The Phoenix DUI Law Blog

June 2011 Archives

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Starts Female Chain Gang of DUI Offenders

Now, there's another reason not to get a DUI in the Phoenix metro area. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio recently created a female chain gang that is made up of women who have all been convicted of driving under the influence.

The chain gangs in Arizona consist of a group of inmates who perform labor in Tent City and around the county-- sometimes during triple digit weather at this time of the year. Inmates in the chain gang are volunteers and can often be seen picking up trash in Valley communities in the black-and-white striped uniforms. This week, FOX News reports that the female chain gang will be wearing pink T-shirts over the striped uniforms with bold letters describing messages about drinking and driving.

Even with tough DUI laws in Arizona, alcohol consumption in the Grand Canyon state was up in 2010, compared to 2009. According to The Arizona Republic, the 2011 National Brewers Almanac from the Beer Institute in Washington found that the average Arizonian drank 22 gallons of beer last year, which is slightly less than half of a pint per day. Consumption of spirits was also on the rise in 2010, along with overall alcoholic beverage sales in the state.

The average Arizonan drank 1.63 gallons of distilled spirits in 2010, which is an increase from the average of 1.48 gallons per year in 2009. Local breweries are gaining business, even during the economic recession, along with neighborhood bars.

DUI Checkpoint on Water? BUI Laws Enforced This Weekend

Summer is finally here, which means that many Phoenix residents will be heading up to the Colorado River for some boating fun. But remember, it's important to stay sober and avoid alcohol consumption when operating a boat in the state of Arizona. Not only can boating under the influence (BUI) be dangerous, but it's also illegal and a crime that is enforced in the state.

The Associated Press reported that multiple law enforcement agencies in Arizona will be checking for drunk boaters this weekend in Kingman along the Colorado River, including the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Arizona Game and Fish. Together, these agencies will be conducting a kind of DUI checkpoint on the water that will allow law enforcers to check boat operators for alcohol impairment.

House Speaker Andy Tobin Speaks on Victor Riches' Extreme DUI

Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin said in a statement this week that he still has complete confidence in Victor Riches, his chief of staff, even after Riches' extreme DUI conviction and cocaine scandal. Perhaps this statement will cause some Arizonians to question the House Speaker's judgment if they have not already.

According to Phoenix New Times, Tobin made the following statement on June 21, after the news of Riches' DUI was widely reported on in the media. "I've since ascertained that Victor has done everything that has been required to take both personal and legal responsibility for this mistake and that there has not been nor will there be any impact on House operations."

Study: Even Low BAC Level Can Be Dangerous For Driving

The legal blood-alcohol content limit for driving in Arizona is .08 percent. But a newly released study by the University of California, San Diego found that even driving with a .01 percent BAC level can be dangerous.

According to NBC Bay Area, the study found that even blood-alcohol levels below the legal limit are associated with injury and death-related vehicle accidents. To be specific, the study’s coauthor David Phillips found that accidents are 36.6 percent more severe even when alcohol was barely detectable in a driver’s blood.

Two Super Extreme DUIs in 11 Days

Within just an 11-day period, an Arizona driver was cited not once, but twice for DUI. A Tucson doctor was apparently arrested the first time on May 15 in Casa Grande after allegedly driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level of .265 percent. According to Tri Valley Central, the DUI suspect, Merilyn Goldschmid, was seen stumbling to her car in a Walmart parking lot and then hitting a curb when driving off.

Goldschmid was cited for DUI after a witness called police, but then just 11 days later on May 26, the suspect was in a car accident in the 1800 block of East Florence Boulevard. After the accident, police found that Goldschmid registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.270. Hence, she was cited for DUI, super extreme DUI, and failure to yield from a private drive.

Phoenix Police Sergeant John Flanagan Charged With Felony DUI

We’re all aware that police officers don’t always follow the law, but most people at the very least would expect law enforcement officers to act responsibly. Yet it appears that this is also, not always the case.

FOX News reports that Phoenix Police Sergeant John Flanagan is now facing felony charges for allegedly driving under the influence while his kids were in the car with him. The officer was arrested in March near Valley Vista High in Surprise, but the felony DUI charges were not filed against him until the county attorney’s office completed their investigation last week.

New Four Loko Drink May Still Be Dangerous

Phoenix residents still haven't forgotten about last year's Four Loko controversy, where the Phusion Projects company stopped selling their alcoholic drink mixed with caffeine and replaced it with a similar drink that was not caffeinated. Yet perhaps the new Four Loko drink is just as potent as their old beverage.

According to Fox News, a new study suggests that the new Four Loko product can still be dangerous with its 12 percent alcohol content and taste that is sweet in flavor. The study finds that Four Loko can still get a consumer drunk in a hurry because the taste of alcohol in the beverage is hidden.

Tommie Holliday Facing DUI Charges After Wife Falls Out of Van

Stephanie Lynn Holliday of Pinal County died earlier this week after she fell out of a moving vehicle. The driver of the vehicle, who was the husband of the victim, probably won’t be facing murder or manslaughter charges, as there are no signs that he pushed the victim out of the vehicle or that Holliday was involved in a physical struggle in the vehicle prior to her fall.

Yet the driver Tommie Holliday could be facing DUI charges as a result of the tragic incident, Phoenix New Times reports. He apparently made the mistake of telling police officers that he and his wife had been drinking at a friend’s house earlier in the evening. He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after the accident, where authorities drew a blood sample and sent it to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Hundreds of people in Maricopa County were arrested for drunk driving over Memorial Day Weekend. One of these drivers was former Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Mark Grace, who was pulled over in Scottsdale on May 30, for making a wide right turn. Police officers said that Grace admitted to “having a few drinks” at the time of this arrest, reports The Arizona Republic.

Grace is best known for being part of the Diamondbacks’ World Series Championship team in 2001. Prior to joining the Diamondbacks team, Grace played for the Chicago Cubs for 13 years. The former baseball player now works as an Arizona Diamondbacks color analyst on Fox Sports Arizona.

Brad Braudrick Sentenced to Five Years in Prison After DUI Crash

Brad Braudrick not only faced felony charges after driving a pickup truck off of Lakeshore Drive in March 2010, but he also saw his friend Joshua Lee Bristow be pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. According to Prescott Daily Courier, a judge sentenced Braudrick to five years in prison last month after the defendant pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter and driving under the influence.

Braudrick reportedly had a blood-alcohol level of .081 percent, which means that he was legally drunk at the time of the crash. Lawyers representing the driver tried to argue, however, that Braudrick's DUI crash was not to blame for Bristow's death and that a delayed medical response was actually the cause of his friend's death. It was Braudrick himself who called 911 after the accident.

Mesa DUI Checkpoints and Memorial to DUI Victims

We report quite often in this blog on the DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols to enforce DUI laws that Phoenix police and officers throughout the state use during holiday weekends. Memorial Day weekend has just passed, and with it came a crack down on drunk drivers in many counties in Arizona.

Over the Memorial Day weekend in Mesa, there was not only increased enforcement of DUI laws, there was a special memorial to those lost to DUI accidents as well. According to MyFox Phoenix, Power Road in Mesa was lined with 219 pairs of shoes. These shoes represented the 219 people who were killed in 2009 by a drunken driver in Arizona.

Authorities have not yet determined a motive in the unusual case involving 26-year-old Randon Reid and a plane shooting, but they have arrested the suspect and have put him behind bars. Police say that Reid fired bullets at an airplane that was parked at the Deer Valley airport on Sunday. Officers that were on routine patrol in the area were eventually able to track down the alleged Deer Valley shooter a short time later, ABC News reported.

Randon Reid is now facing charges of aggravated DUI and felony flight as a result of the incident. The Arizona Republic reports that the driving under the influence charge comes after authorities reported that Reid was likely drunk at the time that he sped away from police officers. The suspect refused to speak with officers at the time of his arrest.