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Arizona DUI Law

Old and Obsolete: Throw Out Every Breathalyzer Now

This is a Guest Post by Paul Young of Young Klein & Associates.

The breathalyzer is dead, and the authorities killed it. Police across the nation use these devices to catch drivers they believe are operating their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. Hundreds of thousands of convictions later, it turns out these pieces of equipment are unreliable, easily manipulated, and poorly maintained by the state agencies tasked with using them on a daily basis. As more court decisions throw out DUI/DWI convictions and charges in multiple states, it’s time for everyone to consider a new path.

Court Decisions and Old Devices  

A judge’s decision in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania forced the entire state police force to stop using the venerable Intoxilyzer 5000 after voicing concerns of the test’s accuracy. It’s important to keep in mind that police have employed this particular model since the mid 1990s, largely without updates, and used faulty test results from potentially thousands of motorists to issue fines and obtain convictions. In nearby New Jersey, defense attorneys have filed suit against the state for its reported failures in updating software for its breathalyzer devices as well as for neglecting to maintain an accurate digital record of data pulled from those devices in violation of court orders.

Authorities in Pennsylvania and other states around the nation are using blood tests to catch motorists suspected of driving drunk, but doing so raises concerns about possible violations of drivers’ Fourth Amendment rights. Every person has a right to keep their own blood, and police may run into issues when they seek to take said bodily fluid without a valid warrant. In our digital world, getting a warrant doesn’t take days. Courts have ruled repeatedly that the speed of technology can satisfy urgency and the need to preserve evidence. Anyone charged with a DUI or DWI offense where an officer took blood for sampling without a warrant or the driver’s permission should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately.

What are My Rights?

Barring a valid search warrant, you have the right to refuse a blood or breathalyzer test. It’s your body. You get to decide who samples your breath and takes your fluids for study. In some states, that refusal comes with a price – the immediate suspension of your driving privileges. An experienced legal team may be able to convince the court to throw out the suspension when they toss DUI charges against you due to lack of evidence.

If you do consent to a breathalyzer or blood test, you have the right to request the findings of those tests in writing along with any maintenance records of the device used. Going through the process is stressful enough on its own, so it’s a good idea to have an attorney handle the discovery requests while you do your best to get a good night’s sleep. What you should keep in mind: just because a breathalyzer shows your blood alcohol level to be over the legal limit, does not mean that’s the case. These devices are old, and in many cases, they can’t tell the difference between a barrel of Scotch and a packet of wintergreen mints.

 

Post provided by:  is a criminal defense attorney at Young Klein & Associates, a Philadelphia-based law firm.

 

If you have a question about a DUI charge in Arizona, please contact our offices at (602) 307-0808 or send us an email.

Can I be charged with DUI in Arizona even if I wasn’t cited at the scene?

In this short video David explains if you can be charged with DUI in Arizona if you weren’t cited:

 

Suppose you were stopped for suspected DUI and found to be over the limit by the police’s breath analysis or the mobile DUI processing van’s blood test, but the police officers did not cite you at the scene. Are you free and clear?

Not necessarily. In the state of Arizona, the police have up to one year from the date of the incident to charge you with misdemeanor DUI; most delayed charges are filed within four to six months. If you are suspected of felony DUI, the police have up to seven years to decide if they are going to file charges against you.

If you are allowed to leave the scene without being cited or charged, it’s important for you to hire an Arizona DUI Defense attorney as soon as possible. A defense attorney can work to prevent the charges from ever being filed against you. Once charges are filed, they will show in any criminal background check even if the charges are eventually dismissed. This can cause you difficulties in finding or keeping employment.

A DUI attorney in Arizona can help your case while it’s in the precharge stage by negotiating with the prosecutor. Even if your defense attorney is unable to convince the prosecutor to not file charges against you, he or she may be able to get the charge reduced to a lesser degree of DUI or something like reckless or aggressive driving, speeding, or other simple traffic violations.

If you are suspected of DUI but you have not yet been charged, please contact our office at (602) 307-0808 for a free initial consultation. Someone is available to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also contact us by email via our secure form. Don’t put it off. A DUI charge is serious business. The Arizona drunk driving attorneys of the Law Offices of David Michael Cantor are experienced in the procedures of the Arizona legal system, and there is an excellent chance that we can help you before your DUI case negatively affects your life.

How Does a DUI Affect Your CDL in Arizona?

CDL is needed to drive a Semi-TruckReceiving a conviction for DUI (driving under the influence) in Arizona can present significant problems for the defendant with a CDL. It is not necessary to be operating a commercial vehicle for a conviction to impact the commercial license status because any general driving privilege suspension period will include a suspension for the commercial driver’s license as well. The damage done by an impaired driving charge depends on the particulars of the case and the possibility of aggravated or enhanced DUI charges, as Arizona has structured a unique comprehensive approach to combat driving under the influence.

All states have stricter standards for commercial drivers who are arrested and convicted for driving under the influence in a commercial vehicle. The universal blood alcohol content level of .08 that all states have adopted for general impaired driving charges does not apply. The standard for commercial drivers to be legally intoxicated in Arizona is .04 BAC level. Commercial drivers that receive a conviction for driving under the influence in Arizona will receive a one year commercial license suspension period regardless of the vehicle the defendant was driving. Two convictions for driving under the influence will result in a lifetime suspension of the commercial driver’s license.

Receiving an intoxicated driving conviction does not necessarily restrict an individual from receiving a commercial driver’s license. An applicant can receive a commercial driver’s license if the previous driver’s license suspension period is completed, but the CDL holder will lose that license if convicted again. The law also makes no distinction between classes of commercial licenses. The suspensions apply to smaller class commercial vehicle operators as well as tractor-trailers.

The impact that a conviction for DUI (driving under the influence) can have on a professional transporter can be immense. Many individuals have invested significantly in their profession and could sacrifice a high income and comfortable standard of living for a simple infraction. In addition to drivers license suspensions, the convicted commercial license holder will receive a much harsher fine than a typical convicted impaired driver.

Convictions for driving under the influence can be a basis for immediate discharge from employment by any transportation company. Many trucking and transportation companies maintain a zero-tolerance policy for impaired driving among employees because of the impact on commercial driving insurance rates and contracted bonding agreements.

Commercial license holders should be aware that states share information concerning DUI convictions. Any CDL applicant should always list a previous conviction that is still effective during their drivers license record period. Any application that does not contain a pertinent conviction will be automatically rejected by the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles.

If you have a CDL and have been arrested or are suspected of a DUI, give us a call. Our team of DUI defense lawyers will listen to the circumstances of your case and help to formulate defenses to the charge. Call us (or email us) today at (602) 307-0808 to schedule a free consultation.

NTSB recommends lowering the BAC from 0.08% to 0.05%

The National Transportation Safety Board(NTSB) made a recommendation recently to lower the blood alcohol concentration(BAC) for drunken driving from 0.08% to 0.05% in an effort to reduce alcohol-impaired deaths. While it may take a while for this to become law it seems as though it may be inevitable based on the emotional state of communities around the country.

The last time a change to the BAC levels was made was in 1982 when the Federal Government passed legislation providing incentives for states to lower the standard from 0.10% to the current standard 0.08%. It took till 2004 until all 50 states had passed legislation updating the standard and ensuring they would not lose federal funds for highways. The concern then was that by lowering the limit police would end up catching more drivers who had simply had a drink with dinner as opposed to the highly intoxicated drivers causing accidents.

Today the concern is still similar except that at 0.05% even more dinner drinkers will be cited for DUI as it will take even less alcohol to reach the limit. Are we headed towards the eventual conclusion where any alcohol in a persons system will be grounds for a DUI?

Restaurant associations around the country are concerned that this will hurt local businesses where diners have a beer or glass of wine with dinner to enjoy their meal. For example a 175lb man will have a BAC of 0.05% after just two beers.

What do you think?

DUI on a Boat is an OUI in Arizona

When the weather starts to turn warm, many people enjoy spending time on the water with their family or friends. Believe it or not, The State of Arizona has many beautiful lakes where people enjoy recreational boating during the spring and summer months. However, this can become a dangerous activity when a boating accident occurs.

Some of the most common causes of a boating accident include the following:
• The operator of the vessel was inexperienced in handling the boat
• The person operating the boat made a mistake and hit another watercraft
• High winds or heavy rains contributed to the accident
• The boat was not properly maintained resulting in equipment failure
• Large wakes caused by another boat could result in the vehicle capsizing
• The person who was operating the vehicle was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time


In Arizona, an individual can be charged with operating under the influence (OUI) if they were intoxicated while operating a personal watercraft. The Arizona Revised Statutes 5-395.01 allows a person to be convicted of an OUI offense if the following applies:

• The person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time they were operating a watercraft vehicle
• The individual had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more within two hours op operative a motorized watercraft
• Was under the influence of any drug as defined in the Arizona Revised Statute 13-3401
• The person had a blood alcohol concentration of .04 or more while operating a commercial watercraft

Cop on a Jet SkiThe State of Arizona Game and Fish, in concert with local law enforcement, have planned patrols and checkpoints on lakes between the months of March and September that yield a number of arrests every year. The lakes in the Phoenix area that have planned patrols are Lake Pleasant, Roosevelt lake, Apache Lake, Horseshoe Lake, Bartlett Lake, Saguaro Lake, and Canyon Lake. According to reports provided by the Lake Havasu Police Department, there was an increase in OUI arrests during Labor Day weekend in 2012. There were 20 OUI arrests made during this weekend, which was an increase from the 14 people who were arrested for an OUI offense during Memorial Day weekend.

The Penalties For an OUI Conviction in Arizona

The penalties for an OUI conviction in Arizona will most likely depend upon a number of factors. This includes the individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of arrest. Age may also be a factor if the person was under 21 while consuming alcohol.

First Offense With BAC of .08 to .15
• Up to six months in jail and/or a mandatory alcohol education class
• A fine of up to $2,100

First Offense With BAC Over .15
• A minimum of 30 days in county jail
• A fine up to $2,500

If you have been arrested for suspicion of an OUI offense, please call our office immediately at (602) 307-0808. We offer free consultations with a DUI Defense lawyer who will review your case. If you would like to email us, please click here.

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