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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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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 (602) 825-3300 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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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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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 recent report in The State Press (8/21/13), Tempe police officers began increasing their patrols with the start of the fall semester at ASU. They have launched a task force – Operation Safe and Sober – which will include saturation patrols around campus and surrounding areas in Tempe, beginning August 15 and continuing through the end of the month. Tempe police officers will be on the lookout for minors consuming alcohol, driver's under the influence of alcohol (or drugs), out-of-control parties and other related criminal violations. Their goal is to try and send a message to students early in the school year in an effort to help alleviate potential trends in these types of activities. The Tempe Police Department will also be working the night DUI task force with officers from other agencies, including MCSO, Scottsdale PD, Gilbert PD, Mesa PD and ASU PD. In addition to DUI and party patrols, officers will also focus on traffic violations, aimed primarily at pedestrians and bicyclists. While warnings will be issued during the first week of school for traffic violations, officers will begin strict enforcement of alcohol related violations right away.

Since the launch of Operation Safe and Sober, Tempe PD reported 371 arrests during the first week and another 486 arrests during week two of the campaign. Of the 371 arrests during the first week, there were 111 Minor in Possession of Alcohol arrests, 91 DUI arrests, 17 Extreme DUI arrests, 14 DUI-Drugs arrests, 6 Underage DUI arrests, 2 Aggravated DUI arrests and 54 calls for loud parties, among other various arrests. Arrests during the second week of the campaign include 208 for Minors in Possession of Alcohol, 85 for DUI, 68 calls for loud parties, and 14 for Minors, under the age of 18, in possession of alcohol.

Tempe PD has also incorporated an educational facet to this campaign and has been talking with students regarding alcohol, laws and safety measures.

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Chandler DUI Drug Arrests

According to a recent article on AZCentral.com (by Jim Walsh), authorities claim more DUI arrests these days are attributed to drugs, not alcohol. As a result of this increase in drug related DUI cases, law enforcement agencies in Chandler and across the State of Arizona have increased the number of officers trained to recognize the symptoms of drug impairment over the last few decades, from just a few officers to the nearly 500 current DRE (Drug Recognition Expert) trained officers. According to statistics from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS), a 13% decrease in total DUI arrests was reported from 2011 to 2012, however; the number of DUI drug arrests increased by 12% during this time. This trend in drug-related DUI arrests was highlighted over the recent holidays between Thanksgiving and the New Year, with Mesa officers participating in the East Valley DUI Task Force, making 540 DUI arrests, of which 344 (63%) were for drug-related DUIs. According to southeast valley law enforcement agencies – including Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office – officers are seeing a growing trend of drug-related DUI’s. These include cases involving prescription-drugs, like painkillers or muscle relaxers, sometimes mixed with alcohol, as well as synthetic drugs, such as spice and bath salts. Officers say they are trained to look for various symptoms of drug use, including bloodshot or watery eyes, odors of drugs (such as marijuana), slow or slurred speech, and they also consider other factors, such as driving behavior prior to the stop.

What is unclear in these statistics is whether the number of drug related DUI arrests is on the rise as a result of more drivers impaired by drugs or a reflection of the significant increase in the number of officers now trained to identify drug impairment. Regardless of what this increase is attributed to, criminal defense attorneys are likewise seeing more cases involving drug related DUIs, and need to be well versed in the unique differences between alcohol and drug related DUI cases when investigating and litigating these types of cases. While there can be any number of possible defenses in a DUI Drug impairment case, one of the more common defenses might include – the individual was NOT under the influence of drugs, among many other possible defenses. The penalties for a drug based DUI track the penalties of alcohol based DUI’s with one notable exception. If you are convicted for a drug based DUI, the minimum driver’s license revocation period is 1 full year for a misdemeanor offense and 3 years for a felony offense. A drug based DUI presents its own unique challenges and you should seek out a criminal defense attorney knowledgeable in this complex area of DUI litigation.

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If you have been arrested by the Chandler Police Department and cited into the Chandler Municipal Court, contact a Chandler DUI Lawyer for a free evaluation of your case. The Firm handles ANY criminal or DUI charge in the Chandler Municipal Court and throughout the State of Arizona, including 1st Time DUI, Extreme DUI, Super Extreme DUI, Under 21 DUI, DUI-Drugs, and any other alcohol or drug related violations. Mr. Buckallew has a reputation for zealously defending his clients and has extensive experience from many years of practice as a DUI and criminal defense lawyer. He fights tirelessly on behalf of each individual client in order to achieve the best outcome possible in each and every case, as evidenced by the results he has achieved on behalf of his clients over the years.

The Chandler Municipal Court is located at 200 East Chicago Street, in downtown Chandler, just east of Chandler City Hall. The Court handles civil traffic and criminal misdemeanor violations, including DUI/DWI charges, city ordinance and code violations, petty offenses, probation violations, protective orders and search warrants.

How do I choose a good DUI Lawyer?

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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.

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Although final numbers have not yet been released, as of early Sunday afternoon, close to 400 people had been arrested on suspicion of DUI as a result heavy enforcement statewide over the Labor Day weekend. According to the state Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS), there have been 382 DUI arrests since Wednesday. The breakdown includes 40 arrests for (felony) Aggravated DUI, and 342 for misdemeanor DUI, with 115 of those arrests for Extreme DUI (BAC of 0.15 or higher), and 62 arrests for DUI Drugs. While arrests are down from this time last year, the average blood-alcohol content has increased from 0.149 last year to 0.155 this year. The saturation patrols continued on Sunday and Monday, particularly around valley lakes and rivers — Monday was expected to be a busy day for law enforcement.

If you were cited by for any type of DUI, including Extreme DUI, Super Extreme DUI, Aggravated DUI, DUI-Drugs, Underage DUI, or any other DUI related violation, the Firm can help and provides free initial consultations. The Firm represents individuals in Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, surrounding East Valley cities, Phoenix, surrounding West Valley cities, Pinal County, Gila County, Navajo County, Apache County and Statewide.

The Firm focuses its scope of representation on matters involving criminal and DUI litigation and has practiced in City Courts, Municipal Courts, Justice Courts and Superior Courts in just about every county in the State of Arizona. Mr. Buckallew has achieved successful resolution in countless DUI (and criminal) cases over the course of his career and has a reputation for aggressively fighting for the most favorable resolution possible on behalf of each of his clients. Aside from his law degree, Masters of Forensic Science degree, and many years of criminal and DUI litigation, Mr. Buckallew belongs to many DUI organizations to stay well informed of the complex and ever changing practice of DUI law. He belongs to the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, (AACJ) and others. Mr. Buckallew was also recently elected as a National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Attorney for 2012.

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Are 'Bath Salts' Illegal in Arizona?

According to a recent article by Arizona State University's State Press, Arizona Senate and House Bills were recently signed into law by Governor Brewer, making the "creation, sale and use" of chemicals used in making Bath Salts illegal in the State of Arizona. These designer drugs have become increasingly sought-after given the widespread availability and access to these drugs, the ease in which they can be made, and the belief that the affects mimic those of methamphetamines, ecstasy and cocaine. One of the growing concerns is that it is easy to circumvent existing laws against these types of drugs – Bath Salts (other common names include Blue Silk, Cloud 9, Drone, Stardust, Vanilla Sky, and White Lightning), Spices, and other similar drugs, by substituting one or more of the 'banned' ingredients. Some of the reported effects after ingesting these kinds of drugs have included nausea, paranioa, elevated heart rate, irritability, aggressive and violent behavior, hallucinations, seizures, and perspiration which can lead to individuals removing their clothing and subsequently being found naked after using Bath Salts. Local news reports also cite an addiction specialist at a drug and alcohol rehab center in Scottsdale who has indicated that addiction to bath salts has increased over 200 percent in the past 6 months. U.S. Poison Control Centers have also reported a massive increase in the number of Bath Salts related calls received, with zero reports in 2009, 302 reports in 2010 and 4,000 reports in 2011, according to a news release by the City of Tucson Police Department.

According to the Phoenix New Times, the Tempe Police Department has reported multiple allegations recently of individuals affected by Bath Salts. In one instance, a 23-year old was allegedly found slamming himself against walls and then running nude through a Tempe neighborhood after admitting to ingesting Bath Salts. In another incident, a 21-year old crashed his truck in a parking garage of an apartment complex near Arizona State University. According to witnesses, the individual was fully naked when he got out of his vehicle, and later admitted to police that he had taken Bath Salts. According to court documents, this individual – an ASU student, now has a DUI charge pending against him. In the third instance, an 18-year old was found in the bathroom at a local coffee shop in Tempe, allegedly barricading himself in the bathroom and when entry was gained by Tempe Police, he was said to be completely naked, acting delusional and claimed he was being eaten alive by bugs. Police say he is facing a criminal damage charge as the bathroom was allegedly "trashed" with broken mirrors and covered with "quite a bit of blood". There was also a recent case where Tempe Police pulled a naked man out of Tempe Town Lake and another report of a carjacking in Scottsdale by a naked man – both allegedly under the effects of Bath Salts.

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