a recent survey reported by the National Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Institute of Medicine on average, an alarming 5% of respondents reported falling asleep at the wheel, 30 days prior to the survey.

Drowsy Driving is often mistaken for alcohol or drug related DUI resulting in arrest. This is due to the fact that signs of alcohol or drug impaired driving, and drowsy driving share similar characteristics. These signs include but are not limited to slower reaction time; reduced attentiveness behind the wheel; and impaired decision making skills. All of these can lead to serious and fatal accidents or mistaken alcohol or drug impairments.

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Arizona is known for having some of the toughest laws and harshest penalties in the country. Most DUI convictions call for jail terms, and in some cases prison. If you plant to visit, reside, or drive through Arizona, you should be familiar with these laws.

Driving under the Influence A.R.S 28-1381: In Arizona it is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or intoxicating liquor, while:

  • They are under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, or substance if impaired to the slightest degree;
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In 2012, Mesa Police reported 3,112 DUI arrests. Of those, 41.6 percent involved some type of drugs. This represented a slight increase over 2011 which was 41.2 percent. Many of these involved synthetic drugs, spice, bath salts, Marijuana, and prescription drugs.

To help address the rising drug DUI arrests, Mesa AZ Prosecutor’s Office was awarded a grant for $59,550 earlier this month by the DUI Abatement Council of the AZ GOHS, designed to improve drug DUI prosecution.

Approximately 80% of the grant will be used to design and post an official website which will include materials, arrest logs, and certifications involving DUI field tests for use by criminal defense attorneys in the discovery phase of a DUI case. This is designed to increase efficiency and save on expenses for police to comply with discovery requests by criminal defense attorneys. Currently, it takes police funding and time to produce information on each and every discovery request on paper and via mail.

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In Arizona, a motorist can be arrested for DUI even if their blood alcohol content is below the legal limit of 0.08 percent or if they have had no spirituous liquor at all. Any DUI in Arizona is a criminal offense and subject to serious penalties including jail time, and suspension or loss of driver’s license. A conviction carries criminal and civil charges. Any DUI conviction in Arizona can potentially result in adverse collateral consequences for a person, including loss of their job, driving privileges, residency, and other freedoms they had prior to being convicted of a DUI.

Under Arizona Law A.R.S. 28 – 1381 it is unlawful to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle, if a person is “impaired to the slightest degree” due to any drugs, alcohol, or combination, thereof. This year, Drug DUI charges constituted 14 percent of the total annual impaired driving arrests. Arizona officials reported that many of those were the result of driving impairments caused by prescription drugs.

This law applies to any toxic drug and includes “prescription-only drugs”, as well as over-the- counter drugs, illegal drugs, narcotics, Medical Marijuana or dangerous drugs.

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How Arizona is Utilizing DUI Statistics to Combat Impaired Driving

Arizona DUI Arrest Statistics

On December 27, 2012 the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) released Statewide DUI enforcement statistics.

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Grant will help expedite the resolution of Drug DUI charges

The Prosecution of the City of Mesa was awarded a Drug DUI enforcement grant of $6,787. The money is earmarked for crime lab expenses. It will allow the crime lab to stay opened an additional, 240 hours per year. The purpose of the expanded operating time is to dedicate it solely for the purpose of processing Mesa Drug DUI evidence. It is expected to increase drug DUI case processing to an average of 210 cases, and expedite the resolution of charges.

AZ Drug DUI Laws

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Adverse consequences of Felony DUI convictions are far reaching, and can last a lifetime.

In Arizona a person convicted of a third or subsequent DUI within 7 years or 84 months will be found guilty of Aggravated DUI, Class 4 Felony charges.  Felony DUI convictions are very serious and will result in harsh sentencing including at least 4 months in State Prison.

A first offense DUI is generally charged as a Class 1 Misdemeanor, which calls for jail terms, but not prison.  There are several aggravating factors under Arizona law that can elevate a Misdemeanor DUI to an Aggravated DUI.  One of those factors is to be found guilty of a third DUI within in 84 months.

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DUI Breath Test Laws:  Despite rules and regulations DUI breath tests results may prove to be inaccurate or invalid 

Arizona Laws Governing DUI Breath Tests  

Under A.R.S. 28-1324 the Director of the Department of Public Services (DPS) is responsible for adopting regulations for methods, and procedures for administering DUI breath tests.

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