The Phoenix DUI Law Blog

March 2011 Archives

Tempe Man Had BAC Level of .29 Percent When Daughter Was in Car

Not only is it irresponsible as a parent to drive under the influence with a child in the car, but it’s also considered a felony crime in the state of Arizona. This is why it’s best to leave the kids at home if you’re thinking about having even just one drink.

ABC News recently reported that  39-year-old Josh Ward from Tempe had a blood-alcohol level that was more than three times the legal limit at the time of his DUI arrest earlier this month. But some people say that the worst part of this case was that the suspect reportedly had his 2-year-old daughter in the car with him at the time of the alleged DUI.

DUI Suspect James Grunert Arrested After Multi-Vehicle Crash

Police in Peoria arrested 40-year-old James Grunert on March 19 after he showed signs of impairment just after a multi-vehicle crash. According to The Arizona Republic, the crash involved four vehicles and started when Grunert allegedly slammed into the rear of Kathleen Petrotta's gold car while it was stopped at a red light. Petrotta was transported to a hospital after the crash, but reportedly died shortly after.

Because the multi-vehicle crash involves a death, it's possible that Grunert could be facing a manslaughter charge if there is evidence that he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash. Another driver suffered from non-life threatening injuries after the accident, which could lead Grunert to face even more felony charges.

Man Sentenced to 11 Years for DUI Crash That Killed Cody Bishop

A judge sentenced 23-year-old Steven Landrum to 11 years in prison on Friday after the defendant pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge in Maricopa County Superior Court, according to AZ Family. The Tempe community can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Landrum will end up behind bars, but friends and family members of the victim may never be able to forget about the crash that killed 18-year-old Cody Bishop on May 6 of last year.

Bishop, a student of Corona del Sol High School in Chandler, died just a few days after the drunk driving crash from severe injuries. Associated Press reported that Landrum had a blood-alcohol level of .227 percent just after the crash, which is nearly three times the legal limit in the state of Arizona.

If you're using smartphone apps like Checkpointer, Buzzed, or Fuzz Alert Pro to find out where the local DUI checkpoints are in the Valley, then you may soon need to find a new way to get that information. According to CNN, four U.S. senators are now asking Apple, Google, and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion to stop selling apps that help drivers avoid DUI checkpoints. Research in Motion has already apparently agreed to stop selling such apps.

The lawmakers say that the smartphone apps give impaired drivers "a free tool to evade checkpoints, putting innocent families and children at risk." However, Phoenix DUI attorneys and app makers might disagree and say that these smartphone apps do not present a harm to public safety. Other critics of the proposal say that the government shouldn't be controlling the app market.

It didn’t take long for police officers to show up to the scene of a suspected drunk driving accident that occurred on March 10. The Phoenix New Times reported that a 56-year-old driver crashed directly into the Phoenix police headquarters on 7th Avenue on that day. The driver, whose name was not released to the public, allegedly tried to flee the scene of the accident. But to no surprise, the suspect made an unsuccessful getaway.

Officers at the scene said that they noticed a few signs of alcohol impairment and arrested the motorist on suspicion of DUI. Before hitting a wall at the Phoenix police headquarters, the driver reportedly hit a water valve, which led to water being shut down for several hours in the building on the day of the arrest.

DPS Cracks Down on People With Outstanding Warrants For DUI

People with outstanding warrants in the Valley should watch out because the state’s Department of Public Safety and other local police agencies are looking for the people that have failed to show up in court to answer to a DUI charge. According to KTAR, DPS Sgt. Scott Reutter has said that the warrant squad has made 900 arrests over the past year by going to the homes of people who have been arrested for such crimes.

If DUI suspects want to save themselves from the humiliation of having an officer come after them, they can always turn themselves in at the DPS Command Center, which is located at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. Ignoring an outstanding warrant will usually only make things worse in a DUI case.

Sierra Vista is Prime Destination For Underage Drinking

The town of Sierra Vista, located in Cochise County, is now developing a reputation for high rates of underage drinking and having a large number of establishments that sell alcohol to minors. While people under the age of 21 can certainly get themselves into legal trouble for consuming alcohol, the business that sells alcohol to minors can face even more severe penalties.

According to KOLD News, an operation conducted by the Southeastern Arizona DUI Task Force and Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control found that 17 percent of the businesses investigated in Sierra Vista, sold alcohol to a minor. The businesses that were investigated were selected based on previous enforcement of liquor violations, complaints from citizens and other factors.

Get a Free Ride Home on St. Patrick's Day Through Tipsy Tow

Before you start pounding down pints of Guinness on Thursday to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, make sure that you have a plan regarding how to get home safely. Not even the luck of the Irish will be able to stop those convicted of driving under the influence from facing stiff penalties.

Phoenix police officers will be heavily enforcing DUI-related crimes on St. Patrick’s Day, but fortunately, AAA Auto Club has a good solution for drivers that are looking to drink. AZ Family reports that drivers on Thursday can call 1-800-AAA-HELP and say that they need a “Tipsy Tow.”

Two Phoenix Police Officers Busted For DUI

Not one, but two Phoenix police officers have been accused of driving under the influence in separate instances. Fox News reports that both officers were off duty at the time of their alleged offenses and they have both been placed on desk duty until their DUI investigation is complete.

Aren’t officers with the Phoenix Police Department supposed to take on initiatives to prevent drunk driving instead of driving under the influence themselves? These officers are certainly not above the law and they will be held to the same standards in their DUI cases.

Michael Chicharello Sentenced to Five Years in Prison in DUI Case

The Phoenix man, who crashed into a highway patrol car last year while driving in the wrong direction on Loop 101 in Glendale, was sentenced to a five-year prison term on March 7. The defendant, Michael Chicharello, would have probably been sentenced to spend even more than five years in state prison, had he not taken the plea agreement that was offered to him.

According to the Arizona Republic, 31-year-old Chicharello was initially charged with aggravated assault, driving under the influence, endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident after last year’s incident. Yet three out of these four charges were dropped through the plea agreement and the defendant only pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault charge.

Phoenix House Hit By Car For the Third Time in Three Years

A man, who has been accused of driving under the influence, allegedly drove his car through a block wall fence and into a homeowner's pool last month in the area of Tatum Boulevard and Dixileta Drive in Phoenix. While crashing a vehicle on residential property may seem like an out-of-the-ordinary accident, ABC News reports that the homeowners are claiming that this is actually the third time in the past three years that a motor vehicle has crashed into their property.

In one of those three accidents, a man on a motorcycle was reportedly killed. James Feely, who currently lives at the home, is now asking that the city of Phoenix put up some sort of barrier to protect the residents of the home and to prevent future traffic accidents.

Coco Crisp of the A's Arrested For DUI in Scottsdale

Oakland Athletics star Covelli Loyce “Coco” Crisp was arrested yesterday in Scottsdale on suspicion of DUI, making him the third major-league baseball player to be charged with DUI during this year’s spring training. Associated Press reported that the irony in Coco Crisp’s situation is that that major-league security officials met with the Oakland team on Wednesday to deliver an annual lecture that included a discussion about the dangers of drunk driving.

If only Crisp got the anti-drunk driving message before the DUI arrest that day, then perhaps the whole situation could have been avoided. Now, it looks like Crisp will be facing DUI charges in the U.S. state that is known to have some of the harshest penalties for a DUI conviction. Even a first-time DUI offense in the state of Arizona is typically punishable with a 10-day jail sentence and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.

Southern Arizona DUI Task Force Cracks Down in Tucson

The Southern Arizona DUI Task Force works to catch drunk drivers and make DUI arrests throughout the year through various law enforcement techniques, including saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints. According to KGUN, the Task Force arrested 27 motorists in the Tucson area over the weekend between 8:00 p.m. Friday and 4:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Twenty-three out of the 27 motorists who were taken into custody, were arrested on suspicion of a misdemeanor DUI charge. Five of the motorists arrested had previous DUI arrests on their criminal record.