The Phoenix DUI Law Blog

December 2010 Archives

Tipsy Tow: Get a Free Ride Through AAA On New Year's Eve

The best way to avoid a DUI arrest is to simply not drive after consuming alcohol. This New Year's holiday, AAA Arizona is offering a free towing service so that alcohol-related traffic accidents can be prevented.

The East Valley Tribune reports that the AAA service is called the Tipsy Tow, where a driver and one passenger can get a one-way ride and a free car tow to their desired destination as long as the destination is within 10 miles. After 10 miles, standard AAA towing rates will apply.

New Year's Day Is Day With Most DUI Deaths

Did you know that New Year's Day is typically the most dangerous day to drive of the year because of the high number of drunk drivers that are on the road? According to U.S. News and World Report, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that the average number of alcohol-related crashes on New Year's Day is almost 150 percent higher than the average for the same day of the week during the holiday season.

Arizona DUI Laws and Medical Marijuana

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Can medical marijuana patients in Arizona be charged with driving under the influence if they are found to be impaired by marijuana? The answer is yes, but drug DUIs for medical marijuana patients is still somewhat of an unclear issue for law enforcers in the state.

The Arizona Republic reports that drivers in the Grand Canyon state can be charged with driving under the influence of prescription drugs if it is determined that the driver is impaired by the drug. Yet there is currently no standard measurement for marijuana impairment in Arizona. Hence, it can be ambiguous if a person is impaired by marijuana or if marijuana metabolites found in the blood exist from smoking the drug days prior. Traces of marijuana can stay in the human bloodstream for days, weeks, or even months at a time.

DUI Arrest: What Happens When You Refuse a Breath Test?

Like most other U.S. states, Arizona has an implied consent law. This means that refusing to take a breath test is a criminal violation in it itself, which can carry penalties that can be even more severe than the penalties for a DUI conviction.

FindLaw states that the implied consent law does not mean that a driver cannot refuse a BAC test. However, if the driver does not submit to testing, authorities can get a search warrant to mandate that BAC tests be administered.

Former Phoenix Sun Mario Elie Arrested For DUI

The former NBA star Mario Elie was arrested earlier this month in Sacramento, California on suspicion of DUI. Associated Press reported that a California Highway Patrol officer pulled over Mario Elie for a broken taillight, but that the officer made an arrest after he saw that the driver was showing signs of impairment and noticed that Mario Elie's car smelled of alcohol.

A breath test showed that Mario Elie had a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of .08 percent. This evidence led to California authorities to book the basketball player in Sacramento County Jail, but the man was released from jail after posting bail. Mario Elie later apologized for his actions in a statement. He said, "I'm very sorry, embarrassed and disappointed for the position in which I put myself and team. Rest assured, it won't happen again as I take full responsibility for my actions."

Lloyd Kennie Arrested With Blood-Alcohol Level of .33 Percent

A driver arrested with a blood-alcohol level over .20 percent in Arizona can face charges of super extreme DUI in the state. This is the highest level of DUI in the state of Arizona, where people convicted of the offense face a minimum sentence of six months in jail, 90 days of a suspended driver's license, and minimum fines of $8,300.

KPHO News reports that 41-year-old Lloyd Kennie was arrested in Prescott Valley on charges of aggravated DUI, super extreme DUI, extreme DUI, driving on a suspended license and having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle. Police officers said that Lloyd Kennie was passed out in his SUV, but that he had the engine running, his foot on the accelerator and his hand on the gear shift of the vehicle.

AZ DUI Task Force Makes 1,350 DUI Arrests So Far

During the latest holiday enforcement of DUI-related crimes, KTAR reports that Arizona's DUI task forces have together made about 1,350 DUI arrests as of Monday. Statistics from Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's Office specifically stated that 1,343 drivers were arrested for DUI by the task forces' 2,000 police officers and sheriff's deputies between Nov. 25 and Monday. The DUI task forces in the state will continue to run their operations until January 1, 2011.

Of the nearly 1,350 DUI arrests in Arizona, 333 of the arrests were for extreme DUI. An extreme DUI in the state of Arizona is usually for people that have a blood-alcohol level .of .15 percent or higher at the time of an arrest. The penalties of extreme DUI are more severe than the penalties of a DUI conviction with a blood-alcohol level between .08 and .149 percent.

December's National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month Takes Off

The month of December has been traditionally known as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention month in the state of Arizona and around the nation. Individuals, families, government agencies, community organizations, and non-profit organizations are now taking on efforts to reduce impaired driving accidents and enforce state DUI laws around the holiday season.

On December 1, President Barack Obama proclaimed December as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month in order to encourage safe driving practices in this country. In the proclamation, the president said that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is sponsoring the campaign "Drunk Driving:  Over the Limit.  Under Arrest" during the holiday season. Through this campaign, thousands of police departments and law enforcement agencies around the United States are taking action to make drunk driving and drugged driving arrests so that roads can be safer.

MADD Ranks Arizona As 8th Safest State For Driving

The organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving has ranked Arizona 8th out of the 50 U.S. states for road safety, most likely because of the state's tough DUI laws and requirement for all DUI offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. The Arizona government has shown dedication to taking drunk drivers off the road by providing billions of dollars for DUI enforcement over the past five years for sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols. Arizona law also requires mandatory alcohol assessment and treatment for DUI offenders, where those convicted of DUI must participate in a treatment program.

Drugged Driving Involved In One Fifth of Fatal Crashes in 2009

Drugged driving is on the rise. Researchers with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have found that about 1 in 5 drivers who were killed last year in car crashes tested positive for drugs, according to Associated Press. This is a significantly higher percentage than the numbers for the year 2005, where drugs were found in just 13 percent of drivers killed in car accidents.

The tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reportedly took into account both legal and illegal drugs, including heroin, methadone, morphine, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, LSD, prescription drugs and inhalants. Yet it's not clear whether drugs actually caused the fatal car crashes or how impaired the drivers were at the time of the deadly collisions. Perhaps law enforcers need to focus more of their efforts on drugged driving rather than drunk driving.

Getting Drunk With Alcoholic Whipped Cream

A popular topping on an ice cream sundae can now lead to a DUI charge if alcohol conusmers are not not careful.

The Lawrence Journal reports that the product Whipahol is actually stronger than most wines and beers. The alcoholic whipped cream branded by the makers of Whipped Lightning can have a proof up to 36.5, but has a similar appearance and consistency similar to that of regular whipped cream.

Cracking Down On DUI Crimes During the Holiday Season

The Christmas season has arrived, but so has Arizona's Holiday DUI Task Force for 2010. The task force consists of several police departments in the state that go out in full force to look for impaired drivers during the holiday season. Law enforcement agencies involved with the Holiday DUI Task Force include the Department of Public Safety, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, and the Mesa and Phoenix police departments.

FOX News reports that the Holiday DUI Task Force runs from November 19 until January 1, 2011. From November 19 to November 30, the task force reportedly arrested 167 people on suspicion of DUI across the state of Arizona. Yet the DUI task forces made almost 4,500 arrests between Thanksgiving and New Year's last year, according to the Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

Tucson PD Cuts Number of DUI Officers During Holiday Season

The Tucson Police Department's DUI squad will lose half of its officers next week, which means that three nights out of the week there will be no DUI enforcement officers patrolling the Tuscon roads. According to the Arizona Daily Star, the DUI Squad will go from 14 members down to seven members starting December 5.

The cut in DUI enforcement officers is part of the many cost-saving measures being taken by the Tucson Police Department in response to budget cuts. Around the holidays, Tucson police typically deploy a special DUI task force with checkpoints and saturation patrols throughout the city. The Tucson Police Department is reportedly one of 65 law enforcement agencies that receives funding from the Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety for such DUI enforcement measures.