The United States Supreme Court recently issued another blow to the 4th Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizures. The ruling caused controversy when they declared that a vehicle may be stopped based on an anonymous 911 tip.
Many defendants ask whether it matters if the officer signed the complaint or ticket at the site of issue. Unfortunately, this is a complicated topic without a concrete answer. Arizona cases have not addressed this question squarely; however, in Erdman v. Superior Court of Maricopa County, the court held that lack of a signature alone was reason enough to dismiss the case. Erdman v. Superior Court, 102 Ariz. 524, 433 P.2d 972 (1967). In Erdman, one officer arrested the defendant while another officer signed the complaint. The issue was whether a criminal complaint was signed by someone who merely relied on another's information, which said that the defendant committed some illegal activity, and if that is sufficient to present in court.
People are often confused by the difference between city jails, county jails and prison. While these facilities are similar there are several important differences.
Ever try to walk a straight line or stand on one leg after a few drinks? It is always entertaining at a party amongst friends, but could be very harmful to your case if a police officer ever asks you to perform them in a DUI investigation. The common misconception with field sobriety tests (FST's) is that if one does well on the tests, then they will be free to drive home, free of consequence. That is seldom the case, as the officer typically already has signs and symptoms of impairment if he is asking you to get out of your car and perform the tests.
On Friday, February 28th, 2014, Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and former wife to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was acquitted on DUI Drug charges. The 54-year old was charged with driving while impaired after she swerved and hit a tractor-trailer in her Lexus SUV in morning rush-hour traffic.
At the beginning of this month, in preparation for the Super Bowl, police departments increased DUI enforcement across the country trying to decrease the number of DUI arrests. Unfortunately, that plan did not work out well for the University of Arizona Police Department (UAPD), as one of their on duty officers was taken into custody over the weekend. Sgt. John McGrath was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence Saturday night after being involved in an accident with a marked UAPD vehicle. Sgt. McGrath was found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.20, which is classified as a Super Extreme DUI.
With warm weather just around the corner, people are starting to book vacations and put on their swimsuits and party hats. Lake Havasu City, Arizona has been the premier destination spot for spring breakers looking to have some fun. However, if you're headed toward the party city, be cautious because law enforcement in the area are taking serious actions towards drinking and driving, which can lead to jail time and loss of license.
The 2013 data is in, and according to the Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety, the total number of DUIs in Arizona dropped for the first time in decades. The Office of Highway Safety coordinates a state wide task force specifically targeting drunk drivers. As shown in the chart below, most of the offenses the task force tracked decreased from 2012.
One of the things that people always ask me when they find out what I do is, "What should I do if I'm pulled over?". In Arizona today, the enforcement of DUI's has become an obsession that often leads to innocent people being arrested. We know this, because one of the pieces of information that we get in all of our client's cases is a results page. We will often see that a huge percentage of people whose blood was tested along with our client's is either zero or significantly below the legal limit. That equates to dozen's innocent people being accused, arrested, and forced to have a cop (with less than a week's training) draw their blood every night. So the question asked is certainly a valid one. The answer is "immediately". You are always allowed to consult with an attorney. You are however, required to affirmatively request one. Ambiguous references to an attorney do not suffice. So don't ask, "Should I get a lawyer?", or "Maybe I should have a lawyer here". What one must do is unequivocally proclaim their desire to consult counsel. Many unscrupulous officers will advise you that you don't have that right at this point, and that you must balance or dance for them roadside. They are not being entirely forthright with you. From the second that the officer treats you like you are accused of DUI, it is well advised to firmly but politely insist on speaking with counsel before completing any exercises or answering any further questions. If you ever find yourself in that unfortunate situation you can contact us 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week.
The answer is a resounding yes. When someone is charged with a DUI, they are almost always charged with two separate DUI offenses. The State uses this strategy because it increases their conviction rates; i.e., if they don't get a guilty verdict on one charge, they can still try and get you on the other. In a DUI case where the cops think you are under the influence of alcohol, most of the time a person will be charged with being impaired to operate a motor vehicle at least to the slightest degree, and also with having a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) above a certain amount, either .08, .15, or .20. In a case where it is alleged that a person is impaired by drugs, a similar thing happens. The suspect will be charged with driving while impaired to the slightest degree, as well as driving with the presence of a drug or its metabolite (waste product) in the blood.