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If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and are arrested for a DUI in your personal vehicle, it’s going to have an impact on your license. Today I’m going to walk you through potential outcomes of a Phoenix DUI and discuss your options for dealing with a DUI with a CDL.

If you’re stopped while driving and willingly provide a blood, breath or urine test above .08 percent Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), your license will be suspended for 90 days. Instead, if you meet certain criteria, you may be eligible for a 30/60 day permit. A 30/60 day permit means 30 days of no driving and 60 days of driving restricted to going to and from work, school or a doctor’s office. This is preferable to a 90-day suspension. This suspension is called an “Administrative Per Se” suspension, or “admin per se” for short. In order to qualify for the restricted driving permit after the first 30 days, you’ll have to go through alcohol screening. As part of this process, they’ll tell you that you need to take a certain amount of classes, but completing these classes isn’t required to get the 30/60 permit.

Law enforcement officers may obtain a warrant to compel you to provide a test sample if you aren’t willing to volunteer one. The default suspension for forcing them to get a warrant, called a refusal, is much longer than if you comply. Under implied consent laws (laws that state you agree to BAC testing by driving), your license will be suspended for a full year. This is called an implied consent suspension, and like the admin per se suspension, it can be commuted to a three-month/nine-month permit. Like the 30/60 permit, this allows driving to work, school or a doctor for the last nine months and requires an alcohol screening. You’ll also need an SR-22. An SR-22 will increase your insurance rates and allow your insurance company to “rat you out” if your insurance ever expires.

As an additional requirement, you’ll have to put an interlock device or breath-testing device on your car’s steering wheel. In order to start your car or continue driving it, you’ll have to blow into this device every 15 minutes. If you fail to blow into it every 15 minutes, your engine will turn off. Every 90 days, you’ll have to take the car in to have the chip in the interlock or breath-testing reviewed to make sure you never blew above a .020 BAC. This BAC requirement has built-in leeway to account for alcohol that may be contained in medicines or absorbed through methods other than drinking. It’s below the BAC most people blow after a single drink, so if you have any drinks and drive, you’ll fail the review.

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Any DUI attorney worth his legal fees will know how Melendez vs. Massachusetts impacts DUI defense. The defendant was charged with possessing and trafficking cocaine, evidenced by several bags that the prosecution held as evidence. The defense had 3 certificates of analysis that said the mentioned evidence was cocaine. The defense argued against the inclusion of the evidence, as its validation came through certificates and not a presentable witness who could be cross examined, as a DUI attorney might cross examine an arresting office in a DUI case.

The objections were overruled. The issue was whether the Crawford case applied in the Melendez case and whether the affidavits would be testimonial and whether the defendant had the right to cross examine this testimony under the 6th amendment. The court ruled that affidavits were testimonial statements, and that analysts served as witnesses under the 6th amendment. These analysts could therefore be cross examined by a DUI attorney.

More specifically, the Melendez case does illustrate that there are better ways for a DUI attorney to challenge or verify the results of a scientific test, as the Constitution guarantees only a single way- that of confrontation. A DUI attorney still does not have the right to suspend the Confrontation Clause when a preferable trial strategy is available. In this regard, the court rebuffed the state’s claim that scientific testing is both “neutral” and “reliable.”

As any DUI attorney knows, forensic science is not free from manipulation. It shouldn’t be taken at face value. In the issue of a DUI case, the level of intoxication forms the crux of the trial. This evidence needs to be based on more than police officer testimony, but other factors such as breathalyzer and performance of sobriety tests. A DUI attorney has the duty to question all available evidence in a court of law in the interest of his or her client.

Confrontation is designed to weed out not only fraudulent testimonial evidence, but incompetent evidence as well. The Melendez decision rejects the notion that the documents in question qualified as traditional official or business records. The court decided that by requiring testimonial evidence to substantiate the scientific determinations that “the sky won’t fall.”

A DUI attorney knows how the Melendez case makes it clear that the operator of the state’s chemical test is a necessary witness. However, the court does not make people who routinely work and maintain the lab equipment expert witnesses. The court does not need to hear the testimony of anyone who tested the sample or the testing equipment.

In the case of DUI law, the testimony of the acting police officer is often all a DUI attorney has to work with. When it becomes a matter of one word against the other, a conviction becomes that much more difficult. Police testimony can be called into question if not backed up by empirical evidence such as a Breathalyzer.

A good DUI attorney will know how to use the conclusions of the Melendez case to question key evidence in a DUI trial. Put your rights first by knowing how the court has decided in the past.

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