The Behan Law Group, P.L.L.C.

520-220-5047

1-877-MISS-DUI / 1-877-647-7384

Se Habla Español
945 N. Stone Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705

Jail Time Reduction Without an Ignition Interlock

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Arizona DUI LawyerArizona requires someone convicted of a ”Super Extreme” DUI (driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while having an alcohol concentration over .20) to serve 45 days in jail. The law also permits the court to suspend[1] all but 14 days if someone installs an ignition interlock device in any vehicle that they drive.

Many plea agreements, both in felony cases as well as misdemeanors, require that someone put an ignition interlock on a vehicle to reduce the time the person spends in jail. Previously, some courts read this to mean if you did not have a car you had to do more jail time than someone who had a car and who could install an ignition interlock device.  This also meant someone would be required to get a car and have an ignition interlock installed if they hoped to have reduced jail time.

Recently, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that this interpretation was incorrect.  In State v. Kara Anne Stowe, the Court found that jail time could be reduced even without the installation of the ignition interlock device for a defendant who did not own a car and did not drive during the one year following their sentence.  In other words, there is no longer a requirement that someone go out and buy a car and equip it with an interlock device to receive the jail time reduction.  Now, the interlock only needs to be installed if that person is driving during the one-year period.

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Change is Coming!

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shutterstock_16585327.jpgBy Amanda Stafford, Esq.

Arizona has just signed into law House Bill 2673. The changes will take effect on January 1, 2023, and will affect Arizona’s DUI laws in 4 ways. 

1. Aggravated DUI as a Lifetime Prior Felony

Before this new change, if someone had a conviction for aggravated DUI it was considered a lifetime prior felony. The State could use someone’s prior aggravated DUI conviction against them to request a harsher penalty if they were ever found guilty of another felony. Lifetime prior felonies could be used against someone forever

For example, if someone at 21 was convicted of an aggravated DUI and 50 years later had a new felony charge the State could use the prior aggravated DUI against them for a harsher sentence. With the new law change, the aggravated DUI is treated more like other felonies and can only be used against them “forever” if the person is being sentenced for another aggravated DUI. Aggravated DUIs can still be used for harsher sentencing in some circumstances and depending on the age of the conviction.

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DUI Checkpoint Ahead: What You Should Know

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Pima County DUI defense lawyerHave you ever found yourself at a DUI checkpoint and wondered why the police are allowed to stop you when you did nothing wrong?  You are not alone.  In fact, many states do not allow DUI checkpoints because they violate their state constitutions.

However, the United States Supreme Court has said DUI checkpoints are constitutional.  In Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz, the Court considered the government’s interest in preventing alcohol related accidents, the checkpoints’ ability to achieve that goal, and the infringement on personal liberties and determined that the government’s interest was so strong that it outweighed the imposition on individuals.  Despite that statement, the Court went on to carefully curtail the scope of what the police can do at a checkpoint.

Amongst those qualifications are:

  • The checkpoints must be well-lit, have proper signage, and any police presence should be obvious;
  • There must be advance public announcement of the time and location of the checkpoints;
  • The checkpoint must have a systematic plan for its operation leaving little to no room for discretion. For example, the plan dictates that the officers only stop every fourth vehicle; and
  • The plan must be non-discriminatory. Officers may not choose to check vehicles based on the driver’s race, age, or other classification.

Even though less than 1% of drivers at checkpoints are arrested for DUI, checkpoints remain a popular tool amongst law enforcement officers in Arizona.  As we approach the holidays, police departments around the State will be setting up DUI checkpoints.

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Tucson CDL DUI Defense Law FirmWhen it comes to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Arizona law holds truck drivers and other Commercial Driver’s License holders to a higher standard than regular drivers —even when they are off-duty.

When CDL drivers are behind the wheel of their commercial vehicles they can be arrested and charged with a DUI if they have a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .04 percent or higher, which is half the regular legal alcohol limit.

If the CDL driver is behind the wheel of a non-commercial vehicle, such as their personal car, then the regular .08 legal alcohol limit applies. However, a DUI charge can put a commercial driver’s employment at serious risk. Regular drivers facing a DUI can lose their license for 90 days (if they consent to a blood test), while commercial drivers can lose their license for up to a year. Additionally, if your regular driver’s license is suspended, then your commercial driver’s license is also suspended until the agency that revoked it restores it. This can cause CDL holders to lose the ability to work.

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Arizona Marijuana DUI LawyerArizona voters made history this November when they approved legalizing recreational marijuana. Beginning November 30, 2020, adults 21 years or older can legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana, with no more than five grams in a concentrated form, and can grow up to six marijuana plants at home, as long as the plants are within a lockable enclosed area and out of public view.

This ballot initiative, called Proposition 207, will give the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) responsibility for regulating marijuana retail stores and cultivation facilities. According to Ballotpedia, the passage of Prop. 207 also allows Arizonans who have been convicted of certain marijuana-related crimes such as possession, consumption, cultivation, and transportation to petition for the expungement of their criminal record beginning July 12, 2021.

Although the law has officially been passed, the rules regarding marijuana DUI prosecution are still undecided. In other states that have legalized the plant, the legal limit for driving while high is 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.

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