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Arizona Vehicular Law

The Do’s and Don’ts If Stopped at a Sobriety Checkpoint

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This Fourth of July week will be one of the busiest for officers in Arizona and across the nation.  DUI and sobriety checkpoints will start on July 4th and extend to Saturday July 6th.  If you have been drinking and decide to drive, make sure that you have given yourself enough time after your last drink in order to not be impaired and to get your BAC level back under 0.08%.

 If you find yourself at one of these sobriety checkpoints and are not sure what your BAC level is, read our DUI do’s and don’ts HERE.  That page will provide you with all the knowledge necessary about what to do if stopped by law enforcement after you have been drinking. For example, don’t take the eye test or any coordination tests.  You are not required to do these and if the officer is asking you to do any test, chances are he/she is going to arrest you anyway.  The test results just help the prosecutors case.

The most important thing you MUST do is ask to speak with an attorney BEFORE agreeing to any test (breath, blood, etc.).   Put our phone number (602-307-0808) in your cell phone now and call us before speaking to police.


What is a DUI with Drugs in Arizona?

There has been a large increase of DUI for drug cases over the last decade in the State of Arizona. Even if you aren’t under the influence of alcohol while operating your vehicle, you can still be charged with a DUI (Driving under the influence) if you are under the influence of drugs or controlled substances. If you’re convicted of the DUI drug case, serious consequences will most likely occur but there are many ways that an attorney can fight these cases.

So what is a DUI with Drugs charge? Under the Arizona Revised Statutes 28-1381, the law states that if an individual is driving or is in actual physical control of a vehicle “while under the influence of any drug, vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance, and any combination of alcohol and drugs and they are impaired to the slightest degree” or “If any controlled substance is found in their body” they may be convicted with a drug DUI offense.

Some of the most common types of drugs defined that may result in a drug DUI charge are marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, amphetamines, nitrous oxide, psilocybin mushrooms, ecstasy, or opiates such as, hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, and heroin. Basically any type of intoxicating drug can result in a drug DUI charge. Drug DUI charges can also be known as: Metabolite DUI, Weed DUI, THC DUI, or Pot DUI.

When you are pulled over and a law enforcement official suspects that you may be under the influence of drugs, they will almost always conduct a field sobriety test. These tests may include the heel-to-toe test, the finger-to-nose test, a one leg stand, alphabet recitation, or an eye test called the “horizontal gaze nystagmus” test. If they suspect you are under the influence, they may also ask for you to submit a blood chemical or urine test. There are times when it is wise to take these tests and there are times when it is best to refuse these tests. An attorney can offer legal advice for these types of scenarios.

DUI Drug offenses can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony but first time offenders with no accident involved are typically charged with a misdemeanor. The presumptive sentence of a first time offender according to Arizona Revised Statutes section 13.707 is six months in jail and/or fines of no less than $250. There are also court fees and drug education classes that may be involved in the sentencing. People accepting plea bargains and those with lawyer representation normally get reduced sentences with some or all jail time being suspended, which it is wise to seek legal representation.

Because the mere presence of controlled substances in your system is enough to charge you for a drug DUI offense, it is usually wise to seek legal advice. Attorneys can often help get these charges dropped or sentences reduced because there are many factors that may need to be determined for a conviction.

If you live in Arizona and would like a free consultation on a DUI charge, please call our offices at (602) 307-0808 to schedule your appointment. We can also be reached via email by using our secure confidential form.


Texting While Driving: Distracting and Dangerous

This is a Guest Post from the law firm of Millar Mixon in Atlanta, GA.

 

We’ve all seen the ads directed at preventing accidents caused by distracted driving. We all know that texting is perhaps the most dangerous form of distracted driving. But, you don’t have to look far to find someone in traffic using a phone to tap out messages and send emails.

The risks associated with distracted driving, and texting while driving in particular, are real and involve more than just a potential fender bender.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, texting while driving increases your risk of having a car accident by 23 percent. The attention it requires to send a text message takes your eyes and your mind away from driving, as you careen down the road with a several-hundred pound weapon at your hands

For example, to combat these accidents and lessen the risks we all take when sharing the roads, lawmakers in Georgia have also made texting while driving punishable under criminal law.

If you are caught texting while driving, you can be hit with a $100 criminal fine. If your distracted driving is reckless enough to be called “reckless driving,” you could go to jail for the offense. A criminal charge like this can tarnish your record and increase insurance rates, not to mention be a point of embarrassment.

In 2010, an estimated 416,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted driver. In many of these cases, the injured party was an innocent victim, someone who wasn’t texting, talking on the phone, or being otherwise distracted, but was hurt when someone else was being less than safe.

In these cases, the injured party — who may have spent time in the hospital, undergone surgery, or endured long-term physical therapy — is forced to live with the effects of someone else’s poor judgment.

Fortunately for such a car accident victim, there are legal options.

An injured car accident victim may be entitled to recovery through civil laws. This means the person who caused the accident, through their insurance company, can be held financially responsible for the consequences of the accident, including the cost of medical bills, surgeries and time missed from work as well as compensation for pain and suffering.

All in all, the potential criminal and civil penalties that go along with texting and driving, and distracted driving in general, aren’t worth sending off that one last message. And for those of us who do mind the laws of the state, practicing safe driving procedures every time we are behind the wheel, we can rest assured that the laws are designed to protect us and keep us safe.

The Atlanta area personal injury attorneys of Millar & Mixon, LLC. are dedicated to seeking justice for the victims of area motor vehicle accidents. If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact them to discuss your legal options today. 


Red Light Cameras- More Harm than Good?

Red Light Cameras- More Harm than Good?

Photo of a Stoplight

Image Credit James Bowe

If you have ever driven up and down North Scottsdale Road, you know how many red-light cameras there are. The obvious reason for them is to make the roads safer by discouraging drivers from running red-lights. However, recent studies have shown that these cameras may do more harm than good. The reason most of us would think of is that we are so frightened of getting a ticket that we slam on our brakes when we see a yellow instead of traveling through the intersection, and endangering the cars behind us.

However, one reason most people are not aware of is that the contracts between the city and private companies who operate these cameras actually encourage the city to maintain unsafe intersections. Many of these contracts grant the red-light camera provider with a percentage of the money paid on the ticket. Thus, these companies want more money so often times build into their contracts a provision requiring the city to write a minimum number of tickets each year to drivers, or else pay the company a fine. Thus, the cities have an incentive to create shorter yellow-lights, and a disincentive to change the intersection to prevent less red-light running. One can only wonder where the money from our red-light tickets is going…


New Arizona Photo Radar Bill HB 2085 Requires Officer to issue ticket

David M Cantor, Arizona Criminal Lawyer, discusses House Bill 2076 and House Bill 2085 (the new Arizona photo radar bill) were prefiled on January 8, 2010 to be heard at the 2010 49th Legislature Second Regular Session.  If passed, HB 2085 would require that a photo radar ticket actually be issued by a law enforcement officer, and not by mail or a process server.  Currently, if you simply ignore a photo radar ticket received in the mail nothing will happen to you.  However, if a process server claims to have served you or a member of your household, you then must show up to court.  Many process servers are unscrupulous and will simply leave the ticket on your front door and claim that service was accepted.  This new House Bill would actually be a good thing for the people of Arizona.

HB 2076, if passed, would allow an officer to issue a ticket to a person who is smoking in a car if there are any other people in the car who are under 16 years of age.  The ticket would carry a $50.00 fine for each person who is under 16.  The one limitation attached to this House Bill is that the officer cannot pull somebody over purely because they are smoking with a young child in their car.  He must have reasonable suspicion that an additional traffic violation has occurred prior to initiating his stop.  Apparently if you are 16 or 17 (i.e., unable to drink, vote, or legally have sex) you are not protected by the law from second-hand smoke.

To learn more about Arizona photo radar laws, contact The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor.


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