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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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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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Best Tempe DUI Defense for Charges of Driving Under the Influence

Tempe DUI Lawyer Defense

With students back in school and part-time residents – or “snowbirds” as the locals might say – are slowly starting to arrive, Tempe restaurants, late-night clubs and local watering holes will be seeing an increase in customers consuming alcohol. In return, the City of Tempe DUI Task Force will be in full effect as well. In late August, there were already 147 DUI arrests near the ASU campus.

Getting a DUI charge in Tempe can be a very frightening process. You may feel fear over the potential consequences of your charges and a possible DUI/DWI conviction. To fight the charges, you also have to find the right criminal defense lawyer to ensure you don’t suffer maximum penalties.

DM Cantor’s DUI defense attorney team has the extensive experience of the DUI laws in Tempe and the defense know-how that you need on your side. You may have been arrested as part of a Tempe traffic stop or a DUI task force action. Either way, our team will work tirelessly to defend you against your charge of driving under the influence to ensure that the penalties are dismissed or reduced, altogether. (more…)


Can I Refuse a Field Sobriety Test when Pulled Over for DUI?

Whenever a driver is stopped under suspicion of DUI, the law enforcement officer asks if the driver is willing to submit to a Standard Field Sobriety Test. There are reasons to refuse this test. In most cases, these tests are voluntary and an officer’s request does not require people to take them in most situations.

These tests can be difficult to pass for even non-intoxicated individuals. If the test is not successfully passed, law enforcement can use the failure as incriminating evidence in a case against you. It is always best to refuse to take the test and gain the help of a DUI Arizona defense attorney for any ramifications of the refusal or the roadside stop, itself.

Refusing to take a field sobriety test may be misconstrued as an admission of guilt. But a DUI defense attorney can explain the refusal away as part of a defense case for a DUI violation trial. By refusing a field sobriety test, you are not providing law enforcement with any new evidence of driving while under the influence, aside from an initial admission of guilt. By not taking the test, the potential of self-incrimination is reduced. (more…)


What to do when Arrested for DUI with a CDL (Arizona Commercial Drivers License)

If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and are arrested for a DUI in your personal vehicle, it’s going to have an impact on your license. Today I’m going to walk you through potential outcomes of a Phoenix DUI and discuss your options for dealing with a DUI with a CDL.

If you’re stopped while driving and willingly provide a blood, breath or urine test above .08 percent Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), your license will be suspended for 90 days. Instead, if you meet certain criteria, you may be eligible for a 30/60 day permit. A 30/60 day permit means 30 days of no driving and 60 days of driving restricted to going to and from work, school or a doctor’s office. This is preferable to a 90-day suspension. This suspension is called an “Administrative Per Se” suspension, or “admin per se” for short. In order to qualify for the restricted driving permit after the first 30 days, you’ll have to go through alcohol screening. As part of this process, they’ll tell you that you need to take a certain amount of classes, but completing these classes isn’t required to get the 30/60 permit.

Law enforcement officers may obtain a warrant to compel you to provide a test sample if you aren’t willing to volunteer one. The default suspension for forcing them to get a warrant, called a refusal, is much longer than if you comply. Under implied consent laws (laws that state you agree to BAC testing by driving), your license will be suspended for a full year. This is called an implied consent suspension, and like the admin per se suspension, it can be commuted to a three-month/nine-month permit. Like the 30/60 permit, this allows driving to work, school or a doctor for the last nine months and requires an alcohol screening. You’ll also need an SR-22. An SR-22 will increase your insurance rates and allow your insurance company to “rat you out” if your insurance ever expires.

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As an additional requirement, you’ll have to put an interlock device or breath-testing device on your car’s steering wheel. In order to start your car or continue driving it, you’ll have to blow into this device every 15 minutes. If you fail to blow into it every 15 minutes, your engine will turn off. Every 90 days, you’ll have to take the car in to have the chip in the interlock or breath-testing reviewed to make sure you never blew above a .020 BAC. This BAC requirement has built-in leeway to account for alcohol that may be contained in medicines or absorbed through methods other than drinking. It’s below the BAC most people blow after a single drink, so if you have any drinks and drive, you’ll fail the review.

(more…)


DUI Defense: No Actual Physical Control

The DUI law in Arizona used to read that any intoxicated person sitting in a car with the keys in the ignition is in “actual physical control” of their car. However, in 1995, David Michael Cantor took the case, State vs. Love, to the Arizona Supreme Court in order to change the law. He argued and won the case. Since 1995, the definition regarding whether a person has actual physical control of their vehicle while intoxicated depends on a totality of the circumstances. For example, if a person pulled over and stopped only to turn the air conditioner or heater on, then they cannot be charged with being in physical control of their vehicle. Other situations where a person would not be in “actual physical control” of a vehicle would be if a person is sitting in the car and waiting for a ride, or if an intoxicated driver is “sleeping it off”. David Michael Cantor has argued and won countless cases pertaining to individuals being charged with DUIs.

Watch this short video about the DUI Defense, No Actual Physical Control:

Each case is different, but our firm is very good at defending DUI cases. We defend individuals who may not have been in actual physical control of their vehicles during their brief intoxication. Some of the possible indications of the ‘No Actual Physical Control’ DUI defense are: if the engine or parking brake were on or off during the arrest; if the car was off the main travel road; if the car was in neutral; and if the car was in a bus pullout, parking lot or outside of a drive-thru. These are instances where attorneys can argue that the individual, though intoxicated, was not in actual physical control of their vehicle because the vehicle was not moving or putting anyone in harm’s way. However, it would be hard to argue if a person was passed out a green light, hit a pole or blew out their tires while intoxicated. This is evidence that the person was intoxicated and in actual physical control of their vehicle prior to passing out.

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If one of these situations applies to you, then contact our offices at 602-307-0808 or send us an email to get a Free Case Consultation. We are ready to discuss your case with you and find the best possible defense for your case.

 

 


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.


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