Attorney Scott Campbell

Criminal Defense Attorney

Category: DUI

DUI From the Perspective of a Judge

DUI From the Perspective of a Judge. I am a pro-Tem Justice of the Peace.  That means I fill in for another Judge when he needs help.  In that role, I do formal plea agreements, preside at hearings on motions, and even preside at jury trials.  I am often asked how I can be a defense attorney one day and a Judge the next.  The simple answer is I believe in the system when all parts are working like they should.  But, I don’t appear as an attorney in the Court I am a Judge in.  I take off my “attorney hat” and put on my “Judge hat.”

DUI From the Perspective of a Judge

Being a Judge is not as easy as it looks.  Both the prosecutor and the defense lawyer are doing their best to argue their case.  Neither is lying, but they see facts from different perspectives and both are arguing the law, or sometimes different laws, to show the facts in a different light.  At a hearing, I am not judging whether the defendant is a nice person or not (most are nice people who had a bad day), but to decide what the facts are and how the law applies to those facts.  I really try to get it “right,” knowing any decision can be appealed to a higher Court. 

DUI From the Perspective of a Judge

When you are in Court, the Judge doesn’t like or dislike you. In the few minutes, you are in front of the Judge you are very important to him.  He does care, he just has a job to do.  In a day, he won’t even remember your face, but he may remember the facts of the case. 

At a jury trial, the burden of making the big decision – guilty or not guilty – belongs to the jury.  But, I am happy about that.  You see, the slam dunk cases are handled without a trial.  The really weak cases are never filed or are pled to something lower than a DUI.  It’s only the close ones that go to trial.  I know the prosecutor thinks he will win, and I know the defense attorney has an argument that he thinks will get a not guilty verdict.  I don’t envy juries.  They have a tough job.

If you have read through all these series of posts I hope you have gained some insight into the way each cog in the wheel of a DUI case looks at it, the motivations, and the realities that each must accept.  If you are charged with a UDI, call me.  I probably have a better knowledge of the system than most.

This concludes this 5-part series on DUI.

If you have been charged with DUI in Tempe or anywhere in the Phoenix area; contact me for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.

DUI From the Perspective of a Judge

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DUI From the Perspective of a Driver

DUI From the Perspective of a Driver. I never thought I would be in this position. Because I am careful about drinking and driving; therefore, I was also careful this evening, as well.

I met a few friends at a bar one evening about 11 p.m. But, I had not consumed any alcohol earlier that evening and I only had 1 beer at the bar later (no, really, I had 1 beer). About midnight I left the bar and was driving home when I was stopped. I don’t think I committed any traffic violations, but the officer did (remember “reasonable suspicion” from the last blog post)?

Even though I knew that I had done nothing wrong, I was cooperative and did what I was told. So, I followed my own advice and refused the eye test and balance tests. But then disregarded my own rule and talked to the police officer. It’s hard not to, especially when you are innocent. Therefore, I told the truth (if you can’t resist saying something, at least don’t lie). I told him I had 1 beer that evening and I was on my way home. It didn’t matter, he decided I was lying and arrested me. Now I shut up.

DUI From the Perspective of a Driver

At the police department jail (they are not a pleasant way to spend the evening), the officer asked if I would consent to a blood draw. So, I did what I tell people to do, and stuck out my arm; because I knew it would show that I was not impaired. Also, because I knew if I refused my license would be suspended for a year; regardless of the results. Next, I was fingerprinted, photographed and then released. The next day I went to the tow yard to get my car.

Then I waited a couple months and paid for a copy of the police report. The reason I waited was because I knew that is about how long it would take for the blood test to come back. The report was surprisingly accurate, right down to the supplement report on the lab results: 0.00%. From the time I finished the 1 beer until the blood was drawn; I had metabolized the alcohol in the beer. Here was proof I was actually innocent.

Not that the police officer believed it…he sent the blood back out to test for drugs, even though he did not suspect drugs on the night I was arrested. So, I waited another couple months and requested the report again. This was no surprise. Anyone who knows me knows the only drug in my system is blood pressure medication. The supplement stated no drugs were found.

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So, if someone comes to me saying they are actually innocent, I listen. It happened to me.

If you have been charged with DUI in Tempe or anywhere in the Phoenix area; contact me for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.

Next installment: DUI from the perspective of the Judge.

DUI From the Perspective of a Driver

(480) 745-5677

DUI From the Perspective of a Police Officer

DUI From the Perspective of a Police Officer. Who was that police officer who arrested you for DUI?  Why was he so formal?  Why did it seem like he liked it?  Also, why are they arresting people just driving home rather than looking for real criminals?  There are two basic answers.

The first you can guess. Police policy is that DUI is a problem, impaired drivers are dangerous, and they have to spend resources on all crimes, even those you may consider minor. Yes, murders get many detectives working many hours on one case. Murder is so significant that resources are poured into solving each one. But, even the most minor crime gets some time and attention. DUI falls somewhere in the middle. Resources are allocated on enforcing DUI laws, but they are not trying to catch every person driving impaired. If they were, there would be DUI checkpoints every mile.

The second and one important from the police officers’ point of view is less obvious. Money. I’ll explain. Most DUI arrests are by police officers on a DUI squad or a task force. They are out there specifically looking for DUI arrests. They are sent to training schools and are usually working at night. So where does the money come in? The police officers on these squads or task forces are generally paid assignment pay. That means they make more than a police officer assigned to patrol duties. In addition, they are called to court more often than other police officers because of the number of arrests they make and the fact that people charged with DUI routinely fight the charges. Why is that important? Court time is usually overtime. More money.

The police department I worked for would sometimes have an ad hoc DUI task force. They would pay patrol officers 8 hours overtime to work one night shift and look for DUI arrests. You were expected to make at least one arrest, or you wouldn’t be invited back for the next DUI night. So, officers would start work about 10, hang out in a coffee shop until about 1:30 a.m.; then go sit near a bar at the 2 a.m. closing time. They would look for one very drunk driver, arrest him, then return to the coffee shop until the 8-hour shift was over. Voila! Eight hours at time and a half and they get invited back the next time. Their motivation was not the DUI arrest; it was the overtime.

Police departments often get federal grants to target DUI. This is the best of both worlds for them. They get to show they are enforcing DUI laws and the police officers get their extra money, but it doesn’t show up on your tax bill. Only it does. Federal money means federal taxes – like your income taxes. The government doesn’t have any money of its own; it’s all yours. It just often isn’t showing up in the particular police department’s budget.

Now for the encounter when you are stopped. Don’t believe that they just stopped a regular traffic violator and happened to see that you were impaired. They are actually targeting specific violations that are taught to them as “cues” that the driver may be impaired. When they first encounter you, they are already looking for more information to arrest you.

The police officer will be nice but will be specific in what he is saying and telling you to do. He will ask for your license and registration. While he does need your license, he couldn’t care less about the registration. He probably already saw who the car is registered to on his computer before he got out of his car. He is trying to confuse you. Impaired drivers will often hand the police officer his license only, or they will hand the officer their license, registration, and proof of insurance; as they are taught to do when pulled over. Either of these will be “wrong” and will be cited as a “cue” that you are impaired. You see, the police officer specifically asked for your license and registration, not just the license but also the insurance card.

Next, he will ask you to get out of your car. He doesn’t care if you are in your car or out of your car (if you are getting a speeding ticket, they leave you in your car), he wants to see you walk. If your foot was asleep or the road is uneven, or even if nothing is wrong, you will naturally touch your car for balance. Another “cue.” Then, he will ask to “check your eyes” and have you do some balance tests to “see if you are ok to drive.” He is not checking to see if you are ok to drive home, he is gathering evidence to arrest you. I could go into excruciating detail o how the balance tests are set up, but suffice it to say that a sober person would have a difficult time passing the tests.

Once the officer thinks he has enough “cues,” he will arrest you and take you to a station or DUI van for breath or blood testing. He will probably tell you that if you are cooperative, you will be released from the station and not taken to the county jail. You, of course, don’t want to go to jail, so you are now set up for the coup de grâce.

The police officer will ask you a series of scripted questions and carefully write down exactly what you say. One of the questions is a trick question. It goes like this: on a scale of 1 to 10, with one being completely sober and ten being falling down drunk, how impaired do you think you were when you are stopped. Of course, you had something to drink, but you don’t think it affected you, so you say “2” or “3.” You just lost your case. You see the law says it is DUI to be impaired to the slightest degree. Anything other than a “1” and you have just admitted to DUI.

So, that is DUI from the police officer’s point of view. Stay tuned for my next installment, DUI from the attorney’s point of view.

Next in this series : DUI From the Perspective of an Attorney

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DUI From the Perspective of a Police Officer

DUI A Series From Different Perspectives

DUI A Series From Different Perspectives. I wanted to write on probably the biggest subject I get questions about in my practice, Driving Under the Influence. People who have been arrested come in and tell me their story, then hope I can somehow get the charges dismissed. Getting charges dismissed is rare, but there are things that can be done to mitigate a DUI charge. This will not happen in every case and don’t believe a lawyer who promises unrealistic outcomes. The police are practiced in making DUI arrests, and some are very good at it. Fortunately, there are lawyers who are also practiced in defending people charged with DUI, and some are very good at it.

I could write the same statute-heavy post saying what I can do for someone to get them off a DUI, but that would be boring. So, I am going to write a series of posts I may be uniquely qualified to write from different perspectives.

My first post will detail DUI from a police officer’s point of view. Having been a police officer for over 26 years and having made DUI arrests, I understand the many dynamics involved. Second, I will do the obligatory post from my perspective as an attorney representing people arrested for DUI. Next, I will write about how it is to be arrested for DUI. I was arrested for DUI, but I was not impaired at all – I was actually innocent. Finally, I will write from the perspective of a Judge as I am a Pro Tem Justice of the Peace and preside over pleas, motions, and trials for DUI.

From all perspectives, though, I want to emphasize not to drive when you are impaired. It is dangerous and can be costly, through an accident, an arrest, or both.

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Next in this series : DUI From the Perspective of a Police Officer

DUI A Series From Different Perspectives

Gideon Should Be Expanded

I recently read an article about the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright.  For those not familiar, it is a Supreme Court decision that says that a person who is charged with a crime and faces a jail or prison sentence has a right to a lawyer, even if he can’t afford one.  This decision gave rise to our Public Defender system.  Prior to Gideon v. Wainwright, a person who could not afford his own lawyer on ly got a free lawyer in certain circumstances.

Prior to Gideon, many poor defendants were railroaded into convictions and imprisoned, even executed, without having any legal assistance.  Now, if you are facing even one day in jail you are entitled to a public defender if you cannot afford your own lawyer.

As far as it goes, Gideon was a landmark and correct decision, and a great advancement in our legal system.  The system, however, has found an oft-used bypass to Gideon.  The prosecutor simply tells the judge that the government will not ask for jail time, and the judge tells the defendant that regardless of the outcome he will not impose any jail time.  This leaves the defendant who cannot afford a lawyer to make legal decisions and even go to trial without a lawyer.  It is wrong, just plain wrong.

The government spends a lot of money for police, investigators, and prosecutors.  A person accused of a crime, even one where there is no possibility of going to jail (for this particular crime), is completely out gunned and out spent.  Even a minor crime can have consequences far beyond some jail time, but these are seldom told to the defendant and often even unknown to the prosecutor or judge.  A couple examples:

Some misdemeanors become felonies if there are prior convictions for the same offense.  This is routinely told to a defendant who is pleading guilty, but often only then.  He has not had enough time to consider this impact and factor it into his decision whether to go to trial.

A DUI conviction can keep you from being allowed into a foreign country.  Canada can and does exclude even tourists who have a DUI conviction.  In most states, a first offense DUI does not require jail time, and therefore does not require a lawyer be appointed.  Has anyone heard of a DUI defendant being told of this consequence?

I am sure I could come up with more collateral consequences to a “minor” criminal conviction.  As I see it, any criminal charge should entitle a person to a lawyer even if he cannot afford one.  If the government wants to spend money on enforcement and prosecution, why should it not be required to spend some on the other side?  Seems fair to me.