For those of you who have had enough trying to decipher the legal and scientific nuances, but are interested in following what is going on in the Scottsdale Crime lab, here is the Cliff's Notes version of the events, and reasons why this drama is so important.
Often times in an Arizona drinking and driving case, the terms "DUI" and "DWI" are used, and not many people really know or understand the difference between the two terms.
The era of the "Vampire Cops" is upon us. Well, I'm only kind of joking. The state of Arizona allows its police officers to draw blood from people that they arrest under the suspicion of DUI. Arizona has been doing this for years and was ahead of the recent vampire trend in TV and movies. If something about cops drawing blood gives you an uneasy feeling, you are not alone. Defense lawyers continue to challenge the constitutionality of such actions, and Arizona's unique stand. You can see one such legal opinion: Constitutionality of Officer Blood Draws in Arizona.
What happens if I don't want to give blood, breath, or urine to an Arizona police officer during a DUI investigation? Well, in Arizona, by getting an Arizona driver's license, or even by driving on our streets, you have given your consent to submit to a police officer's request for a blood, breath or urine sample. Ask any experienced DUI defense attorney how many low BACs (from .000 to .05) they see in the lists of the state's blood test results, and you'll understand how many people are being forced to give a sample of their blood to police officers every day in Arizona. And there are consequences if you refuse to submit a sample.
With city and county budgets heading more and more into the red in Arizona, it seems that police officers have been feeling the need to justify their salaries by bringing in more money to their municipalities. Due to the fact that DUIs are a huge revenue stream in Arizona, we have begun to see more and more cases being charged as DUIs that don't appear on their face to be DUIs. Specifically, we have seen an increase in DUI cases that don't involve driving.
If you drive a truck for a living, you are held to higher standard -- even while driving your own private vehicle. As a result, getting arrested for a DUI in Arizona is a possible career-ender for those who hold a commercial driver's license (CDL). Many of Arizona's police officers subscribe to a theory of arresting anyone who is driving and may have had a drink, and then letting the crime lab figure out if the person is guilty or not. This may run afoul of the Constitution, but with many local judges backing up these actions, there are no consequences for this type of police behavior. While this is certainly inconvenient and damaging for anyone falsely arrested for a DUI, if you have a CDL, this police strategy may end your career.
It is somewhat up in the air, but home detention may soon be coming to Scottsdale. In April, the Scottsdale City Council passed the necessary ordinance to allow the presiding judge of the Scottsdale City Court to institute a home detention program; an alternative to serving time to jail. This would mean that people convicted of a DUI in Scottsdale may be able to serve some of their sentence in home detention. The reason for the institution of a home detention program in Scottsdale was that the City of Scottsdale was being forced to pay millions in jail costs to our Sheriff. This is as a result of the ridiculous DUI sentencing requirements being passed. Even though Scottsdale has taken the unusual position of never waiving any of the jail costs, even in cases of extreme hardship, it was still losing millions of dollars a year.
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Tempe, Arizona, a series of events likely took place. Additionally, there is an issue that you should be aware of as your case proceeds.
If you have been charged with a first offense DUI in Arizona, you can see from our previous four posts that the penalties are tough. In fact, people are surprised when they learn what they are facing when they are charged with a first-time DUI in Arizona.
According the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, last year it was reported that 309 motorists were charged with driving under the influence in Arizona over the 4th of July weekend. Of those arrests, 106 were made on the 4th itself. This was a decrease in the amount of DUI related arrests by 50 from the previous year. More than 300 officers and deputies joined a statewide task force targeting drunk driving. Of the total AZ DUI arrests, 99 were for extreme DUI. Law enforcement agencies made a total of 3,471 traffic stops during the extended holiday weekend.