Some Valley residents might be aware that for several years now, police officers throughout Maricopa County have been conducting blood draws, without warrants, on people they have placed under arrest for DUI. Others may not be aware that the large Phoenix PD vans you see parked on the side of the road are actually mini-blood draw stations where arrestees are interviewed, pricked, and had their blood removed from their bodies by officers within a limited time of arrest. Furthermore, these blood draws aren't just done in vans or at police stations, during DUI Task force events, arrestees are taken to any number of bizarre places throughout the valley like sports stadiums and gas stations, where a myriad of arrestees are waiting in line like cattle to have their blood drawn and packaged up and handed over to the impatiently waiting police officers who arrested them. Until now, Scottsdale was one of the jurisdictions that, if you were arrested there, you were generally taken to the hospital to have your blood drawn by a phlebotomist, who was usually a hospital nurse. (A phlebotomist is a person who has been trained in drawing blood). However, Scottsdale has recently put some of its officers through a five day phlebotomy class, and arrestees in Scottsdale will no longer have the luxury of being escorted to the hospital and drawn on by a professional. But, just because the officers have the capability to draw your blood, does not mean that you should necessarily immediately consent to the blood draw. If you are arrested for DUI, before you consent to any physical or chemical testing, you should ask for a private phone call and call an experienced attorney immediately. The officers will make it seem like you have no choice, but in reality, you do have a legal right to speak with an attorney as long as you are not unduly delaying an investigation. We are available 24/7.
Many people, both people from out of State and Phoenix and Scottsdale residents alike, had the opportunity to head to North Scottsdale and catch some great golf at the 2013 Waste Management Open. It is no secret that not only is the Open known for great weather and great golf, but also for being a great party. Because of this, police officers view it as a perfect time to conduct one of their ever-present DUI task forces, to catch "impaired" drivers. If you drove at all down Scottsdale Road at any point during that week, you no doubt saw the numerous drivers lit up and pulled over by Scottsdale Police Department. Most people do not know the rights that they do have and what tests they are required to perform, especially people who are visiting from out of town. Laws vary from state to state, and officers know that people are unaware of where the boundary is between lawful and illegal officer behavior.
At our firm, we get cases from clients who are charged with DUI when there either was no driving. These clients are both shocked and appalled that they are facing these charges, and rightfully so! Logically, one would think that in order to receive a DUI charge, at the very least the police or someone must have seen you driving. Unfortunately, through a series of cases, the evolution of the law in Arizona has virtually abolished the requirement that a person actually be driving the car in order to be charged with a DUI in Chandler or anywhere else in Arizona. Many police officers see someone in or near a vehicle, find out that this person has been drinking, and automatically assume that they should be charged with DUI without even taking the time to understand that there are a multitude of reasons why that person is inside or near the vehicle. For example, we have had cases where a driver realizes they may be too intoxicated to drive home and decides to sleep it off in their car. An officer approaches, finds out about the drinking and arrests for DUI, even though the person is adamant they were not driving, and had no intention of driving home. This scenario has happened so frequently that is has resulted in a rule called the Shelter Rule. The Shelter Rule is a valid and strong defense to a DUI charge. According to the law, the State is required to show that you were in actual physical control of the vehicle at the time you were under the influence of alcohol. If you were not using the car as a vehicle, but were only using it as shelter, you should not be found guilty of a DUI charge.