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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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The countdown to Super Bowl XLIX continues as throngs of fans head out to Super Bowl Central which has taken over about 12 blocks in downtown Phoenix. According to azcentral.com, Phoenix along with state liquor officials have approved public consumption of alcohol within an enclosed 9-block area of downtown Phoenix, enabling folks to enjoy the street festivities with a cocktail in hand. This is said to be the largest special event liquor license ever issued in downtown Phoenix and to ensure the safety of everyone, security will be extremely tight. Anyone wanting to consume alcohol in this area will be required to show their ID, wear wristbands, and stay within the 9-block perimeter which will be secured with temporary barricades. Officers from Phoenix Police Department, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) and the AZ Department of Liquor License and Control will be conducting enforcement efforts and ticketing violators for drinking violations such as Minor in Consumption / Minor in Possession and Underage Drinking as well as any other criminal violations ranging from Disorderly Conduct, Assault, Weapon and Firearm Violations, and Drug Violations. There will also be increased DUI enforcement in and around Phoenix so if you do plan to consume alcohol, be sure to designate a sober driver or utilize taxi service, Uber, or the light rail to avoid the harsh consequences of a DUI charge in Arizona.

Some of the most common alcohol violations we see with large events around the valley include, Underage Drinking, Underage DUI, False ID and Minor in Consumption (MIC) / Minor in Possession (MIP) violations. Arizona has a "zero tolerance" law which prohibits anyone under the age of 21 to drive with any trace of alcohol in their system. If you are under the age of 21 and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or above .08%, you may also be charged with DUI in addition to Underage Drinking. The penalties for some of the common underage drinking violations are outlined here:

A.R.S. § 4-241L – (Fake ID) "A person who is under the legal drinking age and who misrepresents the person's age to any person by means of a written instrument of identification with the intent to induce a person to sell, serve, give or furnish spirituous liquor contrary to law is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor." The maximum punishment for a class 1 misdemeanor is up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

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As Glendale is gearing up to host the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots on February 1st we want to welcome an estimated 100,000 out of town visitors expected to visit the Valley of the Sun for Super Bowl XLIX. According to AZCentral.com, Phoenix area airports (including Scottsdale Airport, Phoenix Deer Valley Airport, Goodyear Airport, Glendale Municipal Airport, Mesa's Falcon Field Airport, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Chandler Municipal Airport, and of course Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport) have been preparing for this increased air traffic for several months, anticipating over 1,000 additional private aircraft along with commercial and charter jets.

The NFL will be hosting the Super Bowl Experience activities at the Phoenix Convention Center the week leading up to the super bowl. According to azsuperbowl.com – along with the many interactive attractions, games, exhibits and other activities, fans will also be able to find many other venues and activities around town including the 2015 Pro Bowl on January 25th at University of Phoenix Stadium, the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale (1/26/15-2/1/15), Super Bowl XLIX Media Day (1/27/15), Verizon Super Bowl Central – a free, family-friendly, football themed outdoor fan fest taking over Downtown Phoenix (1/28/15-2/1/15), along with many other events leading up to the big game.

And of course with any event of this scale, law enforcement agencies from around the valley are coordinating efforts to ensure the safety of all residents – both locals and visitors alike. With a week filled with Super Bowl events spread across the valley between Glendale, Phoenix and Scottsdale, police officers from Glendale PD, Phoenix PD and Scottsdale PD will be working off-duty shifts in addition to all regularly scheduled shifts in these departments. Additionally, other agencies – both local and federal, are providing the assistance of their officers, including Gilbert PD, Tempe PD, Mesa PD and Prescott PD, along with regional cooperation of over 50 agencies. The City of Phoenix is hosting the major events – both Super Bowl Central covering several blocks in downtown Phoenix, as well as the Super Bowl Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center. The City of Scottsdale will be hosting many out town visitors in local resorts both for the Super Bowl and the WM Phoenix Open. The Super Bowl itself as well as the Pro Bowl will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in the City of Glendale.

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If you are facing criminal charges in Phoenix, a Board Certified Criminal Defense Attorney with this Firm offers a free, no obligation evaluation of your case. Mr. Buckallew has focused his practice primarily on criminal and DUI defense, representing countless individuals in Phoenix and throughout the State of Arizona for over the course of his career. The Firm has defended a wide range of criminal cases, from Disorderly Conduct and Domestic Violence cases to DUI cases all the way up to First Degree Murder cases. Mr. Buckallew has handled countless cases in the Phoenix courts – both the Phoenix Municipal Court (misdemeanor criminal/misdemeanor DUI) and the Maricopa County Superior Court (felony criminal/felony DUI). The Firm also represents individuals in the Maricopa County Justice Courts located in Phoenix, including the Arcadia Biltmore Justice Court, Desert Ridge Justice Court, Downtown Justice Court, Encanto Justice Court, Dreamy Draw Justice Court, Maryvale Justice Court, McDowell Mountain Justice Court, Moon Valley Justice Court, South Mountain Justice Court, and the West McDowell Justice Court (misdemeanor criminal/misdemeanor DUI). In addition to criminal and DUI cases, Mr. Buckallew also represents plaintiffs or defendants in Injunction Against Harassment/Order of Protection proceedings as well as Interfering with Judicial Proceedings cases.

If you are charged with a DUI in Phoenix, it is critical to seek competent legal counsel as these cases can result in significant fees/fines, potential for incarceration, increased insurance premiums, college/career repercussions, possible suspended or revoked driver's license, possible probation, and the possibility of ignition interlock requirements and alcohol classes. DUI litigation requires knowledge in both criminal defense as well as a thorough understanding of the scientific evidence (blood, breath, etc.) and Mr. Buckallew has significant experience in both of these areas. With his Law Degree and continuing legal education along with his Master's Degree in Forensic Science, Mr. Buckallew understands both the science behind the evidence as well as the potential legal defenses inherent in DUI cases. He has handled all types of DUI cases including (but not limited to), 1st Time DUI, DUI Involving an Accident, Underage DUI, Extreme DUI, Super Extreme DUI, Aggravated DUI, DUI with Multiple Priors, DUI Involving Homicide (or Injury), and DUI – Drugs. He has achieved successful outcomes for countless clients over the years, including full case dismissals, not guilty jury trial verdicts, favorable plea agreements, and aggressively defends each and every case he handles.

Mr. Buckallew has also handled a wide range of criminal cases – both misdemeanor and felony, including (but not limited to), Assault, Domestic Violence, Drug Possession, Drug Sales, Drug Crimes, Juvenile Crimes, Shoplifting, Misconduct Involving Weapons, Theft Crimes, White Collar Crimes, Minor in Possession, Minor in Consumption, Burglary, Reckless Driving, Disorderly Conduct, Violation of Restraining Orders, Prostitution, Sex Crimes, Homicide and Murder. He has a track record for zealously defending each and every client and has achieved successful outcomes in countless cases over the course of his career.

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Please celebrate responsibly and enjoy a safe and happy New Year's Eve! If you plan on drinking tonight, make transportation plans ahead of time for the safety of yourself and other drivers on the roadways. There are plenty of options to ensure a safe arrival home at the end of the night, including taxi or limo service, Uber or a designated driver. In addition, AAA Tipsy Tow service is once again offering a free (10-mile) tow and ride home – call 1-800-AAA-HELP between 6PM Dec. 31st and 6AM Jan. 1st https://www.az.aaa.com/news/automotive/tipsytow. Also, check out Valley Metro as they are teaming up with Coors Light to provide free rides on bus, light rail and ADA Dial-a-Ride services beginning at 7PM on New Year's Eve. See more at: http://www.valleymetro.org/landing_page/freerides/.

If you do find yourself being charged with a DUI, it is critical to seek the advice of competent legal counsel as soon as possible. Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country and if convicted, the penalties include significant fees, fines, mandatory incarceration, alcohol counseling, potential for increased insurance premiums, ignition interlock requirements, probation, possible vehicle impoundment, license suspension, and other unanticipated consequences.

The penalties are typically harsher the higher your blood alcohol content (BAC) and can also be harsher when certain 'aggravating' factors are involved, such as having a minor child (under the age of 15) in the car, having a suspended/revoked driver's license, or having multiple DUI convictions at the time of the DUI stop. At a minimum, the penalties for a First Time DUI with a BAC of .08-.15% can include up to 6 months in jail, a $2,500 fine (with 84% surcharge) plus additional fees, a 90-day to 1 year driver's license suspension, ignition interlock requirement, mandatory alcohol screening and counseling, probation and potential for increased insurance, among other consequences. Extreme DUI (BAC of .15-.20%) and Super Extreme DUI (BAC > .20%) result in even harsher penalties including increased jail time, higher fees/fines, vehicle impoundment, license suspension, and other penalties. If there are 'aggravating' circumstances involved at the time you are stopped, you will likely be charged with a Class 4 or Class 6 Felony DUI. Aggravating circumstances, as previously mentioned, can include having a minor child in the car, having multiple prior DUI convictions or driving without a valid driver's license (i.e. suspended/revoked). As you can imagine, the more serious the circumstances and the higher your BAC, the harsher the penalties will be. The prison term for an Aggravated DUI conviction can be anywhere from 4-months up to several years. The fees and fines are substantially higher for felony DUI's, as are other penalties, including longer license suspension, increased insurance premiums, probation, classes and other unanticipated consequences.

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The 4th of July is a day for celebration involving many festivities, including watching fireworks, family BBQ's, camping, boating, parades, baseball games and other patriotic activities. Given that July 4th falls on a Friday this year, it is also a 3-day weekend for many and we wish all a very safe and happy 4th of July weekend.

As with many other holiday weekends, AZ Law Enforcement will be out in full force around the state with DUI checkpoints and increased patrol in heavy traveled areas of the state. If you plan to enjoy alcoholic beverages this weekend, be sure to plan in advance for a designated driver, a cab ride, or alternate means of transportation to keep yourself and other drivers safe this weekend.

In the event you are cited for a DUI over the 4th of July weekend – whether alcohol or drug related, or you receive an OUI while out boating on any of the many lakes surrounding the valley, or up north – the Firm is available to discuss the DUI/OUI court process, DUI penalties and most importantly – your legal options.

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Cinco de Mayo is one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year, and this year was no exception with the many festivities and celebrations across the Valley over the weekend. And of course, along with this comes an increase in DUI enforcement, and Law Enforcement agencies across the State established DUI checkpoints and increased patrols statewide. While traffic stops increased significantly, the AZ Governor's Office of Highway Safety reported fewer DUI arrests over the 3-day period leading up to the Cinco de Mayo holiday this year. According to Albert Gutier, Director of the Office of Highway Safety, the reduced number of arrests can be attributed to ensuring people get the message about driving under the influence and many driver's out on the roadways may have seen the large LED message signs that read "Drive Hammered Get Nailed" (azcentral.com). While final numbers have not yet been reported from all of the agencies across the state, it appears that the number of arrests has been decreasing and more people are relying on designated drivers or other alternatives to driving under the influence of alcohol.

If you were charged with any type of DUI violation – including 1st Time DUI, Extreme DUI, Super Extreme DUI, Aggravated DUI, Underage DUI, DUI Drugs, or any other type of DUI, it is important to seek the advice of experienced legal counsel before making any decisions in your case. An experienced attorney will discuss your legal options with you and ensure you understand your rights, the criminal court process; the possible penalties associated with your charges, and discuss your legal options with you. The Firm handles both alcohol and drug related DUI charges in the East Valley, Phoenix, West Valley, and throughout the State of Arizona. If you were arrested by the DUI Task Force, or any law enforcement agency in the State of Arizona, contact the Firm at (480) 988-7993 to arrange a free consultation regarding your case.

Mr. Buckallew is a Board Certified Criminal & DUI Specialist, having been certified by the State Bar of Arizona. He understands the serious consequences (which can include jail time, fines/fees, alcohol treatment and classes, interlock ignition requirements, and other penalties) and hardships (including possible loss of driving privileges) resulting from a DUI conviction and will work vigorously in building a strong defense on your behalf. The Firm is experienced in handling all types of DUI cases and has proven results ranging from acquittals at trial, full dismissals and negotiating non-DUI plea agreements. Having confidence in your attorney and in the legal representation that you will receive is a critical factor when looking for the right attorney to represent you.

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After the recent tragic death of an 18-year old ASU student, Tempe and several other Valley Law Enforcement Agencies have been cracking down on underage drinking violations around the ASU campus in Tempe, in an effort to prevent future alcohol related incidents that could lead to injury or death. According to a recent azcentral.com news report (4/7/14), police arrested 237 people during a recent weekend task force operation. Tempe and ASU Police Departments were joined by officers from several neighboring agencies, including Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, AZ Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the AZ Department of Liquor License and Control. The arrests from the recent weekend task underage drinking task force included Minor In Consumption (of alcohol) and Minor in Possession (of alcohol) violations as well as DUI – drinking and driving arrests.

The Firm has represented ASU students and other young adults in all types of drinking related violations including Underage DUI, Minor in Consumption, Minor in Possession and most other alcohol related charges. Mr. Buckallew frequently handles cases in the Tempe Municipal Court as well as the University Lakes Justice court and most other Municipal Courts and Justice Courts throughout the Valley. He has significant experience in defending all types of criminal violations including DUI and other alcohol related cases. Mr. Buckallew is a Board Certified Criminal Defense Specialist, having been certified by the State Bar of Arizona. If you have been charged with Underage Drinking, Underage DUI, Minor in Consumption, Minor in Possession, or any other alcohol related or criminal violation in Tempe, contact the Firm today to discuss your legal options with a Criminal Defense Specialist.

**This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact the Firm to schedule a consultation regarding your case.

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Gilbert DUI – Is DUI Breath Evidence Reliable?

A DUI case requires an attorney with knowledge of the forensic science involved in both breath and blood testing. Each method has its own potential error sources and each method has its own unique vulnerabilities. In this post, we will discuss a breath based DUI and the potential weaknesses inherent in this method of measuring blood alcohol levels in a person's system.

Blood alcohol concentration, as measured by a breath analysis machine, is a complicated process where ethanol particles found in the breath of the person being tested absorbs infrared light produced inside the breath analysis machine. The resulting loss of light is measured to determine the amount of ethanol present in a given sample. In this sense, the machine uses an inverse relationship between the loss of light sharing a direct relationship to the amount of alcohol present in a given breath sample. In other words, the lower the light level present in the machine translates to more alcohol being present in the breath sample being analyzed. This amount is then converted to the level of alcohol thought to be present in the blood of the person being tested.

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