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 From an emotional standpoint, a case where someone is accused driving under the influence and killing another person is one of the toughest.  With the victim, you usually have someone who did not deserve to die.  They are often young, in the prime of their lives.  They are usually also close to the driver.  The victim is often a spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, or sibling of the accused.  Unfortunately, that person is not available to express forgiveness to the driver.
 
As for the driver, you often have a person who has never been in trouble in his life.  He may be college educated, have a great job, and a loving family.  But for this horrible incident he would have continued to be an upstanding citizen.
 
Recently, a San Jose woman pled guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter after hitting and killing a 79 year old grandmother.  She is waiting to be sentenced by a Santa Clara County judge.  Her maximum possible sentence is 12 years in the state prison.  In fact, the judge is precluded from granting this woman probation unless he finds “unusual circumstances” where the interests of justice require it.  According to statements, the family of the victim has forgiven the defendant, and believes that the victim would forgive her as well.  Unfortunately, California DUI sentencing law provides somewhat less opportunity for the Court to forgive her. 

As a former prosecutor, I can tell you that, regardless of the outcome, nobody wins in these cases.  Regardless of what side you are on there is nothing but tragedy in these cases.  An innocent victim loses her life, and a contrite survivor is cast into the hell of the California prison system.  

3/25/2009
Mindy
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During a five-day task force sweep that targeted drunk drivers in Arizona, there were 276 total arrests on suspicion of driving under the influence.  The task force sweep involved 300 officers and deputies from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and at least eight police departments.  Valley police officers made nearly 150 DUI arrest on St. Patrick’s Day, which accounted for close to half of the total arrests during the entire sweep.

The average blood alcohol level for this year’s arrests was .14 percent, which borders on “extreme” DUI of .15.  There were 74 DUI arrests made that fell into this category.

The task force sweep also issued nearly 1,800 traffic citations for speeding, seat-belt violations, and other infractions. There were almost 4,000 initial traffic stops, which is more than twice what it was last year.
 
In Arizona, a DUI conviction can result in jail time, fines and court fees, driver license suspension, vehicle impoundment and a mandatory ignition interlock device.  A DUI conviction is also considered a criminal offense and will go on the driver’s criminal record, which could affect insurance rates, applications for licenses and future employment.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Arizona, you need to contact an experience DUI attorney immediately.  Call 888-DUI-Answer for legal advice today.



Category: Keyword Search: Arizona DUI law

3/19/2009
Mindy
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In light of the recent budget adjustments, Arizona state officials have been forced to cut full time janitor positions and replace them with prisoners in hopes of saving money.  The new plan is controversial, and state officials find themselves on both sides of the idea.

Arizona has experienced a $1.6 billion budget cut this year, and Allen Ecker, spokesman for the Department of Administration stated, “Every other option has been explored, and this is literally the absolute last resort.”

The Department of Administration recently cut 20 full-time custodians and will bring in low-level offenders to clean the bathrooms. The state has already seen a successful program where DUI offenders worked as janitors in the Department of Corrections and Administration building. 

Supporters of this plan confirm that the inmates would be highly supervised, but others argue that it does not make for a safe work environment to have prisoners in the Statehouse.  The proposed plan could also take place at the Senate, House and other buildings at the Capitol.



Category: Keyword Search: Arizona DUI law

2/25/2009
Mindy
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On a NBA telecast on TNT, Charles Barkley, a former Phoenix Suns star, apologized for his DUI arrest in Arizona.  Barkley said that he will never get behind the wheel when he’s drunk and encouraged other people to do the same.

Barkley went on to say in the on-air apology that he embarrassed everyone in his life and was sorry for doing that.  He said that many people stopped him on the street and told him that even though he messed up, he should keep moving forward with his life.  Barkley also said that he appreciates his bosses at TNT, as they offered support during his situation.  Following the arrest, Barkley had taken a leave of absence as a NBA commentator with TNT Sports.

Barkley was arrested on December 31, 2008 after he was pulled over in Old Town Scottsdale.  At the time of the arrest, he was driving his wife’s SUV and had a blood-alcohol content of .149 percent, which is nearly twice the legal limit of .08 percent under Arizona law.  He was arrested, cited and released on suspicion of two counts of misdemeanor DUI in Arizona.

According to a police report, Barkley informed police that he had driven 30 seconds and was in a hurry to pick up a woman.  He was stopped by an officer after he was spotted rolling through a stop sign at 75th Street and Sixth Avenue.

Barkley admitted to drinking vodka with some friends at the Dirty Pretty bar.  He did not perform well during the field sobriety test and would not take a portable breathalyzer test, but did agree to a blood test.

Barkley was sentenced with 10 days in jail and a fine of $2,000 by a Scottsdale, Arizona judge.  If he completes a court-approved alcohol program, his jail sentence will be reduced to 5 days.



Category: Keyword Search: Arizona DUI law

2/12/2009
Mindy
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Congressman Jeff Flakes, R-Arizona, is planning to introduce a bill that would require an illegal immigrant who has been convicted for a third drunken driving offense in Arizona to be deported.

“I keep hearing again and again that illegal immigrants with several drunken driving convictions are still here and still on the road,” Flak said when he announced that he will sponsor the proposed bill.  “In many cases, people have been killed or severely injured, and it’s simply not right.”

According to Flake, high profile cases have brought more attention to the problem of illegal immigrants with multiple DUI offenses in Arizona.  One of the high profile cases included the death of Phoenix Police Officer Shane Figueroa last fall who was killed in a car accident caused by an illegal immigrant who was driving drunk.  Figueroa was responding to a call when a truck turned in front of his patrol car.  The impact of the collision spun Figueroa’s patrol car and he crashed into a block wall. He was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center where he died from his injuries.

Flake said that people are understandably upset that there isn’t a simpler way to deport illegal immigrant who have multiple DUI offenses.

“Right now, a drunken driving offense has no immigration consequences in and of itself. So this legislation would say, ‘If you have three drunken driving incidents, then you’re out.  It’s a deportable offense,’” said Flake.

Flake hopes that his proposed bill will lead to a similar federal law, where “three strikes and you’re out – out of the country.”



Category: Keyword Search: Arizona DUI law

2/6/2009
Mindy
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Arizona Legislature proudly passed the strictest DUI laws in the country and began enforcement last year.

The legal limit for blood-alcohol content (BAC) is now .08 percent in Arizona and punishment for DUI conviction has become more severe.  Under the new law, a first-time DUI offender in Arizona may be required to install an ignition-interlock device in the car.  This device reads the driver’s BAC before the engine will start.

Another major change to Arizona DUI laws is the elimination of a certain quantitative BAC requirement to charge the driver with DUI.  Drivers have been charged with DUI with a BAC as low as .06 percent.  Some critics of the Arizona DUI laws have claimed that they are too ambiguous, allowing police officers to have too much power. 

If you are pulled over for DUI in Arizona, the police officer will ask you to submit to sobriety tests and will use the evidence collected against you.  The police officer will take notes as you perform certain tasks and if you appear to be intoxicated, you may be arrested for DUI.

Drinking and driving is a problem in Arizona.  Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  shows that more than 30 percent of traffic fatalities in Arizona are related to alcohol.  People are encouraged to designate a driver, call a taxi or use public transportation, but that is not always an option.  Arizona’s public transportation system does not run late enough for many people and taxis can get expensive.  For example, the last bus leaving Tempe departs at 1:00 AM.  Increasing the hours of public transportation may be one way to lower the number of drunk driving accidents in Arizona.



Category: Keyword Search: Arizona DUI law