The Phoenix DUI Law Blog

April 2010 Archives

Tempe Police Crack Down on Underage Drinking

It's likely that Arizona DUI attorneys will be getting some calls this week after police officers in Tempe busted 86 individuals for underage drinking. Fox News reports that Tempe and Arizona State University police arrested 85 minors for possession of alcohol and one adult over the age of 21 who allegedly allowed the minors to gather and consume alcoholic beverages.

Most people are aware that it's illegal to consume or posess alcohol under the age of 21 in Arizona, however many people don't realize that there are serious consequences to such an offense. According to FindLaw, underage drinking can actually lead to a two-year driver's license suspension, even if the underage drinker was not operating a motor vehicle at the time of the arrest. For this reason, Arizona DUI attorneys often get involved with minor in posession cases as well.

Mesa Man Arrested After Crash in Mobile Home Complex

Police say that they saw 27-year-old Randall Johnson swaying nervously with bloodshot eyes last week after witnesses saw that the man crashed into a parked car in a Mesa mobile home complex. The Arizona Republic reports that Randall Johnson admitted to being on prescription medication but denied any illegal drug use in the week prior to the incident. Drugged driving is considered a DUI in Arizona.

Nevertheless, Randall Johnson was arrested and booked on two counts of aggravated DUI after he had failed the field sobriety tests. This led law enforcement to believe he possibly had engaged in drugged driving. A further investigation showed that the man had been driving with a suspended license.

Jared Allen of Minnesota Vikings Gets in Scottsdale Bar Fight

Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings allegedly threatened to break a bar patron's neck at The Grapevine in Scottsdale, but it's still unclear whether the Minnesota Vikings' defensive star will be facing criminal charges. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that it's typically a misdemeanor charge in Arizona to threaten to "cause physical injury to another person or serious damage to the property of another."

Police Make DUI Arrest After Woman Calls To Report Drunk Driver

Police officers constantly encourage community members to call to report drunk driver incidents on the road, yet many people might feel powerless when they report drunk driver incidents. After all, there's no guarantee that a police officer will be able to catch up with the suspected drunk and if an officer is able to catch up with the suspect, then there's still no guarantee that the officer will be able to make an arrest.

Yet, police officers in Mesa were recently able to arrest Karen Cahoy after her neighbor called the police department to say that she thought the woman was driving drunk. The Arizona Republic reports that an officer was able to spot Karen Cahoy's vehicle at a Valero parking lot at Greenfield and Broadway intersection shortly thereafter. The officer then applied his emergency lights, but the driver failed to stop until she got back to her house; which was about one mile down the road.

Pima County Sheriff's Sergeant Calls DUI Checkpoint a Failure

The Pima County Sheriff's Department held a DUI checkpoint last Saturday on South Cardinal Avenue near West Valencia Road, but Arizona DUI attorneys and even some law enforcers are now questioning the effectiveness of such a roadblock. Arizonians are aware of the many AZ DUI checkpoints.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that 499 drivers passed through the checkpoint from 8:25 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. But of these drivers, only six people were asked to go through field sobriety tests and only three people were actually arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. In addition to the arrests, the sheriff's department issued an additional 12 citations for charges ranging from open alcohol containers to suspended driver's licenses and outstanding warrants.

Students at McClintock High School Learn About DUI

As high school students are getting ready for their senior prom, parents and school administrators are worried about underage drinking and drunk driving. In order to teach students about the dangers of drunk driving, McClintock High School in the Tempe area of Arizona has taken on a new and creative approach to educating students.

Last week, students at McClintock High School in the Tempe area were able to learn about the consequences of driving under the influence and the dangers of drunk driving, through a mock DUI crash. ABC News reports that high school students from the Tempe area watched as local firefighters and police officers treated actors who were pretending to be in a dramatic collision. Similar presentations will be done at other high schools around the Valley before prom.

Tempe Police Targeting Distracted Drivers

Drivers in the city of Tempe should drive with caution over the next couple weeks and be on the lookout for Tempe police. ABC News reports that the Tempe police are now targeting drunk drivers and distracted drivers through a two-week crackdown; which began on April 12. Until April 25, police officers say that they will continue to have a high amount of officers patrolling the city and enforcing DUI laws. Speeders are also being heavily targeted because Tempe police say drivers have had a history of not following school zone speeds in the city.

"I've had people doing 60, 65 miles an hour in a 35 [mile per hour zone] and not really aware they were going that fast, not aware of the posted speed limit, just oblivious to it," Officer Dennison Dawson told ABC News.

Man With .30 BAC Level Faces Multiple DUI Charges

A man from Northern Arizona now faces a long list of criminal charges. Some of these charges include: endangerment, DUI with a blood-alcohol content of .20 percent or higher, driving on a suspended license, aggravated DUI with person under 15 in the vehicle, and possession of a prohibited weapon.

Larry Robison will now need an Arizona DUI attorney to defend himself against charges. But what exactly led up to this man's arrest and why is he in so much trouble with the law?

ABC News reports that the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office received a call last week from a motorist who saw the 48-year-old driving erratically and reported that he saw the man pull into a driveway. Deputies then contacted the driver who reported the incident. After they spoke with the driver, they then interrogated the suspect outside of the home.

Alleged Drunk Driver Punches Mesa Police Officers

A suspected drunk driver attacked three Mesa police officers earlier this month, according to the Arizona Republic. The three officers were injured on April 3, the night of the incident, but were able to identify the suspected impaired driver as Jay Watters.

The alleged assaulting of the Mesa police officers came after Jay Watters had led the police officers on a 10-minute high speed chase. Officers initially attempted to stop the driver in the 100 block of East Brown Road. The driver finally did get out of his vehicle, but reportedly punched the officers. After police officers were able to arrest the man, authorities reportedly found a small bag of marijuana in his pocket and an open alcohol container in the car. There was also a 14-year-old passenger in the vehicle.

Driving Under The Influence of Prescription Drugs

In the state of Arizona there's been a significant increase in prescription drug related DUI arrests within the past several years. The Arizona Republic reports that it's not all that uncommon for law enforcement officers to arrest an individual for DUI when it comes to impairment through anxiety relievers, sleep aids, and anti-depressants.

"There are times when there is actually a debate. When you advise that they're under arrest for DUI, they don't understand. They explain, 'I wasn't drinking,'" Sgt. Ed Wessing, a drug-recognition expert with the Mesa Police Department, told the Arizona Republic.

Many people in Arizona are unaware that a person can be convicted of a DUI for being under the influence of any drug; including medication that has been prescribed by a doctor. In 1999, the Arizona Department of Public Safety encountered approximately 4,400 drug-related DUI cases, but last year the department saw 14,700 drug-related DUI cases. That's more than a 230 percent increase!

High Bail For Michael Jakscht, Who Allegedly Killed 4 in Car Crash

Phoenix police arrested 46-year-old Michael Jakscht on suspicion of driving under the influence of methamphetamine after he allegedly caused an accident in his 24,000-pound dump truck on March 25. The accident involved 10 motorcycles.

But the Arizona Republic reports that Michael Jakscht faces more than just DUI charges. Because four people died in the collision and five more were injured, the man could now face four counts of manslaughter, five counts of aggravated assault, and seven counts of endangerment.

Choosing a Jury for a DUI Trial

A Phoenix DUI attorney might argue that the process of jury selection is the most important part of a trial. After all, it's the jury that ultimately decides if the defendant is guilty or not guilty in most DUI cases. FindLaw states that jury members are usually selected after DUI defense attorneys, prosecutors, and a judge question a pool of potential jurors on matters that pertain to a case.

The questions that the potential jury members are asked could include questions relating to personal ideological predispositions or even life experiences. At this stage, both the defense and prosecution may exclude a certain number of jurors, through the use of "peremptory challenges" and challenges "for cause." A peremptory challenge is used when excluding a juror for any non-discriminatory reason, but a challenge for cause is used when excluding a juror who has shown through questioning that he or she cannot be objective in deciding the case.

Keeping Track of the Kegs

Here's a new program that could prevent underage drinking and DUI arrests.

Several Tucson organizations, including Campus Health officials at the University of Arizona, are working with alcohol vendors in Arizona to institute a voluntary keg registration program. The purpose of the program is to ultimately prevent underage drinking by discouraging people who give alcohol to underage individuals.

State Press reports that vendors with the program will tag the keg upon the purchase so that the keg could be traced back to the purchaser. There are currently no required keg registration laws in Arizona, but some lawmakers are hoping to change that. There are at least 26 U.S states that currently have such keg registration laws.

Social Networking Warns Drivers of DUI Checkpoints

With tools like text messaging, iPhone, Twitter, and other social networking websites, avoiding DUI checkpoints is now easier than ever before. The Arizona Republic reports that with Twitter, drivers can warn each other with "tweets" of where DUI checkpoints are.

It might not be difficult to find an Arizona DUI attorney that is supportive of the spreading of information regarding the locations of DUI checkpoints. However, some community members, law enforcers, and public safety officials believe that spreading information about where DUI checkpoints are located actually encourages people to drive drunk. After all, if you know where are all the DUI checkpoints are then aren't you less likely to be arrested for driving under the influence? Law enforcers now face dilemmas with technology when doing checkpoints or saturation patrols.

DUI Offenders Might Be Serving Time Through a House Arrest

The Scottsdale City Council will consider allowing home detention centers for DUI offenders at their April 27 meeting in order to save money on the city's jail costs. The Arizona Republic reports that Arizona law allows such programs, but that it's up to a city or town to create a house arrest program. Many city courts in the Valley already have such programs.

The program may go into effect as early as this summer, and could even affect the defense tactics of an Arizona DUI attorney. Instead of extended jail time for DUI offenders, a home detention program would allow for convicted drunk drivers to wear an ankle bracelet that would monitor the location of a particular person. The ankle bracelet would only allow the offender to be away a certain number of feet away from the house.

Woman Seriously Injured in Sierra Vista Hit-and-Run Collision

A 20-year-old woman was left in critical condition a couple weeks ago, when she was hit by an alleged drunk driver. The Sierra Vista Herald reports that the woman had to be airlifted to a Tucson hospital after she was hit while crossing the street in Sierra Vista.

The accident occured as Ms. Adriana Alverio was crossing the road near Fry Boulevard and Fourth Street on March 26. At first, Sierra Vista police officers were not able to arrest anybody for the collision; as it was reported as a hit-and-run accident. Yet officers were later able to find the Ford Mustang vehicle that hit Ms. Alviero and authorities proceeded to arrest 21-year-old John Jones and 26-year old Krystal Von Kanel. They were found in the vehicle.

Underage Drinking Prevention With SADD

The Arizona Republic reports that the Arizona and Surprise chapters of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) met to discuss ways of preventing underage drinking earlier this week. A two-hour event held at the Northwest Regional Library in the town of Surprise shed light on tactics to prevent teens from alcohol consumption and DUI arrests.

Many Arizona residents might not be familiar with how a DUI arrest works for those who aren’t of drinking age. The truth is that many teens caught with driving under the influence usually face enhanced penalties. When a person under the age of 21 is charged with a DUI, then that person can face serious consequences with a class 2 misdemeanor, according to ARS 4-244.33.

Joey Porter Gets DUI Charges Dropped

Some Arizona Cardinals fans may have been upset when they found out that the team's new linebacker Joey Porter was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Bakersfield, California. However, The Huffington Post now reports that Mr. Porter and his DUI attorney will no longer have to worry about the drunk driving charge. This is because prosecutors in Kern County have found insufficient evidence from the suspected DUI incident.

A supervising district attorney explained in a statement, "Based upon the information that was provided to us by the CHP, we did not believe that there would be a reasonable likelihood that a jury would find Mr. Porter guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the allegations."

R U Buzzed? - iPhone Application Could Prevent DUI

Have you ever been out for a night of drinking, and you wonder whether you're too drunk to drive home? Now there's an app for that.

While it's always best to play it safe and avoid driving if you've consumed any amount of alcohol, The Colorado Department of Transportation recently lauched an iPhone application that allows users to calculate their blood-alcohol level. The Denver Post reports that users enter in basic information including weight, sex, number of hours you've been drinking and the type and amount of alcoholic beverages you've consumed, which leads to a calcuated BAC level of the user.

DUI Checkpoints in Cochise County 4/3/10 - 4/4/10

Some regions of Arizona pay close attention to drunk driving. Cochise County is just one region of the Grand Canyon state that is taking on new initiatives to stop people from driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

As reported in the Douglas Dispatch, the Cochise County Sheriffs Office will be conducting DUI checkpoints at various locations this weekend, on April 3-4. Along with checkpoints, the county’s Southeastern Arizona DUI Task Force will be conducting saturation patrols. With funding from the Governors Office of Highway Safety, law enforcers in Cochise County are trying to reinforce the seriousness of drinking and driving.

Getting Out of Jail Free Isn't So Easy

Pablo Garcia of Safford, Arizona was being held in Graham County Jail on numerous DUI charges when he made his escape on Tuesday. But Associated Press reports that he he was on the loose for less than one day before authorities were able to catch up with him in Pinal County, just southeast of Phoenix.

The man was surprisingly able to scale a wall topped with razor wire and then make a getaway; all while avoiding injury. Deputies say that they were able to track down a cell phone used by 20-year-old Garcia in the Casa Grande Area. He was then arrested again in a motel along with his girlfiend Jessica Dorame. As it turns out, Ms. Dorame had already had an outstanding arrest warrant.