The Phoenix DUI Law Blog

October 2011 Archives

Tucson Police Sergeant Arrested on Suspicion of DUI

As a officer of the law, you’re held to a higher standard than other citizens in upholding the law when either on-duty or on-call. This higher standard became clear Thursday morning when a Tucson Police Department sergeant was arrested on suspicion of DUI, reports KOLD. Ironically, he may have been trying to assist authorities during a call when they began to suspect that he may have been impaired.

Sgt. Robert Callan was reportedly responding to a S.W.A.T. call-out in Tucson near Flowing Wells and Wetmore. He drove to the scene in his personal vehicle, according to the Tucson Police Department. Once he arrived, however, officers allegedly noticed that Callan was exhibiting signs and symptoms of possible intoxication.

Are SCRAM Bracelets Next For Arizona DUI Penalties?

Arizona is particularly known for its strict DUI penalties, but it has yet to require the alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelets made infamous by Lindsay Lohan. Are Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) bracelets the future of Arizona DUI penalties? What exactly would its inclusion mean for Arizona drivers?

Many jurisdictions have begun using SCRAM bracelets to monitor the alcohol use of certain convicted DUI drivers. The bracelets are attached to a person’s ankle and detect the presence of alcohol in the person’s sweat. Typically, courts will order their use in early release and probation cases or for repeat DUI offenders.

Suspected Drunk Driver Slams into Girl's Room in DUI Crash

A suspected drunk driver slammed into the bedroom of an eight-year-old girl early Thursday morning. Luckily, the little girl wasn't injured in the DUI crash thanks to her Halloween nightmares, reports

The suspected drunk driver reportedly reversed 40 to 50 feet from a parking lot into a home containing three small children. He hit a gas main and tore apart the girl's room before coming to a stop, burying her bed underneath beams, cinder blocks and debris.

Fortunately for the family, the eight-year-old, Anna Vasquez, wasn't in her room at the time because she had snuck into the bed of her six-year-old brother after thoughts of Halloween had given her nightmares.

Avoid a Halloween DUI: Tips and Safe Ride Programs

If you’re in the 18-and-over crowd, your most important decision this Halloween will probably be deciding whether to drink-or-drive instead of trick-or-treat. In order to prevent every driver’s worst nightmare - a Halloween DUI - we offer some tips and safe ride programs that should keep you from having to do the Monster Mash in a Phoenix drunk tank.

Good driving habits are typically the same, regardless of whether it is Halloween or any other night. However, holiday festivities always increase the chances that drinking and driving may occur. Thus, we remind you of the following tips:

Judge Refuses to Release Tucson Man for Underage DUI Crash

A twenty-year-old Tucson man is being held in custody in connection with a fatal DUI crash that took the life of another man in September, reports the Arizona Daily Star.

Ryan Austin Membrila is charged with second-degree murder and three other felonies for Gabriel E. Enriquez's death. A Pinal County Superior Court judge ruled he would not release Membrila on his own recognizance on Tuesday after public defenders argued that he was not a flight risk. Perhaps he was persuaded by the impassioned pleas of Enriquez's mother, who reminded the judge that Membrila would have the chance to spend the holidays with his family if released but "my son Gabriel doesn't have a chance to get out of his coffin."

Witness Chases Hit-and-Run Suspect Down with Gun at DUI Crash

Usually when a hit-and-run suspect flees the scene, it’s great when witnesses can identify the make and model of the car or were able to take down the license plate number. A witness at a Mesa DUI crash scene took it one step further - chasing down the hit-and-run suspect and holding him at the crime scene at gunpoint on Saturday, reports ABC15 News.

Luis Gastelum-Diaz was later arrested on suspicion of blowing through a red light while intoxicated and causing non-life-threatening injuries to five people when he crashed into two cars. Gastelum-Diaz may have gotten away with his alleged crimes if it wasn’t for the actions of one of the witnesses at the DUI crash scene.

Aggravated DUI Not Child Endangerment for Man with Kids in Trunk

Mesa resident Robert Soto escaped a multiple-year prison sentence in a plea bargain with prosecutors, reports the Associated Press. In exchange for pleading guilty to an aggravated DUI charge in August, several counts of child endangerment were dropped against him. A judge sentenced him to 60 days in jail and three years of supervised probation on Friday.

The charges against the 23-year-old stem from a February 21 incident in which police pulled him over on suspicion of drunk driving. Authorities were stunned to find seven children in Soto’s vehicle, three of which were in the trunk. Further, all of the children were reportedly under the age of 15 at the time of the incident.

Man Charged with First-Degree Murder for DUI Fatality of Boy, 11

Drinking and driving can bring harsh consequences upon a driver, but if it results in the death of another person, the penalties could mean life in prison. A Tempe man accused of ramming an SUV as he was evading the police and causing the DUI fatality of an 11-year-old boy has been charged with first-degree murder, reports ABC15 News.

David Wiggins made his first court appearance on Thursday where he was notified of the charge, and his bond was set at $750,000. State attorneys also noted that Wiggins’ blood alcohol concentration was recorded at .235 percent, almost three times more than the legal limit. He also reportedly had amphetamine in his system. In addition, to the murder charge, he faces three counts of aggravated assault and unlawful flight from law enforcement.

Five Things You Should Know about Blood Alcohol Tests

It's safe to say most people hate giving blood. It's even a surer bet that most people hate giving blood after being pulled over for a DUI. However, blood alcohol tests can be the difference between freedom and a night in the drunk tank. Here are five things you should know about blood alcohol tests and that all-important blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentage.

Parents: Combat Underage Drinking During Teen Driver Safety Week

Teaching your teenage children how to drive is a rite of passage for both the parents and their children. It can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially given the fact that motor vehicle crashes remain the primary cause of death for adolescents. Luckily, this week is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and this year’s theme is supporting parents in teaching their teens to drive safely, reports

The nationally-celebrated week was established in 2007 to raise awareness about the high amount of teen driving fatalities. Teens are reportedly involved in three times as many fatal crashes as other drivers.

Mesa Man Kicks Paramedic in Face after DUI Crash into Dumpster

A Mesa man was arrested on Saturday night for DUI after he allegedly crashed his car into a dumpster and kicked an ambulance worker in the face, reports The Arizona Republic.

Twenty-five-year-old Tyler Piedimonte reportedly had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.295 percent, nearly four times the legal limit of 0.08 percent. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI and later booked on charges of aggravated assault and DUI after he was released from Mercy Gilbert Medical Center.

Piedimonte is lucky to escape serious injury after his suspected DUI crash into a garbage dumpster. However, he wasn’t grateful for the rescue and reportedly kicked an ambulance worker in the face during his medical examination at the scene of the crime.

Mesa Man Involved in DUI Crash; Slams into Police Cruiser

It’s never a good idea to ignore police officers when they to pull you over. It’s even a worse idea to then ram into a police cruiser while you’re trying to get away.

Mesa man Viesturs Kalva was arrested Wednesday night for several alleged DUI crashes, which included Kalva slamming into a wall and a Mesa police cruiser, reports The Arizona Republic.

Mesa police were initially aware of Kalva’s alleged drunken state when reports came in that a Chevrolet Blazer smashed into a wall and drove off. When officers caught up with him, Kalva decided to give authorities a run for their money.

Drugged Driving Suspected in Fiery Rollover Crash; Boy Killed

A suspected drugged driver is alleged to have caused a fiery rollover crash that killed one boy and sent his sister to the hospital with critical injuries on Wednesday afternoon, reports ABC15 News.

Police are investigating whether the children’s father, Bradley Patrick, was under the influence of drugs when his vehicle blew through an intersection, crashed through a metal railing, and plunged off a steep embankment. Charges will not be filed until toxicology results return.

Mesa police Sgt. Ed Wessing said witnesses flew down the embankment to assist the Patricks when they saw the vehicle fly over. The SUV had caught fire when it finally rolled to its side, but they managed to pull the father and his two children out.

Woman Killed, Child Critically Injured in Suspected DUI Crash

A suspected DUI crash in South Phoenix has left one woman dead and three others hurt, including a critically injured toddler, reports

The accident occurred early Tuesday morning at 5 a.m. when police say a Dodge Magnum broadsided a Chevy Cobalt. The driver's side was hit the hardest, and the 27-year-old female driver bore the brunt of the impact. She later died at St. Joseph's Hospital. A 2-year-old boy who is believed to be her son remains in the hospital in critical condition. A five-year-old, who is believed to be her other child, and a man in the passenger seat were also injured.

Suspected DUI Fatality: 11-Year-Old Dies in Chandler DUI Crash

DUI fatalities are always tragic, but when it involves the death of children, it becomes even more heartbreaking. Chandler police have reported that an 11-year-old boy is dead and his little brother is in the hospital after a suspected DUI crash, according to

"To call it 'unfortunate' is really an understatement," Chandler police detective Seth Tyler said. "If this is the result of impairment, it's just another example of the dangers and the consequences of driving while impaired."

Golden Valley Man Drove Too Slow, Charged with Aggravated DUI

Typically, authorities are tipped off that a driver may be drunk because he or she is either speeding and/or swerving down the road. Golden Valley man, James W. Thompson, however, was caught for driving under the influence because he was driving too slowly in a 35 mph zone, reports ABC 15 News.

Unfortunately for the 64-year-old, his slow driving skills got him the more severe crimes of felony aggravated DUI because he was driving with a suspended license and a super extreme felony DUI for having a blood-alcohol level above 0.20 percent. In total, he was booked into the Mohave County Jail on four felony DUI charges.

Phoenix Firefighter Accused of Intoxicated Hit-and-Run Accident

Phoenix firefighter Mark Nehrenz is accused of being the driver in a hit-and-run accident involving a teenage boy, reports ABC15 News. Phoenix police believe alcohol may have been a factor in the crash and are waiting on the results of toxicology tests before possibly upgrading the charges against him.

Nehrenz is currently charged with leaving the scene of an injury accident after he allegedly struck a 14-year-old boy in a crosswalk early Saturday evening. The boy, Jared Powers, later told ABC15 that “it feels like a dream,” but the incident was more of a nightmare.

Arizona Dram Shop Laws: Are Bar Owners Liable for DUIs?

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driver, it is understandable if you want to hold accountable those responsible. The reckless drunk driver is an obvious choice, but is the person who sold them alcohol liable to you? Can you take legal action against a restaurant or bar owner for providing them the fateful drinks?

Under Arizona state law, a person who has been injured or a family that has lost a loved one in a DUI crash can pursue legal action against any establishment with a liquor license that knowingly sold alcohol to an intoxicated person. Referred to as "dram shop laws," named after 18th Century England gin suppliers, its purpose is to encourage owners to take reasonable steps to protect the public from the foreseeable risks of intoxicated patrons.