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https://www.crim-law.info/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/DSCN0489-1500-ffccccccWhite-3333-0.20.3-1.pngIn a recent blog posting, we discussed the initial hearings in DUI cases and what to expect early on in a DUI prosecution. After the initial hearings, a DUI case will be set for various pretrial hearings with opportunities for case settlement at any point during this phase of the DUI court process. Ultimately, if a settlement agreement (or dismissal) is not achieved during pretrial proceedings, your case will likely proceed to trial. What can you expect during the pretrial phase of your Scottsale DUI case and what are the different types of pretrial hearings you can anticipate in the DUI court process? If you were stopped in Scottsdale and charged with DUI, which courthouse will you need to appear at?

To answer the question regarding location of your court appearance, it will depend upon which law enforcement agency cited you and whether you are being charged with Misdemeanor DUI or Felony DUI. If you were stopped by the Scottsdale Police Department and cited for a misdemeanor DUI, you will likely be appearing in the Scottsdale City Court. If you were stopped by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) or Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), you will likely be appearing in one of the Scottsdale Justice Court Precincts – either the Arcadia Biltmore Justice Court, the Desert Ridge Justice Court, or the Dreamy Draw Justice Court. If you are facing felony DUI charges in Scottsdale then you will likely be appearing in the Maricopa County Superior Court / Southeast Facility, at least for your initial hearings. Your case could be transferred to the Maricopa County Superior Court / Downtown if it’s not resolved in the early stages of the court process. You will need to refer to your traffic ticket, summons, or other court paperwork you received to determine the exact location, date and time of your first court appearance.

A Pre-Trial Conference is a court hearing where your attorney will have an opportunity to discuss your case with the prosecutor. On many occasions an initial plea offer will be extended by the government at the first Pre-Trial Conference. Except for the most unusual of circumstances, it is normally best not to enter into a plea agreement at your first Pre-Trial Conference simply because there has not been sufficient time to investigate your case to develop a criminal defense strategy. Nor has there been sufficient time, at the first Pre-Trial Conference, to really make a determination of the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecutor’s case. Most of the time, especially in misdemeanor courts, you will probably want to have at least three Pre-Trial Conferences (about 90 days) to allow for an appropriate amount of time to consult with legal counsel. This should be sufficient time to develop a Defense Investigation Outline, and to conduct a proper defense investigation of your case. This process will allow you an opportunity to identify the strongest legal and factual defenses available to you.

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You have been charged with a Mesa DUI and are quite possibly preparing to enter a criminal court room for the first time in your life, other than perhaps appearing for jury duty at some point in the past. This can seem quite daunting, not knowing what to expect, unfamiliar with the location of the courthouse/courtroom, uncertain of what will happen at the first court hearing, and having no idea what to wear or how early to arrive at the courthouse, among many other unanswered questions swirling around in your mind.

To answer the question regarding location of your court appearance, it will depend upon which law enforcement agency cited you and whether you are being charged with Misdemeanor DUI or Felony DUI. If you were stopped by the Mesa Police Department and cited for a misdemeanor DUI, you will likely be appearing in the Mesa Municipal Court. If you were stopped by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) or Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), you will likely be appearing in one of the Mesa Justice Court Precincts – either the East Mesa Justice Court, West Mesa Justice Court, or the North Mesa Justice Court. If you are facing felony DUI charges in Mesa then you will likely be appearing in the Maricopa County Superior Court / Southeast Facility, at least for your initial hearings. Your case could be transferred to the Maricopa County Superior Court / Downtown if it’s not resolved in the early stages of the court process. You will need to refer to your traffic ticket, summons, or other court paperwork you received to determine the exact location, date and time of your first court appearance.

As for what you should wear – there is usually a minimum dress code policy inside a courthouse such as no clothing with rips or tears, no tank tops, hats, halter tops, sunglasses, etc. but beyond that, it is a good idea to dress modestly and wear clean and neat clothing. This doesn’t mean you need to go out and purchase a new outfit, but you should dress in a way that will demonstrate to the judge that you are taking your case seriously. If in doubt, ask your attorney what he/she recommends you wear.

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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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The Arizona Supreme Court ruled today that drivers with marijuana metabolites in their system cannot be prosecuted for DUI impairment under that basis alone. According to Arizona Revised Statutes §28-1381(A)(3), it is unlawful for a driver to be in actual physical control of a vehicle "While there is any drug defined in section [A.R.S.] §13-3401 or its metabolite in the person's body." The Court concluded that the phrase "its metabolite" does not include the metabolite of marijuana, Carboxy-Tetrahydrocannibinol ("Carboxy-THC") – a non-impairing metabolite of Cannabis (aka marijuana), a proscribed drug listed in §13-3401.

After Arizona voters passed the medical marijuana initiative in 2010, legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, individuals legally using marijuana were still exposed to criminal prosecution under the State's interpretation of marijuana and its metabolite(s). The Court noted in its opinion that "…because § 28-1381(A)(3) does not require the State to prove that the marijuana was illegally ingested, prosecutors can charge legal users under the (A)(3) provision. Because Carboxy-THC can remain in the body for as many as twenty-eight to thirty days after ingestion, the State's position suggests that a medical-marijuana user could face prosecution for driving any time nearly a month after they had legally ingested marijuana. Such a prohibition would apply even when the driver had no impairing substance in his or her body and notwithstanding the State's ability to test both for THC, the primary substance that causes impairment, and Hydroxy-THC, the metabolite capable of causing impairment."

The Court also concluded that the State's interpretation of "metabolites" would expose individuals to "criminal liability" no matter how long the metabolite remained in a person's system and whether or not it had any impairing effect. According to the Court's Opinion, during oral arguments, the State acknowledged that "if a metabolite could be detected five years after ingesting a proscribed drug, a driver who tested positive for trace elements of a non-impairing substance could be prosecuted."

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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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Tempe DUI Defense

If you have been arrested for DUI in Tempe, contact a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist to discuss your rights and legal options before making any decisions in your case. DUI litigation is a complex area of law and there are many variations of DUI related charges. While a first time DUI is usually charged as a misdemeanor, certain factors can also result in a DUI case being charged as a felony. DUI's are commonly thought of as alcohol related offenses, but a DUI can also occur when drugs are involved as well. The type of DUI a person is charged with will determine what the penalties will be if convicted. As mentioned earlier, while many DUI cases are charged as misdemeanors, the range of penalties vary, depending on blood alcohol levels, prior DUI history, and other factors. This is also true for felony DUI cases – the penalties are considerably harsher the more serious the allegations are as well as other factors such as whether the case involved a vehicle collision, or resulted in serious injury or death of another person.

Felony DUI

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According to a report in the Arizona Daily Star (11/11/13), the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) intends to begin a campaign in January to crack down on drivers who are distracted by texting or otherwise using their cell phones while behind the wheel. DPS spokesman Bart Graves highlighted the recent death of DPS officer Tim Huffman, who was allegedly killed earlier this year by a driver of a semi-truck who was distracted by his cell phone. Although our State Legislature has rejected previous attempts at regulating cell phone usage while driving, DPS plans to cite driver's under Arizona Revised Statute §28-701– Speed Not Reasonable and Prudent:

A. A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing. A person shall control the speed of a vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with any object, person, vehicle or other conveyance on, entering or adjacent to the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to exercise reasonable care for the protection of others.

This is a civil traffic violation and the penalties for civil traffic speeding violations include 3 points against your driver's license and a maximum fine of $250 (plus surcharges).

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Avondale is one of the fastest growing cities in the West Valley, settled at the base of the Estrella Mountains and just a 15-minute commute from downtown Phoenix. Thousands of NASCAR and racing fans descend on this city each year, attending races at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR), which is a significant boost to the local economy. Located in the heart of the west valley, Avondale is also nearby the University Of Phoenix NFL Stadium – home to the Arizona Cardinals, as well as several baseball spring training facilities, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox in neighboring Glendale; the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds in nearby Goodyear; the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners in Peoria; and the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers in Surprise. Being centrally located in the west valley, with close proximity to many sporting events, year round entertainment, educational opportunities, shopping, dining and family activities, Avondale continues to grow and its population is expected to double in the next 5-7 years from its current population of around 76,000.

Law enforcement in Avondale is handled primarily by the Avondale Police Department and misdemeanor criminal complaints are generally filed in the Avondale City Court while felony criminal complaints are generally filed in the Maricopa County Superior Court. If you are arrested by AZ Department of Public Safety (DPS) or another law enforcement agency, your case may be handled in one of the west valley justice courts, including Country Meadows Justice Court, White Tank Justice Court, Agua Fria Justice Court or one of the other west valley justice courts.

The Firm represents individuals facing criminal charges throughout Phoenix and the West Valley, including criminal cases in Avondale and surrounding areas. Mr. Buckallew is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Law, having been certified by the State Bar of Arizona. He has handled a wide range of criminal cases, from simple misdemeanor criminal speeding tickets to very serious and complex felony homicide cases, DUI and Drug cases, Assault and Disorderly Conduct cases, Domestic Violence cases, Juvenile Crimes cases, Underage Drinking, and many other criminal cases. The Firm also handles matters involving Orders of Protection, Restraining Orders and Injunctions against Harassment. If you have been charged with any criminal violation in Avondale, the Firm can help.

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