The Phoenix DUI Law Blog

February 2010 Archives

Appealing a DUI

If you've been convicted of a DUI but still feel that you're not guilty of the crime or that there were legal errors that altered the basis of your trial or sentence, you may have the right to appeal the case.

A Phoenix DUI attorney can certainly help you out with appealing a case. FindLaw states that the DUI attorney who represented the defendant in a trial does not automatically have to file or handle the appeal. If you were not satisfied with your attorney, you can find another one to handle the appeal case. Usually a public defender can handle an appeal case as well, if you're unable to pay for a lawyer.

CA Assemblywoman Under Fire for DUI

It seems as if there are harsh consequences to drunk driving no matter where you go. And while some people may cringe when they open up their daily newspaper to find a DUI case or drunk driving accident, it can even be more shocking when that person is a public official.

British Columbia Globe and Mail reports that Jane Thornthwaite, a member of the Legislative Assembly in Canada, is facing impaired-driving charges. Ms. Thornthwaite was pulled over during a roadside check and had an alleged blood-alcohol level of .11 percent, where the legal limit in British Columbia is .08 percent. 

Consequences of Committing a Hit-and-Run

Hit and run cases can often be frightening, but few people in the Grand Canyon state realize how severe the penalties are for a hit-and-run charge. Arizona laws say that if the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident that results in death or injury does not stop, then that person is guilty of a felony, according to the Arizona Legislature. Sometimes Arizona DUI attorneys will associate hit-and-run incidents with DUI because people that are charged with a hit-and-run are also sometimes charged with driving under the influence.

Just Like AZ, Missouri Looking To Mandate Ignition Interlocks

Certain states are following in Arizona's footsteps when it comes to the development of new DUI laws. Joplin Independent reports that there's now a bill in Missouri that would require first time convicted drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock device before driving.

Missouri House Bill 1804, which was proposed by Rep. Jeanne Kirkton (D-Webster Groves) is just now starting to get off the ground. It has the support of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The bill would prevent DWI offenders from driving while under the influence. It would be mandatory for those with even one DWI conviction to have the ignition interlock system installed in the vehicle.

Be SADD When it Comes to Drunk Driving

Many people in the Grand Canyon state, as well as Arizona DUI attorneys are probably familiar with the non-profit organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), but in addition to MADD, students and young Arizonans should also be familiar with SADD.

The organization SADD is also known as Students Against Destructive Decisions or Students Against Driving Drunk. The organization has several chapters across the U.S, including many chapters in the state of Arizona.

Changing Arizona's Liquor Sale Hours

If you want to buy alcohol before 10:00 AM on Sundays, you're basically out of luck in the state of Arizona. According to the Phoenix New Times, Arizona law states that liquor cannot be purchased outside the hours of 10:00AM -2:00AM on Sundays. Other days of the week, Arizonians can purchase alcohol between 6:00 AM and 2:00 AM.

Yet some Arizona residents and Phoenix DUI attorneys might be happy to know that certain state legislatures are looking to change the law to accommodate those looking to get their early morning booze on Sundays.

Sedona Looking To Change Alcohol Policy

Just 100 miles outside the city of Phoenix, sits the tourist town of Sedona, known for its red rock formation, hiking trails, and scenic beauty. Currently, the city's policy in Sedona forbids the consumption of any alcohol in parks. However, this might change very soon.

Sedona Red Rock News reports that the city is looking to lift the restrictions of alcohol on its parks because council members believe the sale of alcohol will provide additional opportunities for the city to attract visitors for special events and because officials predict that a new alcohol policy will increase sales-tax revenue.

Southeastern Arizona DUI Task Force Receives Grant Money

Here's some DUI news that will make law enforcers and anti-drunk driving advocates happy.

Arizona governor Jan Brewer recently awarded the Southeastern Arizona DUI Task Force more funds to ensure that the group has all their necessary resources, according to the Sierra Vista Herald. Specifically, a $150,700 grant was awarded to the task force that will go toward paying officers in the task force overtime and benefits.

Arizona DUI Attorneys Concerned Over Senate Bill

A new Arizona DUI law that has been proposed to the state legislature might put tougher restraints on those who violate the state's already harsh ignition interlock laws. reports that the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 1069 would mandate a 4 month minimum jail sentence for repeat DUI offenders who refuse to submit to a blood-alcohol test when they are required to have an ignition interlock device installed on their car. The bill was originally proposed by Republican Senator Linda Gray from Phoenix.

Officer Nathan Barto Awarded at MADD's DUI Banquet

At the annual DUI Award Banquet held earlier this month that was sponsored by Mother's Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Traffic Motor Officer Nathan Barto was recognized for his involvement in Arizona DUI enforcement.

The Prescott Police Department reports that Mr. Barto was nominated for his award after he made 30 percent of the DUI arrests within the Prescott Police Department's Traffic Section and 10% of the total DUI arrests recorded in the entire department. Many in the community see the motor officer as a hero for preventing drunk driving accidents on the Arizona roadways. In the state of Arizona, driving under the influence is a serious charge. FindLaw states that offenders are often punished with jail time, probation, fines, driver's license suspension, and mandatory attendance to DUI treatment or education programs. 

Canada Mulls Over Changing the Legal Limit to .05

Pop Quiz: Do you know what the legal blood-alcohol limit is in Canada? The answer according to, the legal lmit is .05 in every province except for Quebec which still has the legal limit set at .08.

However, Quebec is now looking to adopt new DUI standards. The transit minister in Quebec has recommended the creation of a new DUI charge for drivers with BAC levels between .05 and .08 in the Canadian province, according to The Montreal Gazette. Quebec first heard the legislation last December, but has since been criticized by many bar owners and DUI attorneys in the area. While the law would allow those with a BAC between .05 percent and .08 percent. to receive a civil punishment rather than a criminal punishment, many Canadians feel this can open doors to criminalize those driving with a BAC over .05 percent in the future.

Applebee's Restaurant Being Sued Over DUI Crash

The family of a man who was killed by a drunk driver in Panama City Beach, Florida two years ago is now filing a lawsuit against the Applebee's restaurant chain. The family states that Applebee's restaurant served too many drinks to Jason Reid and Mikael Cherry before the men drove away and killed 62-year-old Paul Lenz in an accident, according to Florida Freedom Newspapers.

Mr. Lenz's family has already settled a lawsuit with both Mr. Reid and Mr. Cherry for an undisclosed sum of money. Listed in the lawsuit is not only the Applebee's establishment, but also several employees that had been working the night of the accident on February 18, 2008, according to DUI Attorney.

Hockey Star Is Charged With AZ DUI

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Nikolai Khabibulin, the goalie on the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL, was recently charged with a DUI in Arizona, according to the Toronto Sun. Scottsdale police pulled over Mr. Khabibulin because the hockey player was allegedly driving 70 mph in a 45 mph zone.

News reports say that 37-year-old Nikolai Khabibulin failed a field sobriety test and that officers smelled alcohol on Mr. Khabibulin's breath. Officers gave him a blood test in the Scottsdale police station on the night of his arrest on February 8.

Attorneys and Lawmakers Look at Texting While Driving Ban

The city of Phoenix approved a ban on text-messaging while driving last year. However, no other city in the Grand Canyon state has followed in Phoenix's footsteps.

ABC News reports that Arizona lawmakers are now pushing for a statewide ban on texting while driving. A bill was recently sent to the full Senate after a legal review and Tucson Republican Sen. Al Melvin has taken to sponsoring the measure. If approved, the law would prohibit writing, reading or sending text messages and e-mails while driving on a state highway. However the law will not prohibit talking on the phone while driving, which is another issue of controversy across the nation.

Violators of the law would be subjected to a $50 fine, and in the case of an accident the fine can be raised to $200. But are these low fines harsh enough? And will these fines stop drivers from texting on the roadways?

Tuscon Cracking Down on Drunk Driving

Tucson-area authorities are doing everything they can to curb drunk driving. Law enforcers are now implementing special enforcement programs with a larger budget thanks to a government grant.

The Associated Press reports that authorities will be enforcing seat belt and child safety seat use in addition to the DUI patrols this week. The officers are hoping to send a message to Arizona residents about traffic safety. The Pima County Sheriff's Department has announced that they will be cracking down on drunk drivers by having two sobriety checkpoints. The Sheriff's Department will also be carrying out enhanced DUI and liquor license compliance patrols. So while this week of Mardi Gras, which is a time of celebration for many Arizonians, it's important to be safe and designate a sober driver before drinking.

Life Sentence For Convicted Drunk Driver

An Arizona DUI attorney would say that it's uncommon for convicted drunk drivers to be imprisoned for life. But last week a Maricopa County Superior Court judge did the unexpected and sentenced 29-year-old Enrique Acosta to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years, plus an additional 7.5 years for the aggravated assault charges, according to the Arizona Republic.

The Arizona Republic reports that the life sentence behind bars came after Mr. Acosta's guilty plea to three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault. Prosecutors said that Mr. Acosta killed three people in an alcohol-related crash back in the summer of 2008 after he ran a red light at 51st Avenue and Camelback Road in Glendale and crashed into another vehicle. Two other victims were also seriously injured from the collision.

Infant Survives DUI Crash, Driver to be Charged

An alleged drunk driver crashed into a vehicle earlier this month near 59th Avenue and Van Bruen Street in Phoenix; where the crash has been hitting a lot of Arizona news channels. This is because a baby that was in one of the cars was able to survive the severe crash.

Unfortunately, a woman died in the crash, according to Fox News; where police say that the drunk driver killed a woman after driving into oncoming traffic. The drunk driver struck the other vehicle head-on, according to police. Several beer cans were also found at the scene.

No DUI Charge, But Woman Gets Fondled By Officer

Two Phoenix police officers may have really crossed the line last summer when they chose not to investigate a DUI incident; after an alleged drunk driver was said to have been fondled by one of the police officers in a squad car.

CBS News Phoenix recently reported the story, where an internal investigation was done of the officers that sustained the allegations. The investigation faulted Officer Michael Cruz and Officer John Urban. Police say that Mr. Cruz fondled the suspected drunk woman after she was said to be the drunk driver in an accident, according to KPHO. Mr. Cruz was accused of putting the woman in handcuffs and taking her to a nearby elementary school, where he inappropriately touched her. Mr. Urban was accused of turning a blind eye.

CBS News Phoenix reports that the woman told investigators, "I was scared somewhat that I would be raped."

Ignition Interlocks in Arizona

Arizona is one of the few U.S states that currently mandates the installation of ignition interlocks on the vehicles of all DUI offenders. Yet many states may soon be following Arizona's footsteps. reports that ignition interlock systems in cars are devices that test for alcohol on a driver's breath, where a vehicle cannot start unless the BAC of the driver is below a certain level, usually between .02 and .04 BAC.

Former Deputy Sentenced in DUI Case

A former Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy was recently sentenced to 30 days in jail and 5 years probation for his extreme DUI in Pima County Superior Court, where KGUN reports that a dog also died in the drunk driving crash. The DUI offender received only minor injuries during the collision near Kitt Peak.

Prosecutors say that the then deputy, Daniel Williams, had a blood-alcohol content level of .251 after he crashed his patrol vehicle. Associated Press reports that Mr. Williams was off-duty at the time of the crash that occurred on Arizona 86, but was fired just hours after the incident.

Driving With a Hangover

A night of heavy drinking can certainly cause impairment, drowsiness, and bad driving, but did you know that the effects can still linger the next day? The New York Daily News reports that a recent study at Brown University shows that these alcoholic symptoms can still be apparent in the body the day after drinking.

This is why many researchers say that driving with a hangover can be unsafe. Brown University published their study on hangovers in "Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research." The study is primarily about the effects of various types of liquor, and how people experience hangovers.

Sleep Driving or Drunk Driving?

Christopher Smith has been accused of killing Trang Vo after he was driving the wrong way on Pecos Road for miles. The Phoenix collision occurred on December 24, 2007, where he is now being charged with second-degree murder, according to Ahwatukee Foothill News. Mr. Smith also faces three counts of aggravated assault in injuries to Kiem Chung, Ngyon Chung and Tuyet Nguyen; who were the other victims in the crash.

Police recorded that Mr. Smith had a blood-alcohol level of .20 just after the Christmas Eve collision. Mr. Smith's Phoenix DUI attorney, Charles K. Shell, admitted in court that his client had too much to drink and that he was driving on the wrong side of the road. However Mr. Shell is arguing that it wasn't Mr. Smith's drunkenness that caused the accident.

City of Buckeye Cracks Down On Underage Drinking

The southwest Valley town of Buckeye is starting to take underage drinking a little bit more seriously. It seems that the small town is setting an example for other towns within the state. The Way Out West Coalition in Buckeye considers teenage drinking the most pressing issue among today's youth, according to the Arizona Republic. Now the coalition, along with other local organizations like Partnership for a Drug-Free America, and Youth Evaluation are holding adults partially responsible for teenage drinking.

Arizona Cities Ranked Drunkest in the Nation

The state of Arizona might be best known for the famous Grand Canyon, desert climate, or exceptionally hot summers, but in recent years the state has also become known for something else...DUI arrests, alcohol-related car crashes, and drunkenness.  Men's Health recently ranked the 100 drunkest cities of America, and unfortunately there are Arizona cities are on the list.

The magazine will publish the list in the publication's March edition, but the list has already been released over the internet and has already gained a lot of attention in the state of Arizona. The rankings are based on death rates from alcoholic liver disease, alcohol-related car crashes, frequency of binge drinking, number of DUI arrests, and severity of DUI penalties.

DUI Offender Being Sued For Wrongful Death

In 2008, Glenda L. Rumsey was convicted of vehicular manslaughter, aggravated assault against a minor, and driving under the influence with a blood alcohol-content of 0.08 percent or more.

In 2009, the now 44-year-old woman was sentenced to 14 years in prison, according to Arizona Daily Star. During the trial, Ms. Rumsey's Arizona DUI attorney argued that the city of Tuscon was to blame for the wreck on the roadway, but the DUI attorney was unsuccessful.

George Campbell Arrested For DUI

George B. Campbell, a well-known disc jockey for a popular country radio station on KNIX 102.5, was arrested last month on suspicion of driving under the influence. Now, about a month after his arrest, Arizona residents are still talking about the incident, where his arrest is shedding light on drunk driving.

The Scottsdale police allege that Mr. Campbell was driving 87 miles per hour in an area north of Scottsdale where the speed limit is posted at 50 miles per hour, according to Arizona Republic. Officers say that Mr. Campbell had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and smelled of alcohol.