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» Entries tagged with "driving under the influence"

All The Power

Adrian keeps telling me: Sometimes I wish we just dealt with those people from Hellraiser instead of some prosecutors; then, at least, my mom could understand why my job is so damn frustrating. I went to court a while back for a felony DUI client. Absurd mandatory minimums and absurder (this can’t be a word, but Google says it is so I’m going with it) plea policies from most prosecutorial agencies make me hate these cases. That combined with the fact the crime isn’t so much something someone might know they’re committing but rather possession of an arbitrary amount of something in their blood as determined by a machine that might not work makes for a killer cocktail of injustice. When the crime is something designed to insure you … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Prosecutors

A Big Year For Marijuana DUI

In Arizona, a marijuana DUI used to be a pretty cut and dried thing. The law said it was a crime to be in actual control of a vehicle with marijuana “or its metabolite” in your body, and courts treated it as a strict liability offense for all metabolites, regardless of impairment. Marijuana DUIs were pretty much all charged under two subsections: (A)(1), which requires proof of impairment to the slightest degree, and (A)(3), the strict liability subsection that did not. Luckily, that changed when the Supreme Court of Arizona held last April that drivers cannot be convicted of the (A)(3) offense based merely on the presence of a non-impairing metabolite that may reflect prior usage of marijuana. As the opinion explained, THC is the primary psychoactive component … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

Scottsdale’s DUI Machine Malfunctions, Court Of Appeals Doesn’t Care

One of Scottsdale’s DUI-conviction-machines has some serious problems. I first wrote about it in 2012 after a Scottsdale City Court judge prevented me from telling a jury about the problems. The judge demanded an offer of proof before he was willing to admit evidence of anything calling into question the city’s malfunctioning piece of equipment. Instead of making the state bear the burden of proving the test was accurate and admitting all of the information about its problems, he presumed the results were accurate and precluded any information to the contrary. I wrote about it again in 2013, when a Maricopa County Superior Court judge finally ruled that blood test results from the machine in several cases were inadmissible pursuant to Rule 702 of the Arizona Rules of … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

What The Hell Do They Want?

A former client of mine contacted me a while back asking for help with a situation that makes my blood boil. He’s a smart guy and a good person, but his life has been a constant struggle, a fight to escape a hard life of poverty and mental illness. He never got any of the luck breaks most of us have had at some point or another. For a while, it seemed like he was on the right track, though. Sadly, he found himself in trouble again. That was when he called. I could’ve been disappointed, but I mostly just felt awful for him. I wanted to give him a hug and go back in time to make everything right, but that’s never going to … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

Scottsdale’s DUI Problems

Over a year ago, I complained about courts making the defense prove that the state’s deeply flawed scientific evidence, which you can show for a fact was not just flawed but verifiably false in similar situations, was in fact flawed in your client’s case before you are allowed to tell the jury about issues that came up in other situations. The problem is finally coming to the surface. Imagine a situation where a particular gas chromatograph mixes up names and reference numbers of vials of blood being tested for blood alcohol content in DUI cases. It also stops running completely during tests and deletes baseline information. The state’s “expert” acknowledges those and numerous other problems, and he admits he has no idea why the problems happened. On … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

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