The Phoenix DUI Law Blog

February 2011 Archives

DUI Suspect Robert Soto Had Kids in His Trunk

Mesa police officers pulled over 23-year-old Robert Soto last week after he was involved in a “road-rage incident” in his sports car on February 21. Officers suspected that the Mesa man was driving under the influence, but they probably didn’t expect to find so many children in his small Mitsubishi Eclipse.

The Tucson Citizen reports that police say that they found seven children in Soto’s vehicle at the time of his citation, three of which were riding in the trunk of the car. All of the children found in the vehicle were reportedly under the age of 15.

Mother Allegedly Leaves a Child in Car After DUI Crash

A 34-year-old woman allegedly crashed her vehicle in Phoenix on Saturday while she was driving under the influence and then tried to leave the scene of the accident on foot. Perhaps the woman would have been able to successfully run away from the police (the car did not belong to her), but the DUI suspect left something important behind in her car -- an eight-year-old child!

According to FOX News, the suspect Carla Flanagan tried to flee the scene with her youngest child after colliding with another car, but left the other child, the 8-year-old son of a friend, in the car near 45th Street and Baseline Road. Police report they arrested Flanagan on felony counts of aggravated DUI, aggravated DUI with a passenger under 15, failure to stay at the scene and endangerment.

CDC Study: Ignition Interlocks Curb Number of Repeat DUI Arrests

A recent study conducted by the Community Guide branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that ignition interlock devices stop people convicted of driving under the influence from re-offending. Reuters reports that the study shows how the reoccurrence of DUI arrests decreases by 67 percent after the ignition interlocks are installed.

The CDC study might push Arizona lawmakers to vote against Senate Bill 1200, which seeks to reduce the amount of time that a first-time DUI offender would be required to have an ignition interlock device. As we reported in an earlier blog post, first-time DUI offenders must currently have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle for a minimum term of one year. SB 1200 simply looks to change the law so that the required time would be shortened to just six months after a first-time DUI.

Driver Suspected of DUI After Crashing into Cop Car

A Scottsdale driver crashed into a police vehicle last week, which led authorities to an obvious but necessary question -- was the driver drunk?

The Arizona Republic reported that 69-year-old Barry Lee Smith was arrested on Wednesday night after allegedly making an illegal turn with no headlights on and then colliding with a Scottsdale police car at Thompson Peak Parkway and Hayden Road. A veteran of the Scottsdale Police Department was on patrol at the time of the crash and had to be transported to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Jack Mizer Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison For DUI

It's rare for Arizona DUI offenders to spend more than one year in jail, but a recent case in Maricopa County shows that a DUI conviction can result in a lengthy prison sentence in extreme cases.

ABC News reports that 58-year-old Jack Mizer was sentenced to 20 years in prison this week after pleading guilty to felony drunk driving charges in two separate DUI cases. Authorities say that Mizer will not be eligible for parole until the year 2028 and that he will have to remain under supervision when he is released.

Deputies Conduct Investigation After Driver Hits School Buses

A driver in Northern Arizona struck not just one, but two school buses last week on El Rancho Bonito Road in Cornville. According to ABC News, the motorist Edward Boon allegedly sideswiped one bus in the initial incident and then rear-ended a second school bus after making a U-turn on the roadway.

Sheriff's deputies are investigating the accident and say that there were no injuries that resulted from the collision. The first school bus that was sideswiped had two children in it plus a driver and the second school bus had only a driver with no children on board.

Know Your Limit Program Raises Awareness of DUI in Scottsdale

It's probably common knowledge to most people that the legal blood-alcohol limit for operating a motor vehicle is .08 percent in Arizona. However, many people might not realize how much alcohol or perhaps how little alcohol it takes to get to a BAC level above .08 percent.

This is why the Scottsdale Police Department launched the Know Your Limit program in 2009. According to the Arizona Republic, this program educates the public by letting drinkers blow into a Breathalyzer to see how much alcohol is in their system. Volunteers are typically selected to blow into a breathalyzer device in front of a crowd and the people who blow above a .08 percent are not arrested. Instead, they are handed a card that lists DUI penalties that they can face if they are caught driving while impaired.

Senate Bill 1200 Looks at Ignition Interlock Device Rules in Arizona

Even first-time DUI offenders in Arizona are currently required to get an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle for a minimum term of one year. Repeat offenders will often be sentenced to have the ignition interlock device in their vehicles for an even longer period of time.

So it might not be too surprising to hear that the state of Arizona has some of the toughest laws in the country regarding the installation of ignition interlock devices. This is why some state lawmakers are in favor of reducing the amount of time that a first-time DUI offender would be required to have an ignition interlock device.

Anonymous Tip Leads to the DUI Arrest of Lewis Paul Larkin

ABC News reports that the Pinal County Sheriff's Office arrested County Assessor Lewis Paul Larkin on February 7 after he failed field sobriety tests and allegedly had a BAC level above the legal limit of .08 percent. Yet the most interesting part of his arrest story is how authorities were actually able to catch the county official and make the DUI arrest. Apparently an anonymous note was sent through the Pinal County website that read:

The Pinal County Assessor frequents the Kokopelli Moon Saloon everyday (Monday - Fri) around 3 p.m. until around 5 p.m. then, inebriated, he gets into his late model silver Dodge Dakota and drives home. Why does the Pinal County Sheriff turn a blind (sic) on this?

14-Year-Old Arrested For DUI in Phoenix

A boy who won't be of legal drinking age for another seven years was arrested in Phoenix this week on suspicion of DUI. Because of the boy's age, authorities would not provide the name of the DUI suspect, but police officers at the scene described the driver as a "heavyset" and say that the boy looked about 10 years older than his actual age.

According to The Phoenix New Times, police officers tried to pull over the boy driving a white Ford Focus after he was seen driving erratically on Interstate 17. However, the boy did not yield to police officers (perhaps he didn't know the rules of the road) and ran through several red lights while officers were flashing their red and blues.

AAA Offering a Free Tipsy Tow on Superbowl Sunday

Americans are getting ready for the big game on Sunday where the Packers are set to take on the Steelers in Superbowl XLV. Perhaps it will be a good idea to avoid driving on Sunday because many people associate the Superbowl with beer, kegs, bar hopping, and getting hammered. This is why AAA Arizona is offering residents of the Phoenix area free rides through the auto club’s Tipsy Tow service.

ABC News reports that AAA’s “Hail Mary” Tipsy Tow service will start on Sunday February 6 at 6 p.m. and will run through 6 a.m. on Monday February 7. Impaired drivers can call 1-800-AAA-HELP during these hours and say “I need a Tipsy Tow.” An AAA vehicle will then provide drivers and their passengers with a free tow and one-way ride to their destination at no cost up to 10 miles. For trips longer than 10 miles, drivers can expect to be charged the towing company’s standard rate.