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Arizona Vehicular Law

Different Types of Homicides

In Arizona there are five levels of homicide.  The highest is First Degree Murder with the notice to seek the death penalty; which is called Capital Murder.  Capital Murder is when the prosecutor is not only looking to prove the standard first degree premeditated homicide elements but also has alleged  aggravating factors which are qualified as heinous, cruel and depraved.  For example, torture, mutilation of a body after its dead and fear of the victim before they died, just to name a few.  Typically, they are situations that people normally only see on grotesque TV shows and SAW movies.

However, sometimes the state prosecutors allege a Capital Murder charge that is simply absurd.  For example, we had a client who was charged with Capital Murder when an infant died in her care at a day care center.  Our client professed her innocence from the beginning but despite that, she was facing death.  Our work on the case ultimately showed that the infant died from medical implications and all charges were dismissed with prejudice.

Second Degree Murder is when somebody is reckless with their standard of conduct.  An example of this would be when somebody takes a gun and decides to shoot a paper target, ignores the fact that behind the target is a school yard.  This is an example of someone having a very reckless standard of care.  Typically, these types of charges stem from reckless handling of a weapon, however, the state will sometimes charge people with Second Degree Murder for deaths resulting from a DUI collision.

Although that happens, DUI vehicular homicides are more appropriately charged at the next level down called Manslaughter.  That is a negligent standard of care rather than a Second Degree Murder which is a reckless standard of conduct.  Most of the time we can get Manslaughter reduced to the lowest level of homicide which is Negligent Homicide.  Negligent Homicide is when someone caused the death of another.  This is the lowest level of homicide and the penalty can be as little as probation with no jail.

Although some of these offenses are more serious than others, they all carry significant penalties.  You need an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to successfully defend the charges.

There are many defenses to all of these levels of homicide.  If you need help with a homicide charge, visit the Homicide page and contact us immediately.

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


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.

How Does a DUI Affect Your CDL in Arizona?

CDL is needed to drive a Semi-TruckReceiving a conviction for DUI (driving under the influence) in Arizona can present significant problems for the defendant with a CDL. It is not necessary to be operating a commercial vehicle for a conviction to impact the commercial license status because any general driving privilege suspension period will include a suspension for the commercial driver’s license as well. The damage done by an impaired driving charge depends on the particulars of the case and the possibility of aggravated or enhanced DUI charges, as Arizona has structured a unique comprehensive approach to combat driving under the influence.

All states have stricter standards for commercial drivers who are arrested and convicted for driving under the influence in a commercial vehicle. The universal blood alcohol content level of .08 that all states have adopted for general impaired driving charges does not apply. The standard for commercial drivers to be legally intoxicated in Arizona is .04 BAC level. Commercial drivers that receive a conviction for driving under the influence in Arizona will receive a one year commercial license suspension period regardless of the vehicle the defendant was driving. Two convictions for driving under the influence will result in a lifetime suspension of the commercial driver’s license.

Receiving an intoxicated driving conviction does not necessarily restrict an individual from receiving a commercial driver’s license. An applicant can receive a commercial driver’s license if the previous driver’s license suspension period is completed, but the CDL holder will lose that license if convicted again. The law also makes no distinction between classes of commercial licenses. The suspensions apply to smaller class commercial vehicle operators as well as tractor-trailers.

The impact that a conviction for DUI (driving under the influence) can have on a professional transporter can be immense. Many individuals have invested significantly in their profession and could sacrifice a high income and comfortable standard of living for a simple infraction. In addition to drivers license suspensions, the convicted commercial license holder will receive a much harsher fine than a typical convicted impaired driver.

Convictions for driving under the influence can be a basis for immediate discharge from employment by any transportation company. Many trucking and transportation companies maintain a zero-tolerance policy for impaired driving among employees because of the impact on commercial driving insurance rates and contracted bonding agreements.

Commercial license holders should be aware that states share information concerning DUI convictions. Any CDL applicant should always list a previous conviction that is still effective during their drivers license record period. Any application that does not contain a pertinent conviction will be automatically rejected by the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles.

If you have a CDL and have been arrested or are suspected of a DUI, give us a call. Our team of DUI defense lawyers will listen to the circumstances of your case and help to formulate defenses to the charge. Call us (or email us) today at (602) 307-0808 to schedule a free consultation.

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…

AZ Legislature shows lack of Legal Knowledge: Return of the Birther Bill

Today David Michael Cantor, an Arizona DUI Lawyer, discusses the recent return of the “Birther Bill“ to the Arizona Legislature. As David points out a similar bill was introduced last year only to be defeated before reaching the floor. This time State Rep. Judy Burges has introduced a bill requiring the “long form birth certificate” be submitted in order for presidential candidates to be listed on the state ballot. This bill looks likely to pass and be signed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer making Arizona the first state to require such documentation.

It is not a secret that this is part of a larger effort to deny President Obama the ability to even run for re-election in 2012. Part of the ‘birther’ movement bills like the one recently submitted to Arizona are also catching momentum in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Montana, Georgia and Texas. Supporters of the bill feel that President Obama should not be allowed the Presidential position because he was not born in the USA.

One problem with this law from a legal perspective is that it only applies to the state that passes it. Since the Presidential election is a federal election the state law will have no effect. David points this out and cites multiple sources agreeing that this is another form of political grandstanding and wasted effort.

Of course this is all David’s opinion, please be sure to let us know what you think.

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