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Arizona DUI Law

Set Aside Criminal Conviction in Arizona – How it Helps and Who Qualifies

Set Aside / Expungement in Arizona

Arizonans who have criminal records may have to contend with many obstacles when they are looking for jobs or housing. While many states offer the ability to expunge criminal records, Arizona does not have an expungement statute. Instead, it has a different process that people might undergo to attain post-conviction relief from their prior convictions. This process is known as Restoration of Civil Rights and also to have Criminal Convictions Set Aside.

People who have felony convictions on their records are also unable to serve on juries or to own or possess firearms unless their civil rights have been set aside.

This article discusses the following topics below:

  1. Why consider filing a petition to set aside
  2. What does expungement and set aside mean?
  3. The process
  4. After the courts set aside a conviction
  5. Who does not qualify
  6. How long does the process take?
  7. Background checks
  8. How Attorneys can help

 


Why Consider Filing a Petitions to Set Aside a Conviction?

If you have a felony conviction on your record, it makes sense for you to file a petition to set it aside. People who have felony convictions may be unable to own weapons or to serve on juries. They may also fail to pass background checks for employment and for apartments. Some types of convictions may also make them ineligible for certain types of financial aid for higher education.

Setting your record aside may restore your civil rights. While you will have to disclose that you had a conviction, employers will not pay as much attention to it when a court has granted your petition and has set it aside. This might make it easier for you to secure employment and housing so that you can move forward with your life.

If you have a prior misdemeanor conviction, it may not make as much sense to ask for the court to set your misdemeanor aside. Most misdemeanor convictions will not cause you to lose your civil rights. Your attorney at DM Cantor can help you to decide whether it makes sense for you to file a petition to set your misdemeanor or felony conviction aside.

In a recent survey, ” SHRM found that while there is a willingness to hire people with criminal records, only 5 percent of managers and 3 percent of HR professionals said their company actively recruits people with criminal records.

Click to EnlargeDo companies hire employees with a criminal record?

 

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Arizona’s Open Container Laws, Questions and Answers

Arizona’s Open Container Laws, Questions and Answers

While most drivers in Arizona know that they cannot drink and drive, some might be unaware that they also are prohibited from having open containers of alcohol in their vehicles. If you are stopped by the police and have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle, you can be charged with violating the state’s prohibition against having an open container of alcohol in your car. It is not a defense to a charge of having an open container that you were not drinking alcohol from it at the time.

It also does not matter that you are of a legal age to possess and consume alcohol. An open container conviction may come with serious penalties. If you have been charged with a violation of the state’s open container laws, the attorneys at DM Cantor may be able to defend you against the charge.


What are the Open Container Laws in Arizona?

In Arizona, having an open container of alcohol in your vehicle is prohibited under A.R.S. § 4-251. Under this statute, you cannot have an open container of alcohol inside your vehicle’s passenger compartment. An open container includes any bottle or can of an alcoholic beverage that has had its seal broken or some of the beverage removed, including wine, spirits, beer, mixed drinks, or malt liquor. The law does not prohibit transporting unopened bottles of alcohol that you have purchased at a store or have been given by friends as long as their seals are not broken. However, if you go out to a fine-dining establishment and order a bottle of wine, you can be charged with an open container of alcohol violation if you subsequently transport the remaining wine home in your car after dinner.

If you are charged and convicted of a violation of the open container law, it is a class 2 misdemeanor. Under A.R.S. § 13-707, you may face a sentence to jail of up to four months. Under A.R.S. § 802, you can also face a fine of up to $750 for a class 2 misdemeanor conviction in Arizona. A conviction for violating the state’s open container law means that you would have a criminal record, which could also cause other problems for you at your job or with finding a job that you want.


What if a Passenger in Ride-Share like Uber or Lyft?

Open alcohol in backseat of car

Arizona’s open container law does include some exceptions. The rule does not apply to people who are in the living areas of motor homes. It also does not apply to passengers in taxis, limousines, or a transportation network company vehicle. In A.R.S. § 28-9551, a transportation network company is defined as a company that has been licensed by the state of Arizona to connect passengers and vehicles with rides over a digital network. This would include ride-share services like Uber, Lyft, and any others that have been licensed by the state to offer ride-share services, which would mean that you should not be charged with violating the state’s open container law if you transport an opened bottle of alcohol home while you are taking a ride in an Uber or Lyft vehicle.

If you are an Uber or Lyft driver, you also should not face charges for violating the state’s open container law if one of your passengers has an open container in his or her possession while you are using the service. If you a ride-share driver and have been cited for an open container, contact our defense attorneys immediately.

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Miranda Rights – Your Right to Remain Silent

Miranda Rights – Your Right to Remain Silent

If you have ever watched law enforcement drama shows on television such as “Cops,” you have likely heard about the Miranda rights being read to someone. This common phrase starts with “you have the right to remain silent.” In these shows, the police officers routinely read people their rights when they take them into custody. You may be unfamiliar with why the Miranda warnings are read and what they are meant to protect. Here is what you need to know about your Miranda rights when you are stopped and questioned by the police in Arizona. Keep in mind, if facing charges, speaking with a defense attorney could mean the difference between freedom and incarceration.

This article discusses:

  • What are your Miranda Rights and How do they protect you?
  • When do they have to be read to you?
  • What if the Police didn’t read your Miranda Rights?
  • What is Self-Incrimination?
  • If you chose to remain silent, can it be used against you?

What Are Your Miranda Rights?

The Miranda rights are your constitutional rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. A reading of these rights is known as a Miranda warning, and it comes from the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). In the Mirandacase, police officers went to the home of Ernesto Miranda, who was suspected of stealing $8 from a bank worker. They asked him to go with them to the police station for questioning. While he was being questioned, he admitted to rape and kidnapping and signed a statement of admission. He was subsequently tried for the kidnapping and rape and was convicted. Miranda appealed his case through the Arizona and federal court systems, and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear it.

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Arizona Wrong Way Drivers – Causes, Possible Charges & Defenses

Arizona Wrong Way Drivers – Causes, Possible Charges & Defenses

In Arizona, one of the most dangerous types of accidents that may occur is a wrong-way crash. People who are involved in head-on collisions with drivers who are driving the wrong way are much likelier to suffer catastrophic injuries or to die. Drivers who drive the wrong-way may do so for a number of different reasons. If they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of their accidents, they may face a variety of different types of criminal charges that carry severe penalties.

People who are facing criminal charges for driving the wrong way and causing a collision should seek help from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Phoenix at DM Cantor. Our legal team includes four lawyers who are board certified criminal defense specialists, and we have secured more than 4,700 victories for our clients, including victories in more than 2,900 DUI and vehicular crimes cases.


Wrong-Way Car accidents vs Other Types of Collisions

Wrong-way driving occurs when a driver drives his or her vehicle in the wrong direction on a highway, freeway, or road. According to the Federal Highway Administration, an average of 300 to 400 people are killed in the U.S. each year because of collisions with wrong way drivers. While this number represents just about 1% of the total number of traffic fatalities that happen each year, wrong-way collisions tend to be much more serious than other types of accidents. This is because these accidents often occur on highways and freeways where the speed limits are higher.

According to a study that was completed by the Arizona Department of Transportation reporting from 269 wrong-way crashes during a 10-year span from 2004 to 2014, 25% of wrong way crashes involve fatalities. Among other types of collisions on highways, only 1% involve fatalities. A large majority of wrong-way accidents occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., and 65% of the crashes are caused by drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. AZDOT also found that 57% of these crashes happen on the weekends.

Because of the problem of wrong-way driving in Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey signed HB 2423 into law in March 2018. This law amended multiple statutes and made wrong way driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs a felony offense. It is crucial for people who are charged with a wrong-way driving offense to seek help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon after they have been charged as possible. An attorney at DM Cantor may identify all of the possible defenses to the charge and work to build the strongest defensive strategy for his or her client.

Continue Reading About Criminal Charges and Possible Defenses…


OUI (DUI on a Boat) Increases During Summer in Arizona

OUI (DUI on a Boat) Increases During Summer in Arizona

During the summer months in Arizona, a greater number of people head to the popular lakes and waterways for boating and other recreational activities. Boat operators should be aware that operating boats while they are impaired by alcohol is illegal in Arizona. If boat operators operate their boats while they are drinking, they may face criminal charges and potential penalties. So the main question is: can you get a DUI on a boat? Yes.

What are the Laws in Arizona about Consuming Alcohol while Boating?

In Arizona, operating a motorized watercraft on the lakes and waterways of the state while you are under the influence of alcohol is illegal under A.R.S. 5-395 – Operating Under the Influence. According to the law, you may be charged with an OUI offense if you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher, which is the same standard for a DUI in a vehicle. However, the law also allows an OUI charge if you are impaired to the slightest degree when you are operating a boat. This means that it is possible for you to be charged with an OUI if you have any measurable amount of alcohol in your bloodstream and have been observed boating in an erratic manner.

During the summer months, many people head to the lakes and other waterways to hike, swim, fish, and boating. Because of the large number of people in and on the lakes, law enforcement agencies work together with officers from the Arizona Game and Fish Department to patrol the waterways and to detect boat operators who are operating their boats while drinking. Boat operators who are suspected of operating their boats while they are impaired by alcohol may be stopped and charged with OUI offenses.

Watch this video of David Cantor explaining what is an OUI in Arizona:

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Boat Accident Statistics

According to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Office, 4,291 boat accidents occurred in 2017 in the U.S., injuring 2,629 people and killing 658. In Arizona, there were 123 boating accidents during that year that resulted in 77 injuries and 13 fatalities. The Coast Guard reports that alcohol use was a leading cause of fatal boating accidents in a majority of the cases. The top five leading contributing factors to fatal boating accidents include the following:

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Arizona DUI Defense – Blood Test Inaccuracies for 2019

Arizona DUI Defense – Blood Test Inaccuracies for 2019

How to Defend against a DUI Charge in Arizona:  5 Ways Blood Tests Can Be Inaccurate

In Arizona, drivers may be charged with a DUI if their blood alcohol content is 0.08% or higher. Blood tests are widely accepted as being the most accurate way of determining blood alcohol concentration in drivers suspected of DUIs and are often the only objective evidence of a defendant’s guilt, making the validity of the test a central question in a DUI trial.

Chart Showing Blood Alcohol Count - BAC Readings

Source: Stanford University

According to Stanford University, the effects of BAC levels can vary from person to person, male or female, slender or heavier; even medication can play a significant role on the blood alcohol readings. Stanford has published a BAC Graph showing the levels of blood alcohol.

Contrary to popular belief, blood tests are not always conclusive in proving that a driver’s blood alcohol content was above the legal limit. As explained below, many factors affect the accuracy of blood test results.

If your case involved the taking of blood or urine during your DUI arrest, you will need to wait and see if your BAC results come back at a reading of .08% or greater. This process can take between one (1) and six (6) months for your results to return. In the event your BAC readings are above a .08% the officer will send a suspension of driving privileges to the Arizona MVD office. You will then be notified with a “Corrective Action Notice” (i.e., notice of suspension). As soon as you receive this from the DMV, speak to our certified Phoenix DUI Specialist immediately so we can start the DUI Defense process and request a hearing on your behalf. This hearing request needs to be done within fifteen (15) days of the date of that suspension notice.


How can blood alcohol test results be challenged?

Below are 5 common categories of problems that may lead to the dismissal of DUI charges against defendants who have undergone blood alcohol testing:

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What are some Causes of False Positives for DUI Breathalyzer Tests

What are some Causes of False Positives for DUI Breathalyzer Tests

We have all been there with that unsettling feeling that you get when you see the flashing lights in your rearview mirror and hear a patrol car’s siren coming upon you. However, what happens next can be life changing. If that officer asks you to take a breathalyzer test, the results can have a monumental effect on your life, liberty and freedom. Failing a breathalyzer test means that you are over the legal limit for your blood alcohol content (BAC) and criminal prosecution will ensue. The following talks about the accuracy of breathalyzer tests and your defense against these seemingly infallible results.

What is a false positive breathalyzer test?

While most prosecutors and law enforcement officials would have you believe that the results of a breathalyzer test are infallible, that is a bit of a stretch on the truth. Generally, breathalyzer tests are only accurate approximately 40% of the time. Factor into that statistic that the testing equipment itself has an inherent margin of error between .005 and .02% in its BAC readings. Taken into consideration, these various characteristics can lead to a false positive reading by a breathalyzer test. That false positive reading means that you will be charged with driving under the influence (DUI), a very serious crime which can have wide ranging implications on your daily life.

Appropriate and qualified administration of a breathalyzer test

The appropriateness and administration of a breathalyzer test is a very important factor in determining what your true BAC actually is. In terms of appropriateness, timing makes all the difference. One instance of timing making a difference is with your blood alcohol being “on the rise.” This rising occurs because it can take anywhere between fifty (50) minutes to three (3) hours for your system to fully absorb any alcohol that you may have imbibed. Thus, your blood alcohol level could have been within the legal limit while driving, but between the time you were stopped and the test administered, your BAC could have risen just enough to put you over the legal limit.

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Penalties for Hit and Run Charges in The State of Arizona

Penalties for Hit and Run Charges in The State of Arizona

Automobile accidents can be traumatizing, stressful and expensive. In Arizona, when an accident is caused and either the party responsible or not responsible has left the scene of where the accident happened, that is called “fleeing the scene of an accident”, or more popularly known as a “hit and run” or ARS 28-662.

Even if the vehicle that was struck was unoccupied, the person that hit the vehicle is responsible for attempting to locate the owner. If unable to find the owner, a note with the driver’s contact information must be left in a visible location. If this is not done, serious penalties can happen.

What are the Penalties for a Hit and Run in Arizona?

Of the 50 states, Arizona ranked number 5 in a study conducted by AAA that ranks the states on their hit and run fatalities of 2018. Below we outline the different types of hit and run accidents and their potential penalties. They range due to the severity of the accident and those involved. In any case, it is always recommended for those that left the scene to seek legal advice from a hit and run attorney to investigate the incident and look for the best possible outcome.

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