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Arizona DUI Law

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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Charged for DUI Drugs as a Medical Marijuana Card Holder in Arizona

Charged for DUI Drugs as a Medical Marijuana Card Holder in Arizona

Even though recreational possession and use of marijuana remains illegal in Arizona, it has been legalized in the neighboring states of California, Nevada, and Colorado. The possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes in Arizona is perfectly legal though for patients who qualify and are approved for it. What comes to issue for medical marijuana patients are Arizona’s impaired driving laws. It’s illegal to drive impaired in the state when under the influence of marijuana. A conviction is equivalent in seriousness as driving under the influence of alcohol.

Marijuana and Driving Under the Influence Laws

As per ARS 28-1381 (A)(3), a driver could be found guilty of DUI Drugs if he or she is determined to have been driving or was in actual physical control of a vehicle and was “impaired to the slightest degree” by any drug or its metabolite. That’s equivalent to a “zero tolerance” law. Under ARS section 13-3401, the definition of drugs includes marijuana. As per the Arizona Supreme Court, actual physical control is defined as having “current or imminent control” over the vehicle and presenting a “real danger” to yourself or the public. Current or imminent control over a motor vehicle is determined by a totality of the facts and circumstances surrounding a case.

Supreme Court of Arizona v. Hon. Harris (Shilgevorkyn) Case

On December 11, 2010, at about 10:30 p.m., Hrach Shilgevorkyn was stopped by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department for allegedly speeding and making an illegal lane change. Police believed that Shilgevorkyan might have been impaired, and he was asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests. After performing the tests, Shilgevorkyan said that he had smoked “weed” the night before. He was not using it for medical purposes. He was asked to submit to blood tests which he voluntarily submitted to shortly after midnight. It was determined that carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (carboxy-THC) was in his blood sample. Our criminal defense attorney from DM Cantor was obtained to represent Shilgevorkyan against these dui charges. What the case turned on was whether Carboxy-THC was an impairing metabolite. In a four to one decision, the Arizona Supreme Court determined that it was not. Here is a summary of the court’s decision and rationale. It focused on the interpretation of section 28-1381(A)(3).

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What is Reasonable Suspicion to Search My Car?

What is Reasonable Suspicion to Search My Car?

If a police officer has pulled you over and searched your car, you may have had questions about what your rights are and what the police are allowed to do.

  • What do police officers need to pull me over?
  • Can they search my car even if I haven’t committed a crime?
  • What do I need to know to protect myself?

While the specific answers depend on the situation, there are four critical things that you need to know about reasonable suspicion and what rules the police must follow.

Watch this short video from David Cantor about “No Reasonable Suspicion to Stop

1. What is Reasonable Suspicion to Search?

The only standard that a police officer needs to meet to pull your car over—which is also known as an investigatory stop—is reasonable suspicion, but what does that mean? Reasonable suspicion in its most basic sense says that “an officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime has been committed.” While this standard may seem simple, reasonable suspicious contains other rules that must also be met.

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Can You Get a DUI While Driving an ATV / Quad in Arizona?

Can You Get a DUI While Driving an ATV / Quad in Arizona?

Drunk driving is one of the top concerns among law enforcement, both in Arizona and in other states. Driving under the influence of alcohol has the ability to cause accidents, injuries and may even lead to death. In addition, drunk driving penalties can cost a lot of money in court if you’re found guilty. You may also be required to attend and pay for alcohol education classes, commit to community service or serve time in jail depending on the circumstances of your case.

As a result, it is recommended that you never operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, some people misunderstand the law when it comes to operating a vehicle while after drinking. Truthfully, it can be difficult to know when you’re over the limit without a variety of scientific tests. It is important to remember that everyone processes alcohol in different ways. In most cases, DUI charges (see: Arizona Revised Statute ARS 28-1381) are brought against people who are stopped for driving a car, truck or other common on-road vehicle. The question is, can you be charged with a DUI while operating an off-road vehicle?

Can You Get a DUI on an ATV in Arizona?

The answer is: Yes. Like in other states, AZ DUI laws state that a motorized vehicle is one that uses a mechanized engine for power. This means that you can’t be charged with a DUI while on a bike, skateboard, horse or other modes of transportation that don’t require an engine. You can, however, be charged with a DUI while operating an ATV or quad because these are classified as motorized vehicles. ATVs are treated the same as cars and other on-road vehicles. Furthermore, you can be arrested for a DUI on an ATV while off a commercial roadway, but unless you are egregious in your driving, you likely won’t be stopped on your own property.

Understanding Arizona DUI Laws

  • You can be arrested for DUI on an off-road vehicle
  • A vehicle must be operated by a mechanized engine to be considered motorized
  • Never drink and drive
  • Remain silent if arrested to avoid self-incrimination

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What to do if You Are Arrested for a Felony in Arizona

What to do if You Are Arrested for a Felony in Arizona

If you have been arrested in Arizona for a felony charge, it is vital that you understand your rights. A felony conviction can have significant consequences and may result in revocation of certain rights. Rights such as the right to vote and to possess a firearm. Because of this, you should be mindful of your rights and should contact an Arizona defense attorney as soon as possible.

What are some of Your Rights after you are Arrested for a Felony?

After you are placed under arrest for a felony offense, you have certain constitutional rights that are intended to protect your interests. These rights include the following:

The right to remain silent

  • The right to remain silent: After you are arrested, you are under no obligation to speak with law enforcement about the event. Police officers are often well-trained in interrogation tactics and will seek to obtain information that could be used against you in court. The prosecution frequently relies upon admissions made by defendants or inferences that can be drawn from statements that are made. To protect yourself and to limit disclosure of information, you should exercise your right to remain silent, at least until such time that you have legal representation present.

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How Long Can I Be Held in Custody by Law Enforcement?

How Long Can I Be Held in Custody by Law Enforcement?

In most cases, someone who is arrested will be taken into custody by law enforcement, processed into jail and then be formally charged with a crime before a judge during an arraignment hearing; but what happens if no formal charges are filed? Can the police hold you behind bars until they feel like taking action? How long do you have to wait before your case goes to trial? When should you involve a criminal defense attorney in your Arizona arrest case?

What Happens After an Arrest?

After an arrest, you are in a bit of a legal gray area. You have been taken into custody by law enforcement, but you have not been formally charged with a crime. As a result, you must remain in custody while awaiting charges for a period of time. If that time expires and you have not been charged, you must be released. While waiting, you will likely be brought before a magistrate judge who will determine your bail amount, if any. This differs from an arraignment in that, during an arraignment hearing, you are formally charged with a crime and are required to enter a plea. This is also when a trial date is set, and you will remain in jail until your trial.

If you are not charged within the hold period, you will not be arraigned, but a bail amount and the posting of bail may be required – see “how to post bail”. Once again, this is an area of legal limbo because you are still in jail while waiting to see what is going to happen, so you should contact your defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest to ensure that you receive adequate representation from the start of the criminal justice process.

While Waiting in Jail:

  • Exercise your right against self-incrimination
  • Follow commands by law enforcement within legal boundaries
  • Contact your defense attorney
  • Know that you have not been formally charged with a crime until you have been arraigned

How Long Can You Be Held After an Arrest?

In Arizona, as well as in many other states, there is a limit of 48 hours after an arrest before formal charges have to be filed.

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