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Arizona DUI Law

DUI Attorney in Arizona: The Importance of Strict Scientific Testing

Any DUI attorney in Arizona can tell you about how much the standards for determining drunk driving have changed over the years. Back during the Carter administration, it was common for Georgia state troopers to have motorists blow into their Smokey the Bear hats to guesstimate the drunken intoxication of a driver. While this may sound like an episode of Yogi the Bear, it hardly qualifies as scientifically provable evidence. With such flimsy standards, a DUI attorney in Arizona would have many potential angles to introduce challenge and doubt into the evidence of the prosecution.

There were a wide variety of sobriety tests that existed in the 1970s, and not all of them involved a wide brim hat. Some involved drawing on a sheet of paper. Others involved doing a song and dance and grading for grammar and poise. Around 1975, however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began scientifically measuring the accuracy of various tests in order to prove which were the most sound at providing reliable evidence. Rather than create more accurate tests, they merely had to determine the accuracy of the tests that were already being used that a DUI attorney in Arizona might regularly run into.

The National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) awarded a contract to the Southern California Research Institute (SCRI) to determine which field tests were most accurate. The studies were conducted by SCRI director Marcelline Burns, a research psychologist who participated in ride-alongs with police officers all over the United States. Burns compiled a list of 16 tests thought to be feasible as potentially reliable sobriety tests. SCRI selected pilot tests and then began testing their validity with control groups in 1977. Six tests were chosen for the study that would decide the rules for which a DUI attorney in Arizona must operate.

After concluding its study, the SCRI recommended the use of 3 of its 6 tests. These included the walk and turn , the one leg stand, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Other tests that had been studied included the finger to nose test, the finger count and the tracing test. The Romberg test, the alphabet test and subtraction tests were used interchangeably. These tests could be used to establish evidence at the scene to compile the freshest data related to the crime of the client of a DUI attorney in Arizona.

The testing was done in a laboratory setting over the course of a year. It involved 238 drinking subjects and 10 police officers. Individuals selected for the tests were all licensed drivers familiar with the effects of alcohol. They were instructed not to eat for 4 hours and then given measured doses of alcohol, but were never told how much alcohol they had been given. Their BAC levels were measured and then subjected to the 6 tests listed above. These are the same tests that might be given today to a client of a DUI attorney in Arizona.

Interestingly enough, the testing revealed that the error rate of the officers involved could have an impending significance. It was found that the officers had an error rate of over 47%. The officers made the decision to arrest 101 people, 47 of which had a BAC under .10 %. This leads to the suggestion that a DUI attorney in Arizona can insert a great amount of doubt into evidence based solely on an officer’s testimony. Without a definitive scientific test that measures the individual’s alcohol level, it is nearly impossible to say that the driver was in fact drunk.

About the Author
David Michael Cantor is an AV rated (the highest possible rating) lawyer and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. For more information about an Arizona DUI Attorney, visit our site.


Tricks a DUI Lawyer in Arizona Can Use to Question a Blood Sample

Upon accepting a new client, a good DUI lawyer in Arizona already anticipates the challenges that can mount of the client subjected him or herself to a breathalyzer. These include mouth alcohol, radio frequency interference, and interfering substances, although the list can go on. If the client took a blood test, however, too many a DUI lawyer in Arizona will just give up hope and accept the test results. It doesn’t have to be that way, as creative approaches can instill doubt into any blood test. Let’s take a look at a few of the strategies.

Collection Materials
A DUI lawyer in Arizona who wishes to dispute such a test should first start by looking at the materials used to collect the blood specimen. In inappropriate materials were used, it can make a big difference that may result in the validation of your client.

Most agencies drawing for blood use some type of partially evacuated blood collection tube, such as the Vacutainer from Becton-Dickenson. These tubes are sold with a variety of additives inside, depending on the type of test for which the sample has been collected. The appropriate tube for such a test contains a mixture of sodium fluoride and potassium oxalate. Usually these tubes are intended for blood glucose approximations and typically have a gray stopper. Stoppers for other tubes have different colors.

If the blood alcohol result of the client of the DUI lawyer in Arizona is derived from a tube designed for a different type of analysis, the result may be inaccurate due to interference with the different chemicals within the tubes, or from the separation of the blood into plasma or serum. Remember, plasma is the blood minus the blood cells. Always check which type of tube is used for collection, as a mistake can be used as leverage by a meticulous DUI lawyer in Arizona.

Also realize that these tubes have a shelf life and an expiration date. After the date is expired, the vacuum depletes, which may result in contaminants from the surrounding air. This results in less than the full amount of blood necessary to conduct a conclusive test, called a “short draw.” This can also happen if the technician pulled the tube off of the needle before it had completely filled, introducing microbe contaminants into the tube. In blood cases, it is critical that a DUI lawyer in Arizona always check the expiration date as well as the appropriate amount of blood for the size of the tube. If it less, the accuracy of the blood ethanol result can be quite readily disputed in a court of law.

Skin Prep and Alcohol Swabs
Prior for drawing blood for alcohol tests, the skin must be wiped with a swab that does not contain alcohol, meaning not only ethanol, but other alcohols such as isopropanol or rubbing alcohol. The swab is important to kill any microbes that might contaminate the sample. It is important that the swab be done in an outward spiral to remove the microbes away from the punctured site. Ask the person who drew the blood sample to demonstrate their technique, as many do so incorrectly in a way that leads to contaminated and incorrect samples. If the swab contained alcohol, it can also contaminate the sample and can give a DUI lawyer in Arizona ample room to insert doubt into the prosecution’s case.

About the Author
David Michael Cantor is an AV rated (the highest possible rating) lawyer and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. For more information about an Arizona DUI lawyer, visit our site.


DUI Attorney Arizona Gets DUI Case Dismissed Due to a Miranda Rights Violation

According to court records, DUI Attorney Arizona David Michael Cantor’s office was able to convince a Globe Regional Justice Court judge to dismiss a DUI case due to the officer’s improper reading of the clients Miranda rights.

In the case of State v. Gaona (Globe Regional Justice Court Case No. TR2008002096) Gaona was arrested for an alleged DUI violation. Gaona’s original stop was due to his license plate light being burned out. He participated in only one field sobriety test, on which he performed well, and the officer administered an eye test, which he was not certified to administer. Gaona was arrested and was not told that he had the Constitutional right to speak to an attorney, which is standard in all Miranda rights readings.

At the hearing the officer never identified Gaona in court as the person who he had stopped. When the State was finished presenting their evidence, an associate of DUI Attorney Arizona David Michael Cantor made a Motion to Dismiss the case based on lack of identification and improper administration of Miranda rights. The judge agreed and the entire case was dismissed.

“This is why it is important to make sure that the prosecutors and the police officers check every single box when dealing with a defendant’s rights,” said Arizona DUI Attorney David Cantor. “In this case they failed to do so and as a result we were able to get Mr. Gaona’s case dismissed.”

DM Cantor enjoy an excellent reputation as DUI Attorneys in Arizona, and throughout the Legal Community because of their aggressiveness, integrity, honesty, and professionalism. For more information about DM Cantor visit DUI Attorney Arizona.

About DM Cantor

DM Cantor feature criminal defense attorneys in Arizona who are ready to represent you. As Arizona’s premier defense lawyer, David Michael Cantor defends DUI/ DWI cases, vehicular crimes, homicide, drug and sex offenses, white collar and property crimes. David Michael Cantor is AV Rated – the highest rating possible – and was voted a Top 100 trial lawyer. David Michael Cantor has been interviewed and has appeared on Inside Edition, the CBS Morning Show, Good Morning America, CNN Prime News, Hannitty and Combs, and every local news channel including Univision. In addition, his cases have been covered by CNN, MSNBC, and even Howard Stern.


DWI Lawyers Get Blood Test Suppressed Due to The Coercive Tactics of the Police Officer

Phoenix, AZ. April 27, 2010DWI Lawyers from the DM Cantor were able to get a blood test suppressed in a case involving a DUI with a prior due to the coercive tactics of the arresting officer.

In the case of State v. Creek (City of Phoenix Court Case No. 3884018) a City of Phoenix judge suppressed the readings of a .136 blood test in a DUI case due to the coercive nature of obtaining the blood. The case was ultimately Dismissed at Jury Trial.

In the Creek case the defendant was from Texas and was told that he would be booked into jail overnight unless he completely complied with the blood draw, all questions and field sobriety tests. While in the DUI van with two police officers, the defendant stated “I don’t’ want to be any trouble, but I should speak with a lawyer.” The officers gave Creek the “evil eye” and looked at each other. Creek then stated “Never mind, I’ll do what you want.” After the blood was drawn and he answered questions Creed was allowed to take a taxi back to his hotel.

The judge found that the officers clearly infringed on Creek’s 5th Amendment Constitutional right to speak to counsel before answering questions or agreeing to provide a blood sample. Due to the fact that this was a DUI with a prior conviction, Creek was facing a minimum of 120 days in jail, but because of the officers’ improper actions he received zero days in jail and no second conviction.

“The police cannot threaten you with incarceration in order to get you to answer questions and provide blood samples” said Phoenix DWI Lawyer David Michael Cantor. “ Creek’s Constitutional rights were not awarded to him and as a result his case was dismissed.”

DM Cantor enjoys an excellent reputation as DWI lawyers in Phoenix, and throughout the Legal Community because of their aggressiveness, integrity, honesty, and professionalism. For more information about the attorneys at DM Cantor, click on the About Us menu tab.


Drunk Driving Impacts of US v. Herring on DUI Defense

Any lawyer for drunk driving should be well aware of how Herring v. United impacts DUI defense. In the case, a warrant check revealed there was an active warrant for the suspect’s arrest. For that reason alone, the police followed the defendant’s vehicle, pulled him over and arrested him. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed illegal drugs and an illegal pistol. This type of situation can easily apply to any number of cases a lawyer for drunk driving could be involved in.

The catch is that there was a problem with the warrant, which had been recalled 5 months earlier. This was due to a bookkeeping error, and officer attempted to corroborate the warrant, which lead to the discovery of a mix up within 5 to 15 minutes. Either way, the suspect was nailed and in need of a lawyer for drunk driving. If you can prove that the police record system has so many problems that even the police can’t rely on it, your lawyer for drunk driving might be able to make a case.

The court concluded that a 4th amendment violation occurred, creating a precedent that helps a lawyer for drunk driving protect his or her client. The issue was whether the exclusionary rule was an appropriate measure. Courts have previously ruled that the “fruits of an illegal arrest should not be suppressed.”

The exclusionary rule is not a given right that a lawyer for drunk driving can use to protect clients. It applies only to cases of appreciable deterrence. Plus, the benefits to deterrence must outweigh the costs.  The extent to which the exclusionary applies also depends on the culpability of the law enforcement conduct. To trigger the exclusionary rule, police must act sufficiently deliberate that exclusion can momentarily deter it, and sufficiently culpable that such deterrence is worth the price paid by the legal system. (more…)


Arizona Criminal Attorney Earns a Verdict of Not Guilty of DUI and a Hung Verdict on the Charges of DWI

Scottsdale, AZ.  March 4, 2010Arizona Criminal Attorney David Michael Cantor’s office earned his client a verdict of not guilty of DUI and a hung verdict on the charges of DWI in the case of State v. Levitz. A Scottsdale City Court jury found that Levitz was not guilty of DUI (impaired to the slightest degree) and they hung on the issue of whether he had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher (i.e., DWI).

According to a BAC test, Levitz blood alcohol content was a .120 but criminal attorney David Michael Cantor’s associate was able to provide concern of the fact that the test analyst for the City of Scottsdale used an alcohol based hand sanitizer prior to testing the blood sample. In addition, Cantor was able to show that the criminalist did not properly put on gloves prior to the testing.

“The test analyst did not properly follow the necessary procedures before conducting the blood alcohol content test and the field sobriety test showed that Levitz was not impaired,” said criminal attorney David Michael Cantor. “We were able to provide this evidence to the jury and they returned successful verdicts for our client.”

Criminal attorney David Michael Cantor’s associate was able to provide evidence that the field sobriety test showed that Levitz was not impaired. Levitz had only four cues on the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (i.e., the Eye Test) which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states is indicative of being a .05 BAC. Because the scientific community will testify that all people are impaired at a BAC of .08, but below that level many people are not impaired, the jury found Levitz not guilty of DUI.

Due to the fact that Levitz was found not guilty of being impaired to the slightest degree, it is unlikely that the State will retry the charge of DWI because the not guilty verdict necessarily indicates that Levitz’s BAC was not a .08 or higher.


Phoenix Criminal Attorney Gets Judge to Over-Rule City Court’s Denial of Motion to Suppress

Phoenix, AZ.  March 1, 2010Arizona criminal attorney David Michael Cantor’s Law Office provided evidence that had a Maricopa County Superior Court Appellate Judge over-rule the Scottsdale City Court’s denial of Motion to Suppress a blood alcohol content test in the case of State v. Nokes. The Appellate Judge suppressed Nokes’ .215 blood alcohol content.

Nokes was arrested by the police for an extreme DWI (i.e., above .15 BAC) and requested to call an attorney prior to a blood test. The officer said (in a taped interview) that he could not recall if Nokes requested an attorney prior to the blood test or after providing blood. An associate for Phoenix criminal attorney Cantor filed a Denial of Right to Counsel Motion, and during the Evidentiary Hearing, the officer now stated that he had a specific recollection that Nokes’ requested an attorney after already providing blood. The officer was subsequently impeached on the stand when the taped interview showed that earlier he stated he had no recollection.

“The case of State v. Nokes should have been dismissed by the Scottsdale City Court judge,” said Phoenix criminal attorney David Michael Cantor. “However, we were forced to appeal to the Superior Court and ultimately got the BAC test suppressed for our client.”

The judge in the Scottsdale City Court denied the Motion even given all this information. Upon appeal, the Superior Court Judge found that the judge in Scottsdale City Court was completely unreasonable and had ignored evidence in order to rule for the State.


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