» Entries tagged with "DUI"

Justice v. Efficiency

The criminal justice system is broken. Many judges are little more than prosecutors in robes. The courts fuss and fume when you need an extra week or two to make a decision. They push you into whatever plea comes your way. In Phoenix City Court, you usually spend the pretrial stages in front of a single judge. After you decide to fight it, though, they shuffle you elsewhere. The order says you’ll be going to trial in thirty days, but the court struggles to get you in front of a judge in sixty. You won’t know which judge you’ll get for fifty-nine. When everyone assumed you’d plead, they rushed you to a decision. After they realized you were going to fight, they stretched it out as long … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, DUI, Trial

DUI, What Should Be a Lesser Included Offense, and a Common Trial Defense

I previously wrote about the fact that, in Arizona, you do not have to be driving to get a DUI. I’ve also written quite a few times in the past about lesser-included offenses and Arizona courts’ unwillingness to give juries the option of finding defendants guilty of less serious but potentially more appropriate offenses at trial. A fairly old opinion from the Court of Appeals of Arizona, Division One, combines those two things in a way that might be pretty amusing if it weren’t so scary. In the opinion, the court said that aggravated DUI, which means DUI with a suspended license, does not contain the lesser offense of driving on a suspended license. The court’s reasoning was that aggravated DUI does not require proof of actual driving … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

The Decreasing Value Of Time

Ours is a world of easy answers. Type whatever you’re wondering into Google and look no further. The solution to your problem should be on the first page. Clicking onto the second is too much work, so the answer can’t be there. The easiest thing is always the right thing. For the tough problems, we have statistics to take moral and ethical judgment out of the equation. Things are bad in this world, and the numbers confirm it. Punish harshly and watch the numbers drop, they tell us. In reality, we’re watching the people who make the numbers feign a reduction to encourage us to quit thinking about whether what we’re doing collectively is right or wrong. Regardless, the numbers are what matter. A … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

Thanks for the Heads-Up!

Yesterday morning, I was supposed to have an MVD hearing. An issue came up with my client being able to attend, however, so I faxed in a motion to continue. I called the MVD and confirmed they received it. It was somewhat last minute, but they had plenty of time to make a decision. Although they surely could have, the MVD didn’t bother calling me Wednesday to let me know what was going to happen with yesterday’s hearing. Instead, they left me a voice message at my office well before business hours yesterday morning in a voice mailbox for an extension that I’m not even sure how they reached. The message said the motion was denied and the hearing was going to proceed as scheduled. I ended … Read entire article »

Filed under: MVD Hearings

Unimaginable Stupidity

There’s no shortage of government stupidity when it comes to DUI in general. However, there are some aspects where the ridiculousness of it all is really put on show. One of the silly little tests that armed enforcers like to coerce unsuspecting motorists into performing so that other government actors can later forcibly remove blood from the motorists’ bodies is called the “walk and turn” test. I think there’s a little extra government stupidity when it comes to that test. The officer begins administering the test by saying something like this: I want you to put your left foot on the line and then place your right foot in front of it. Don’t move until I tell you. Do you understand? When the suspect assumes the position, the officer continues … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

The Bigger Problem

There’s something called a “BAT Van” in Texas. “BAT” stands for “Breath Alcohol Testing,” and the purpose of these vans, as you might guess, is to measure whether a driver is impaired try to detect a subject’s mouth alcohol using a potentially unreliable machine made by a largely unregulated and highly secretive company and then roughly correlate that result to a subject’s blood alcohol while largely ignoring the subject’s unique and highly variable metabolism in order to convict him or her not of necessarily being impaired, but of having too much of that thing the state has so imprecisely measured in his or her blood. Those vans are pretty prevalent here in Arizona too, though we’re switching to violent, forcible blood draws in many jurisdictions and don’t have nearly as … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

Fines

I have no problem with the idea of a court ordering someone pay restitution to a victim. Making an aggrieved party whole seems like exactly the kind of stuff a decent justice system should try to do. Probation also makes sense to me as a sentencing option. If we care about rehabilitation, services and some sort of supervision seem essential. I even understand the need for incarceration as part of the sentence in some cases. Although jail and prison terms are routinely and unfairly ordered to excess, I can see the logic in removing a dangerous person from society. I understand retribution and the idea that there may be a deterrent effect in taking away someone’s liberty. Also, when it comes to time, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, DUI, Government Rants

The Makings of a Great Tragedy

I once received very wise advice to take caution when writing about things close to home. I took it to heart. Years of being told “don’t shit where you eat” didn’t sink in, I guess, but that more subtle, specific advice did. Things far away aren’t so clear, however, so they may be a different story. Circumspection be damned? If I lived in Texas, I would have had a little more background when I read this post by Murray Newman. I was skeptical about what he perceived as a double standard even reading it without context, but that by itself didn’t seem worth a post on my part. When a prosecutor gets charged and defense lawyers don’t just rant about the presumption of innocence, I … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Practice in General, Prosecutors

Democracy Doesn't Work

After a whirlwind past two weeks, I decided to only work a half-day today. I went to the gym in the afternoon and decided to mix things up and do some cardio in front of a few TVs. Bad idea. One TV was showing a news program about bullying. The news ticker said Obama was thinking about withholding federal education money from states that don’t enact tough anti-bullying laws. Bullying is apparently an “epidemic,” and we need new laws. The point and counter-point seemed to consist of whether we should pass really ridiculously tough laws or really, really ridiculously tough laws. Another TV was showing a program about people blinding aircraft pilots with lasers. Some federal legislator seems determined to make it a federal … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

Quit Enabling Them

I’m often disappointed with other defense lawyers, but I keep it to myself. Not this time. What I’ve been seeing over and over again in city and justice courts is just too embarrassing to tolerate. I’ve written before about prosecutors offering pleas that no defendant in his or her right mind should ever accept. I’ve also written before about Arizona’s DUI drug statute. I haven’t written about how defense lawyers are enabling and even encouraging prosecutors to offer worthless pleas to defendants in drug DUI cases. A plea should give a defendant some benefit. Otherwise, there’s little if any reason not to go to trial. Prosecutors seemed to know that before, as the standard offer for a first time drug DUI in many courts used to … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Prosecutors

Articles Comments

Web Design by Actualize Solutions