Law enforcement agencies across the Valley and throughout the State of Arizona partnered up for their annual DUI Task Force operations and conducted saturation patrols and checkpoints, enforcing DUI and other traffic laws over this past Labor Day weekend. As in years past, officers made thousands of traffic stops – more than 11,000 – and nabbed several hundred driver's for DUI, although, the final numbers represent fewer arrests than in previous years.
According to reports from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, officers made a total of 564 DUI arrests – 60 of those arrests were for Aggravated DUI with 37 of those due to prior arrest records, and the remaining Aggravated DUI arrests resulted from either driving on a suspended/restricted/revoked driver's license or driving with a minor child (under the age of 15) in the car. An Aggravated DUI is classified as a felony, and can be charged as either a Class 4 Felony (if for example, this was a 3rd DUI or a license issue) or a Class 6 Felony (if for example, there was a minor child in the car).
The remaining 504 DUI arrests were cited as Misdemeanor DUI charges, with 170 arrests for Extreme DUI, meaning that the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.15 or higher. Another 41 arrests were for Under 21 DUI (Underage DUI), and 154 Under 21 Liquor Violations – likely Minor in Consumption, Minor in Possession or Underage Drinking violations. There were also 92 DUI Drug arrests, which involve having any narcotics drugs, illegally obtained prescription medications, marijuana, or any other prohibited substances or their metabolites in your system.
The minimum penalties for a 1st Time Misdemeanor DUI conviction may include 10 days in jail (9 may be suspended), approximately $1,500 in court fees and fines, probation (plus monthly probation fees), community work service, alcohol / drug screening and classes (plus cost of screening/classes), ignition interlock device (up to 1 year plus the cost to rent the device), potential for increased insurance rates, a criminal record, and other possible consequences. These penalties increase if you are convicted of an Extreme DUI, Super Extreme DUI or a DUI with priors.
The minimum penalties for Aggravated DUI (Class 6 Felony/no priors) can include 10 days in jail (9 may be suspended), approximately $4,700 in court fees and fines, up to 10 years of probation (plus monthly probation fees), a felony conviction on your record, and other penalties associated with misdemeanor DUI convictions.
If you have been charged with any type of alcohol or drug related DUI charge, this Firm can help. There are many possible defenses for DUI cases, including Procedural Defenses — such as illegal stop, illegal detention, illegal arrest, and/or illegal search; Factual Defenses —such as not under the influence, not operating vehicle, mistaken identity, blood alcohol level not greater than .08 within 2 hours of driving, necessity, mechanical defects of vehicle; and Forensic Defenses — such as testing methodology failure, incompetent lab technicians, contaminated blood draw, breath machine failures and limitations, contamination issues.
Mr. Buckallew has extensive experience in litigating DUI cases, including complex felony DUI's, and has a reputation for launching an aggressive defense on behalf of each client to ensure the most favorable outcome possible in each case. In addition to his law degree, Mr. Buckallew also has a Master's in Forensic Science degree, giving him a unique understanding of both the legal issues as well as the complexities of the science behind the evidence. He also belongs to many professional criminal and DUI defense organizations, such as the National College for DUI Defense, in order to keep informed of the ever-changing practice of DUI litigation. Mr. Buckallew was also recently elected as a National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Attorney for 2012.
**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.