Attorney Scott Campbell

Criminal Defense Attorney

What constitutes domestic violence in Arizona?

What constitutes domestic violence in Arizona?

Today’s guest blog is by Attorney Paul W. Hamilton

The legal definition and consequences of domestic violence in the state of Arizona are referenced under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3601. In essence, it is the use of violence against a family member, significant other, sexual partner and in certain cases, an acquaintance.

What constitutes domestic violence in Arizona

What constitutes domestic violence in Arizona?

On the authority of ARS 13-3601, the charge of domestic violence can be applied in the following cases:

  • The alleged victim and aggressor are married, were formerly married, share a household or formerly shared a household.
  • The alleged victim is pregnant with the accuser’s child, the victim and accused are related by blood or marriage.
  • The accused lives in the same household as a minor victim and the two are related by blood or through a former spouse. The accused and victim are or were in a romantic or sexual relationship.

The nature of the domestic violence can be physical, sexual and also economic. When dealing with domestic violence cases, the court has to take into account the nature of the relationship between the accuser and the victim, the period of time during which the relationship has or had been ongoing, as well as the frequency of interaction between the accuser and accused. In cases of a terminated relationship, the time period since the relationship has been ended is also taken into account.

Offenses that may result in a domestic violence charge

According to ARS 13-3601 if any of the offenses listed below are committed against an individual who is in a relationship that is defined as protected by Arizona’s domestic violence laws, the charge of domestic violence applies.

  • Negligent homicide, manslaughter or murder
  • Endangerment (acts that create substantial risk of bodily harm to another person)
  • Threatening or intimidating a witness
  • Assault or aggravated assault
  • Custodial interference (interfering with a parent or legal guardian’s physical custody of a child)
  • Unlawful imprisonment
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual assault
  • Criminal trespass
  • Criminal damage
  • Interference with judicial proceedings
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Preventing use of a telephone during an emergency or false representation of an emergency
  • Intimidation, annoyance, and harassment over the telephone
  • Stalking
  • Emotional abuse of a child or vulnerable adult
  • Dangerous crimes against children

How is Domestic Violence Charged?

How domestic violence is charged as a misdemeanor or felony depends on the exact nature of the violation. In cases of emotional abuse or endangerment, the accused can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. A charge of disorderly conduct involving a deadly weapon is a Class 6 felony.

If an individual is charged and found guilty of one of these offenses, such as assault, he or she will face the potential sentence recommended by Arizona courts. If the convicted does not have any prior record, typically criminal penalties are the same regardless of the domestic relationship between the victim and perpetrator. However, domestic violence cases are often prosecuted much more aggressively than typical legal cases.

A second conviction of domestic violence can result in the convicted being put on supervised probation with jail time being one of the conditions for probation.

Being found guilty of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge for the third time in an eighty-four month period can result in a felony charge resulting in the individual being charged with jail time accordingly.

If the charge involves serious bodily harm to the victim or the use of a weapon, the accused may be charged very seriously.

Aggravated assault is a class 3 felony with a minimum jail time sentence being five years and the maximum jail time sentence being fifteen years.

Because of the nature of domestic violence charges and the stigma associated with them, it is crucial to take domestic violence accusations and charges very seriously. It is of the highest importance to find proper legal representation, preferably with an attorney who has extensive experience in domestic violence cases.

What constitutes domestic violence in Arizona?

Author Bio:

Law Office of Paul W. Hamilton strives to exceed your expectations in criminal law, family law, real estate, estate planning & probate representation. Call (229) 232-8056

How Are Felony Crimes Classified Under Arizona Laws?

How Are Felony Crimes Classified Under Arizona Laws?

Today’s guest blog is by Michael L. Ainley, Esq.

Felony crimes refer to serious criminal offenses and carry a prison term of at least one year. The most serious felonies are punishable by death. These are crimes which include a physical violation of another human beings rights violation. Examples of such crimes are murder, rape, sexual molestation of a child, armed burglary and thefts of property with very high monetary value. Prison terms are longer for people convicted of repeat felonies. In Arizona, felonies are classified as Class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

How Are Felony Crimes Classified Under Arizona Laws

How Are Felony Crimes Classified Under Arizona Laws?

Class 1 Felony – Class 1 felonies are reserved for murders in the first and second degree. First-degree murder (murder that is both willful and premeditated) is punishable by death or life in prison. Second-degree murder (a non-premeditated murder, resulting from an assault in which the death of the victim was a distinct possibility) is punishable by 16 years to life in prison.

Class 2 Felony – In Arizona, Class 2 felonies are reserved for sexual molestation of a child, production of child pornography, possession of dangerous drugs (methamphetamine, LSD, mescaline) for sale, trafficking of stolen property, burglary with a firearm and theft of property worth more than $25000. The presumptive prison term for these crimes is five years and the aggravated term can be up to twelve and a half years.

Class 3 Felony – Possession of more than two but less than four pounds of marijuana, certain forms of theft, certain forms of stalking and telecommunications fraud are all Class 3 felonies in Arizona. They allow sentences of a minimum of two years in prison, whereas aggravated sentences can carry a sentence of up to 8.75 years.

Class 4 Felony – Class 4 felonies in Arizona include theft of property with a value between $3000 and $4000, growing marijuana illegally, possession of dangerous drugs, identity theft, weapons misconduct and driving under the influence. Class 4 felonies carry prison sentences of one year, with aggravated felonies carrying a sentence of up to three years and eight months.

Class 5 Felony – Prostitution, as well as pimping and pandering (facilitating and making a profit from prostitution), are class 5 felonies. Class 5 felonies carry a prison term of two years, with the aggravated term being one of two and a half years.

Class 6 Felony – Class 6 felonies are the least serious felony crimes under Arizona law. These include charges for possession of drug paraphernalia, unlawful use of means of transportation and theft of property with a value of $1000. In some cases, a judge may designate the conviction as a class 1 misdemeanor, which can result in a sentence of six months in jail and three years of probation.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a time period designated by lawmakers during which the state of Arizona must begin prosecution against the defendant or their attorney can have the case dismissed. Usually, the state has a period of seven years from the time the crime has been committed to begin its prosecution. However, the most serious felonies such as murder and production of pornographic material featuring children have no statute of limitations and the state can begin its prosecution at any time.

Felony convictions have serious consequences. If convicted, an individual can go to prison and lose chances of finding employment which is up to the standard of his or her qualifications. The individual can lose the right to vote and to possess a firearm. Being convicted of multiple felonies can result in a harsher punishment, meaning longer prison terms and heftier fines. For further information click here

How Are Felony Crimes Classified Under Arizona Laws?

Author Bio:

People in northwest Tennessee turn to the law office of Ainley, Hoover & Hoover, PLLC when they need experienced legal advice or representation to resolve simple to complex legal issues. At Ainley, Hoover & Hoover, PLLC, you can expect fairness and honesty, and to be treated with the respect and dignity you deserve.

Can I Sue the Police?

Can I Sue the Police? This is a question I am often asked.  The answer is yes, you can sue the police.  The bigger question is whether you will be successful.

Can I Sue the Police

Can I Sue the Police?

The government puts many obstacles in the way of suing the government or a government officer.  First, in a lawsuit in State court, the government says you cannot sue for certain things.  Basically, you cannot sue the government for making a certain policy or for deciding how to spend money.  In other words, if a police officer was following written policy, he is immune.  If a city doesn’t spend enough on staffing sufficient police officers, you can’t sue them for that decision.

Then there is something known as “qualified immunity.”  This takes two forms.  First, if a police officer does certain things (such as fails to make an arrest, an escaped prisoner harms you, rendering emergency care) unless the officer was “grossly negligent.”  Second, if an officer violates your rights, but that right is not sufficiently clear in the law, he may be immune from suit.

Another obstacle, if you are suing in State court, is the requirement that you serve the officer and his department with a Notice of Claim within 180 days of the incident.  Then there are other very strict deadlines.

If you want to sue in Federal Court, qualified immunity may still apply, but the 180-day notice deadline does not apply if you are suing under Federal law.

To be successful in suing the police, you must have some significant damages (not just hurt feelings) and a clear cause of action.  If that is the case, see a lawyer immediately so you don’t miss the very strict deadlines for action.

Can I Sue the Police?

Arizona Drug Crimes Punishments and Defenses

What are the possible Punishments and their Defenses for Drug Crimes in Arizona?

Today’s guest blog is by The Weingart Law Group.

The state of Arizona incarcerates thousands of people on drug-related charges every year. As a state, Arizona has a relatively high conviction rate for those accused and arrested for drug-related crimes. It is, therefore, prudent to have an understanding of Arizona’s drug laws, possession charges, their punishments and possible defenses that your lawyer may use to lighten or defeat these charges.

Arizona Drug Crimes Punishments and Defenses

Arizona Drug Crimes Punishments and Defenses

Arizona divides drugs into the following categories under Arizona Revised Statute 13-3401:

Marijuana – Marijuana can refer to the resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus cannabis, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such plant, its seeds or its resin.

Prescription drugs – Prescription drugs refer to any legally produced, FDA approved medication, which has a potential for abuse and is, therefore, illegal to purchase or possess without a medical doctor’s prescription, or to sell to any individual that does not have prescription for these drugs.

Narcotics – Narcotics refers to a host of specifically named drugs where the substances may or may not be from a natural or synthetic origin. It is a controlled substance, a drug that reduces pain, causes drowsiness, and induces sleep.

Peyote – Peyote refers to any part of a genus Lophophora or spineless cactus, known mainly for its use as a hallucinogenic.

Substances that release toxic vapors – This refers to a substance that contains fumes that release toxic substances that have an intoxicating effect when inhaled.

Dangerous drugs – Dangerous drugs refer to a host of named substances with varying effects, such as LSD, stimulants of the central nervous system such as amphetamines, depressants of the central nervous system such as heroin, and anabolic steroids.

Apart from the aforementioned categories of controlled or illegal substances, individuals found to be in possession of substances which can be used to illegally manufacture these substances can be prosecuted under Arizona Revised Statute 13-3408.

Possession of a Dangerous Drug (Charges and Defenses)

Possession of a dangerous drug is a serious offense, resulting in grave consequences for those who are found guilty. Under Arizona Revised Statute 13-3407, it is prohibited to knowingly possess, use, manufacture, transport, sell or distribute substances defined as “Dangerous Drug”.

Individuals found in possession of substances defined as such are guilty of a Class 4 Felony, which means that the said individual can receive punishment similar to those found guilty of forgery, aggravated DUI or misconduct with a deadly weapon.

However, if the drug in possession was not LSD, crystal meth, heroin or amphetamines, or the individual has no prior convictions under sections 13-3407 or 13-3408, the defense attorney might be able to motion the state to reduce the charge to a Class 1 misdemeanor with probation. Being found guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, the individual can still be charged with jail time up to, but no more than six months as well as a fine, up to but not more than $2500.

Being charged with a Class 4 felony means that the individual can be charged with 3.75 years in prison, four years of probation and a fine of $150,000 with surcharges.

If the individual ends up being charged with a class 4 misdemeanor, he or she can face a reduced sentence of six months in jail, maximum five years of probation and a $2500 surcharge.

It is important to note, that in cases of probation the court reserves the right to issue a warrant for arrest, add additional conditions to the probation and revoke probation in exchange for imprisonment.

For more information on the penalties associated with possession of marijuana, driving under the influence and their possible defenses, contact an experienced and qualified criminal defense attorney.

Arizona Drug Crimes Punishments and Defenses

Police Are Lowering the Bar for Use of Deadly Force

Police Are Lowering the Bar for Use of Deadly Force. If you have read previous posts you will know that I was a police officer for over 25 years before becoming an attorney.  I worked in South Florida and moved to Phoenix to attend law school and eventually opened my practice here.  One thing that struck me was the widespread use of deadly force by police here.  From news reports, it seemed like police killed almost a person a week in the greater Phoenix area.  I just checked and see that the count is 37 through the first week of October 2016.

police-are-lowering-the-bar-for-use-of-deadly-force

Police Are Lowering the Bar for Use of Deadly Force

When I was in the police academy, it was hammered into our brains that we could use deadly force only when we feared for our life or the life of another.  While it was technically legal to shoot a fleeing felon, we were told it would probably get us fired and not to do it.  That was it.  Fear for life.

In my practice and in the news I often hear police say that deadly force was used because someone did something like reach into a car or not obey police commands and the officer “feared for his safety.”  That sounds reasonable on its face, but fearing for your safety is far from fearing for your life.

In my years, I feared for my “safety” or feared that I would get injured many times.  I never used deadly force.  Cops and emergency rooms become well acquainted, or at least they did.  It seems our now para-militaristic police would rather shoot someone than take a risk of getting a cut or broken bone.

Police Are Lowering the Bar for Use of Deadly Force

I see videos on the news and YouTube of police shootings that look questionable at the least.  I see police shooting people who are unarmed because they “may be reaching for a gun.”  They could also be reaching for a cell phone, their wallet, or a candy bar. Therefore, “may be reaching for a gun” just isn’t enough to be in fear for your life.  I also see police shooting people who have a gun but are just standing there with the gun pointed at the ground.  A closer call?  Yes?  A tense situation?  Very.  But we were taught that until that gun moved toward someone, don’t shoot.  Now it seems the police culture is “he has a gun, shoot him.”

The law in Arizona allows police to use deadly force “only when the peace officer reasonably believes that it is necessary to defend himself or a third person from what the peace officer reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force.”  I assume other States have identical or very similar laws.

It is a shame that the cries for ‘support of police’ and lamenting that police have ‘such a tough job’ to do is allowing police to shoot people simply because they fear for their “safety” rather than their lives.

Police Are Lowering the Bar for Use of Deadly Force

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

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.

dui-from-the-perspective-of-a-driver

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 an Attorney

DUI From the Perspective of an Attorney. One of the most common questions I get when first meeting a potential DUI client is “do I need a lawyer for this?” Yes. You need a lawyer. In fact, if you can’t afford your own, the Court will give you a public defender. They have to because jail is mandatory for even the lowest DUI offense.

So why not just use a public defender? The short answer is choice. You have none when you are assigned a public defender. Some are very good, very concerned, and very experienced. Some are not as good, not as concerned, and not as experienced. If you can afford you own lawyer, hire one. You should expect them to be attentive to your case, explain what is happening as the case goes on, and know what he is doing. Don’t use a lawyer just because he did estate planning for your dad. He may know nothing about DUI law. And, to be fair, don’t come to me for estate planning.

DUI From the Perspective of an Attorney

So what am I looking at when you tell me what happened and as I go through the police report? First, I don’t care if you are guilty or not. If your blood alcohol level was too low or if you did not have drugs in your system, you would not have been charged by the prosecutor. You have a problem and I’m trying to get you out of it as clean as I can. I am looking at you encounter with the police in separate parts.

First, I’m looking at whether the police had enough to stop you. This standard is very low; all they need is “reasonable suspicion” that you committed a traffic violation or crime. They don’t have to be right, they just have to have a suspicion based on a sufficient reason, not just a hunch. This one is tough to win, but in some cases it is possible.

Next, before the police can require you to take roadside tests (these are the eye and balance tests), they have to have reasonable suspicion that you are impaired. Again, it is a low standard, but one they have to meet.

DUI From the Perspective of an Attorney

Then, based on how the police said you did on the roadside tests (remember, they are designed for you to fail), was there enough information to arrest you? Teaser – this is important in my next blog post. The police need probable cause to arrest you. That is more proof than reasonable suspicion, but again you don’t have to be guilty to get arrested.

Next, were the breath or blood tests done correctly? I do look carefully at these, but they are the hardest part of the case to attack. The breath test is automated with many checks, and the blood is analyzed by crime labs that try to be very accurate.

Finally, I look at whether your case has “jury appeal.” There are instances where something will play well to a jury and, even if you are technically guilty, could result in a not guilty verdict.

That’s a lot, but not all. DUI cases have many parts, not the least in including the implications on your driver license and insurance. Whatever we decide to do, all aspects of the case need to be considered.

DUI From the Perspective of an Attorney

To be basic, most parts of a DUI case are handled between your attorney and the prosecutor. Assuming you have hired an attorney experienced in DUI law; both he and the prosecutor know the ins and outs of how the law applies to your case. If I can’t get a prosecutor to see things my way (and often they are not allowed to do things they personally think would be right – they have a boss too), I look to filing a pretrial motion to be heard by a judge.

There are a number of reasons to file motions. Maybe I think I can win, maybe I think the prosecutor just won’t want to fight it, and maybe there is another reason. In the big picture, this pretrial stage is where most cases are finalized. If you are actually guilty and I can get an agreement to charge less than a DUI, I have usually saved you more money than it would have cost you in the long run.

Finally, maybe it is one of the few cases that actually go to trial. Unless everyone agrees, you get a jury trial. It will only last 1 or 2 days, and a jury is 6 people who would rather not be there and don’t care about you personally. It is cold. The police officer will most likely be a trained, rehearsed, and polished witness. The lab person will be educated, rehearsed, and very convincing.

If there is an issue with the scientific evidence, there are former lab people who have a business testifying to what may be amiss – they are actually real good, though they will agree with the police lab people if the evidence is correct. Then there is you if you testify. If the facts are lined up against you, the “but I’m a nice person” defense doesn’t work. Trust your lawyer. If he thinks you will lose, you will probably lose. If he says you will lose and there is some deal less than a DUI conviction offered, take it. Personally, I don’t give up without a fight, but I have to consider when it is best to settle a case.

DUI From the Perspective of an Attorney

So…what should you do if you are stopped and you may be impaired? Here is my advice, though I have talked to other lawyers who give somewhat different advice at certain points. First, stay calm and shut up. Give the officer what he asks for – license, registration, whatever – and shut up. If he tells you to get out of the car, get out and stand where he tells you to, and shut up. If he asks to check your eyes, say nothing. Don’t do it. Don’t give him ammunition to arrest you with. If he asks you to do some balance tests, say nothing. Don’t do them.

If he arrests you, do exactly what he says, and shut up. When they ask you to do a breath or blood test do it. I know this sounds odd, but the punishment for refusing is worse than the punishment for failing, and they will just get a warrant to take your blood anyway. Oh, and shut up. If they read you your right (you know…you have the right to remain silent, etc.) and ask if you will answer questions, shake your head no. And shut up. Did I mention shut up? I’ve never got in trouble for something I didn’t say.

The goal in all this is to give the police as little evidence as you can that may be used against you. It gives me the best chance to get the best outcome for you.

Next installment will be a first-hand experience of being arrested for DUI when I wasn’t. Next in this series : DUI From the Perspective of a Driver.

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-an-attorney

DUI From the Perspective of an Attorney

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

dui-from-the-perspective-of-a-police-officer

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.

dui-a-series-from-different-perspectives

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

DUI A Series From Different Perspectives