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» DUI

Tempe’s Perverted Priorities

A recent article about Tempe discusses some new cash coming in for a very important purpose: The Tempe Police Department has been awarded a grant worth more than $360,000 to tackle a backlog of untested rape kits. “We are looking at several hundred kits at least,” Mike Pooley, a lieutenant with the Tempe Police Department, said. There are rape kits stacked to the ceiling in evidence vaults around the state and Tempe is no exception. Detectives can only guess 500 or more kits deserve to be tested and reviewed. If you’re thinking Tempe has prioritized the investigation and prosecution of rapes as something urgent, though, you’re crazy. How does that make them any money? At any given time, my caseload involves at least one person who got caught taking a leak in some dark … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

Prove You’re Not Impaired

The best thing I can say about the recent Supreme Court of Arizona opinion in Dobson v. McClennen is that it is far better than the terrible Court of Appeals opinion it vacates. The heart of the issue in the case is the Mesa City Prosecutor’s Office’s despicable desire to convict medical marijuana patients of driving under the influence when they are not under the influence. The Court of Appeals of Arizona condoned the practice. Although the Supreme Court of Arizona disagreed, it placed the burden on patients to prove their lack of impairment. It is actually a pretty simple issue if you do not have something against medical marijuana and a serious creative streak when it comes to statutory interpretation, as A.R.S. § 36-2802(D) provides that a medical marijuana patient … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Medical Marijuana

Predictability

The folks at the MVD tell me that, if you do your administrative suspension before you are convicted of DUI, you can get a restricted license after thirty days and avoid having to get expensive SR22 insurance. They say you won’t get those benefits if you are convicted first. Speaking with former clients, however, the ones who do the admin per se suspension first do indeed experience what the MVD predicted, but so do the ones who get convicted first. I haven’t called the MVD to argue with them about why they didn’t screw my clients like they said they would. The folks at jail tell me that, if the order of confinement for a day of jail says “one day,” they will hold my clients for a … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Government Rants, jail

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 DUI Victory! (Mostly…Well A Little, At Least)

In 2012, I discussed the fact there were real problems with the scientific evidence offered by the state in criminal cases and that many courts not only let the questionable evidence come in, but even prevented the defense from bringing up the problems. In 2013, I wrote about the problems with a machine used for blood tests in Scottsdale DUI cases specifically, and about how a superior court judge actually ruled that blood test results in several cases were inadmissible pursuant to Rule 702 of the Arizona Rules of Evidence because the scientific principles and methods weren’t being applied reliably because of their equipment problems. Always the skeptic (and usually right), I was less than optimistic about what the appellate court would do. In 2014, I was (sadly) proven right, and … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

One Day Of Jail And A Whole Lotta Pain In The Ass

Quite often, criminal punishments are harsh not because they involve a lot of jail time or heavy fines, but because of the irritating hoops you have to jump through to satisfy them. It’s most common in Phoenix DUI cases, and it reaches its irritating extreme for out of state DUI defendants trying to do their jail sentence someplace else. Come on vacation, leave on probation It’s a common little joke around here, and in my line of work, I see it in action constantly. Whether we’re the destination for the Superbowl, a golf tournament, a biker rally, or a high school spring break field trip, we make sure our cops work around the clock so no vacationer escapes without having to respect our authoritah. The poor guy who lives elsewhere, who … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, jail

It’s Not About DUI At All

Driving around lately, the number of police officers everywhere is absolutely astounding. I’ve seen more people stopped by officers on the side of the road than I ever have before. Cops seem to be lurking around every corner on the freeways, causing people to suddenly slam on the brakes and ram into each other like a game of bumper cars. They’re all over the surface streets too. The Arizona DUI media machine is in overdrive as well, with things like this passing for news: “Super Bowl revelers: Arizona tough place for DUIs” I must admit that it’s adorable when folks here in the valley think people who don’t live here have any interest in reading our shitty newspapers. It’s not so adorable that I live someplace where people are … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

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

How To (Really) Get Through A DUI Checkpoint

An interesting DUI checkpoint video has been circulating lately. In it, the driver gets through without even rolling down his window, passing by with ease thanks to a plastic bag attached to his car with a string. The bag contained his license, registration, insurance information, and a note saying “I remain silent,” “No searches,” and “I want my lawyer.” As clever as it may be, it’s also dangerous to think it will always be that easy. The most important thing any driver or rider can keep in mind when dealing with police is that the law does not exist in a vacuum. It only matters as applied to the facts, and except in the most unusual circumstances, courts are going to adopt whatever “facts” the officer provides. … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

Somebody Must Have Read Catch-22

A member of the East Valley DUI Stasi Task Force apparently decided to park himself outside of a local bar one night last year. According to at least one witness, the cop then proceeded to stop one person after another for neither a traffic violation nor on reasonable suspicion of impaired driving. He was basically a one-man DUI checkpoint at the exit of a local bar, they said. My client, who was stopped that night by that officer at that location for a traffic violation he denies committing, wanted to prove what the officer was doing. In most of my DUI cases, I find that clients don’t complain much about the stop. On the other hand, I don’t believe I’ve ever encountered a stop made by an officer … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Police

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