Coconino County Superior Court Judge Joseph James Lodge Jr. has been reassigned to non-judicial duties following a DUI arrest last week. Ironically, Lodge handles felony DUI cases.
The judge was allegedly driving with a BAC of 0.229 percent, the Arizona Daily Sun reports. That's nearly three times the legal limit. Now Lodge will probably face a super extreme DUI charge.
Police received a call the morning of Dec. 9 reporting a man in an SUV looking confused and intoxicated. Shortly after, an officer noticed Lodge's 4Runner swerving in and out of oncoming traffic.
According to the officer, Lodge appeared "confused and under the influence of an intoxicant." Lodge reportedly told the officer, "My wife and I are having some problems."
When asked to produce his license and registration, Lodge allegedly pulled a nearly empty bottle of Smirnoff from the center console. Despite the vodka bottle, Lodge insisted that he hadn't had anything to drink. But he admitted to taking three Oxycodone pills.
The judge wasn't wearing any shoes and struggled to stay upright after exiting his SUV. He was taken to the Coconino County Detention Facility where he blew a whopping 0.229 percent BAC.
As Lodge probably knows well, Arizona has a three-tiered system of DUI offenses with escalating penalties depending on the driver's BAC. A BAC of 0.08 to 0.1499 percent will get you a regular old DUI. A BAC of 0.150 to 0.199 percent will get you an extreme DUI.
Finally, a BAC of 0.20 percent or greater will get you a super extreme DUI. A super extreme DUI conviction is punishable by a minimum of 45 days in jail and up to $2,750 in fines.
Lodge could also face an open container charge for the Smirnoff bottle. Merely having an opened or unsealed container of alcohol in the car with you is illegal in Arizona. That goes for drivers and passengers alike. A violation of the open container law can get you up to four months in jail and a maximum fine of $750.
Lodge's term as a superior court judge ends Dec. 31. Afterwards, he plans on going into private practice, according to the Daily Sun.
- Arizona county judge Joseph Lodge arrested on DUI charges (The Associated Press)
- DUI Arrests (FindLaw)
- Sobriety Tests (FindLaw)
- Alternatives to Driving Drunk This Holiday Season (FindLaw's Phoenix DUI Law Blog)