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flag-231x300Every year law enforcement agencies across the State of Arizona participate in special DUI task forces and checkpoints over Memorial Day weekend with their stated goal being to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities by enforcing DUI and traffic laws. Last year, according to the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, more than 550 drivers throughout the state were arrested on suspicion of DUI, including arrests for extreme DUI (blood alcohol content of 0.15% or greater). Other citations and arrests included aggressive driving violations, Underage DUI violations (under the age of 21), and DUI drug violations.

What Should I do if I am stopped at a DUI Checkpoint?

  1. Slow down and safely enter the DUI checkpoint area.
  2. Stay in your car and follow the officer’s instructions.
  3. Do cooperate with the officer and provide your driver’s license, insurance and registration. However, once you have provided your identification, remember, you do have the right to remain silent and should let the officer know that you wish to exercise your right to remain silent. You also have the right to contact your lawyer – do let the officer know that you wish to contact an attorney.
  4. If you are asked to step out of your car to perform field sobriety tests (such as the finger-to-nose test or the walk-and-turn test), you are not required to participate in these field sobriety tests. These tests are subjective and can be used to build evidence which can be used against you.
  5. While you do have the right to refuse the field sobriety tests, that does not mean you should refuse all other tests. Under Arizona’s implied consent laws, a person who operates a motor vehicle gives consent to test(s) of the person’s blood, breath, or urine to determine alcohol concentration or blood content for any allegations of driving or actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs. Failure to consent to a chemical test will result in a 12-month license suspension. Even if you refuse to submit to the test, the officer will likely end up obtaining a search warrant which will require you to allow the blood draw anyways and will still result in a 12-month license suspension.
  6. You have the right to consult with an attorney and it is advisable to do so as soon as possible after you become a target of any criminal investigation.

What happens if I am charged with a DUI?

If you have been arrested for DUI, you will likely be transported to the police station or a DUI Task Force van to have your blood alcohol levels tested either through a blood draw and/or a breathalyzer test (and in some cases a urine test). Usually you will then be released, and someone can come and pick you up. In some cases, if the charges are more serious you may be held and booked into jail where you will see a Judge within 24 hours for an initial appearance and to determine release conditions.

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Every year Florence, AZ is host to Country Thunder, the biggest outdoor country music festival in the state. The festival is sure to draw in thousands of fans young and old. With temperatures this weekend forecasted in the 90’s, you will want to be sure to have plenty of water, hats, and sunscreen! Above all, have a great time and be safe.

According to local news outlets, there will be an increased presence of Sheriff’s Deputies, undercover officers and security to ensure the safety and security of everyone attending the festival. Keep in mind, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), the AZ Dept. of Liquor License/Control, and the Florence Police Department in years past have issued hundreds of citations over the course of the 4-day weekend, particularly involving underage drinking related violations, including Minor in Consumption and Minor in Possession, as well as using fake ID’s to buy alcohol and furnishing alcohol to a minor. We have also seen numerous DUI/DWI cases occur as attendees leave the festival.

If you were arrested by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), Florence Police Department, AZ Dept. of Liquor License/Control, or any other agency during Country Thunder weekend, contact the Firm to arrange a free evaluation regarding your case. We have handled countless Country Thunder citations over the years and are familiar with the local courts as well as the typical violations we see coming out of this festival each year. Depending on the agency you were arrested by, your case will likely be cited into either the Florence-Coolidge Justice Court located at 400 South Central Avenue in Florence, AZ or at the Florence Municipal Court located at 775 North Main Street in Florence.

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Mesa Municipal Court Criminal Cases

If you were cited and/or arrested on a misdemeanor criminal violation by the Mesa Police Department, you will likely be appearing in the Mesa Municipal Court. The Mesa Municipal Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor offenses such as DUI (1st Time DUI, Extreme DUI, Super Extreme DUI, Underage DUI), Assault, Disorderly Conduct, Criminal Damage, Domestic Violence and other criminal misdemeanor charges as well as traffic violations, Orders of Protection and Injunctions Against Harassment. Mr. Buckallew has handled countless cases in the Mesa Municipal Court, is very familiar with the Judges and Prosecutors over there and has experience in handling all types of criminal and DUI cases in this Courthouse. The Courthouse is nearby our Tempe office and is located one block south of Main Street and one block west of Mesa Drive at:

Mesa Municipal Court

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Apache Junction Municipal Court Criminal Cases

If you were cited for a misdemeanor criminal violation by the Apache Junction Police Department, within the city limits of Apache Junction, you were likely cited into the Apache Junction Municipal Court. The types of cases which could be cited into this court could include, DUI (1st Time DUI, Extreme DUI, Super Extreme DUI, Underage DUI), Assault, Disorderly Conduct, Criminal Damage, Domestic Violence or any other criminal misdemeanor charges. The courthouse is located at:

300 East Superstition Boulevard, Apache Junction, AZ

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First Time DUI Penalties in Mesa

If this is the first time you have ever been arrested for a DUI, you are probably wondering whether you will have to serve any time in jail, whether your driver's license will be suspended and what types of fines/fees and other costs you might be subject to if you are convicted.

The penalties for a 1st time DUI offense (within 84 months), a Class 1 Misdemeanor, will depend upon your blood alcohol content (BAC):

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Felony Case Progression in Pinal County Superior Court

If you have been arrested in Casa Grande, San Tan Valley, Florence, Apache Junction, the City of Maricopa, Town of Superior, or any other city/town in Pinal County, you may be wondering what to expect going forward. If you were arrested and told that you are being charged with a felony crime, your case will likely end up in the Pinal County Superior Court, if you were arrested by a state agency – whether it was Casa Grande Police, Maricopa Police, Florence Police, Apache Junction Police, Pinal County Sheriff's Office, Arizona Department of Public Safety, or any other city/town police agency. This Firm has significant experience in handling all types of felony crimes, including (but not limited to) – Aggravated Assault, Aggravated DUI, Disorderly Conduct, Drug Crimes, Probation Violations, Theft, Weapons Violations, Fraud, Forgery, Domestic Violence, Homicide, 1st Degree Murder and many other felony offenses. Mr. Buckallew is aBoard Certified Criminal/DUI Defense Attorney (certified by the State Bar of Arizona). Contact the Firm today for a free evaluation of your case.

Felony Criminal Investigation

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How to Post Bond at 4th Avenue Jail

If a friend or member of your family has been arrested and booked into jail in Maricopa County and the Judge ordered that a bond be posted for their release, you may be wondering how to go about posting this bond. Bonds can be paid at the 4th Avenue Jail (north side of the building), located at:

Maricopa County 4th Avenue Jail

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Once again, Arizona has proven to be one of the harshest in the country when it comes to DUI punishment, including mandatory jail time, steep fines and other penalties such as loss of driving privileges, possibility of ignition interlock requirements, possibility of increased insurance rates, along with other potential consequences. A recent study by Wallet Hub ranked Arizona number 1 in penalties for drunk driving and number 2 in DUI prevention efforts (https://wallethub.com/edu/dui-penalties-by-state/13549/). Along with some of the harshest penalties in the country, Arizona has implemented significant prevention efforts across the state. Police agencies in Mesa, and all across Arizona, partner together during holiday and other high traffic weekends to set up DUI task force checkpoints as a preventative measure and also to raise awareness amongst drivers. According to a recent article on azcentral.com, (http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2016/08/12/arizona-toughest-nation-dui-study-says/88636358/), DUI's accounted for 33 percent of the 811 total fatalities in Arizona in 2015, according to data from the Arizona Department of Transportation. At any given time, due to DUI checkpoints and overall DUI enforcement in Maricopa County, the Maricopa County Prosecutor's Vehicular Crimes Unit has an average of 715 Aggravated (felony) DUI cases spread amongst its 13 Vehicular Crimes prosecutors at any given time throughout the year. These numbers do not include the thousands of misdemeanor DUI cases prosecuted in AZ every year. While a 1st Time DUI is usually charged as a misdemeanor, there are certain factors that can cause a DUI to get charged as a felony, including:

  • Driver's license is suspended/canceled/revoked at the time of the DUI
  • A minor child under the age of 15 was in the car at the time of driving
  • This is a 3rd DUI within 84 months
  • The DUI occurred while the driver was required to have an ignition interlock device in the vehicle

The penalties for felony DUI cases are considerably harsher than penalties for misdemeanor DUI cases. The maximum penalty for a first time Aggravated DUI can include: 3.75 years in prison, a 3-year license revocation and a maximum fine of $150,000.00 plus 84% surcharge. The minimum penalty in these cases often requires: a mandatory minimum of 4 months in prison, up to 10 years of probation, a 3 year license revocation, $750.00 fine plus surcharge, $250.00 DUI abatement fund, $1,500 prison construction fee, $1,500.00 state general fund, and an ignition interlock device. The prison term can be increased to 8 months minimum if the person has a total of 3 or more prior DUI convictions in an 84 month period. An individual charged with felony DUI involving a child under 15 in the car, while possessing a valid driver's license, can see the jail penalties reduced to levels within the misdemeanor offense category. Also, one can apply for and obtain a restricted license while on probation. The remaining felony terms would still apply. More serious felony DUI cases, such as DUI cases involving serious injury or homicide have considerably harsher penalties of up to 15 years in prison for multiple felony DUI charges and up to 21 years in prison in DUI homicide cases. Every case is different and the penalties in each case will depend upon a variety of factors so it is advisable to consult with an experienced DUI attorney regarding the specific penalties you may be facing in your DUI case.

Mr. Buckallew is a Board Certified DUI and Criminal Law Specialist,having been certified by the Arizona State Bar, Board of Legal Specialization. This means that he has significant experience in the practice of both DUI and Criminal Defense. Mr. Buckallew personally handles each and every case himself which means you are guaranteed the expertise of a highly experienced DUI attorney from start to finish on your case. Mr. Buckallew focuses his practice on criminal and DUI defense and belongs to many professional organizations, including theNational College for DUI Defense, The American Academy of Forensic Science, and Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice. He was also named a Top 100 Trial Attorney by the National Trial Lawyers – 2012 & 2013. He has handled all types of DUI cases, ranging from DUI Homicide cases, Aggravated DUI, Felony DUI with Multiple Priors, 1st Time DUI, Underage DUI, Extreme DUI, Super Extreme DUI, and many others. Please contact the Firm today to consult with a Mesa Board Certified DUI Attorney regarding your Aggravated DUI case and to discuss your legal options.

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Phoenix Municipal Court

If you have been arrested by the Phoenix Police Department for a DUI or any type of criminal charge, you were likely cited into the Phoenix Municipal Court. The court is located at:

Phoenix Municipal Court

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If you are facing criminal misdemeanor charges in the Scottsdale City Court or one of the Maricopa County Justice Courts in Scottsdale, especially if this is the first time you have ever been involved in the criminal court system, you may be wondering what to expect during misdemeanor court proceedings.

Misdemeanor cases are handled in either the Scottsdale City Court or one of the nearby Justice Courts – McDowell Mountain Justice Court and Desert Ridge Justice Court. The procedures are generally the same, although some rules may vary slightly from one court to another. When you hire a Scottsdale Criminal Defense Attorney, the first legal documents your attorney will typically file on your behalf will include a Notice of Appearance and a Motion for Discovery. The Notice of Appearance informs the court and assigned prosecutor that your attorney will be appearing with you at all future court dates. The Motion for Discovery is filed so that your attorney can obtain all discovery materials from the assigned prosecuting agency.

Arraignment

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