2022 Holiday Season’s DUI Patrols and Checkpoints in Phoenix and Scottsdale

by Aaron M. Black • December 15, 2022

The December holidays are the most wonderful time of the year but…

DUI Traffic StopNew Year’s Eve sees the most DUI arrests than any other holiday and a significant number of these arrests are felonies that can ruin lives far into the future – if convicted. Law enforcement will be sending out more patrols and establishing DUI checkpoints all around the valley and our state.

A 2021 Arizona-wide task force, comprised of nearly 90 law enforcement agencies, trained 1,800 officers to participate in the December holiday season and they made nearly 2,000 DUI arrests by the end of December.

These tactics are effective.

Holiday statistics from 2021 show that 1,963 drivers were arrested during December, which was an increase of 13 percent from December 2020, reported the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

Those arrested included 512 drivers who tested at extreme DUI levels with a blood-alcohol concentration of (BAC) 0.15 percent, compared to 378 drivers who tested at that BAC level in 2020.

Drivers tested for drug impairment decreased from 612 in 2020 to 582 in 2021.
 

Roving patrols and checkpoints

DUI Checkpoint SignPolice agencies in greater Phoenix, Scottsdale and throughout Arizona will increase the number of traffic officers for the holidays, particularly New Year’s Eve, and one of the tactics they use is patrolling areas where bars are located, watching for patrons who are impaired leaving the establishment.

Officers trained to detect impairment by drugs will also be part of the holiday enforcement.

Police must have a valid legal reason to conduct a traffic stop, such as weaving or making wide turns, driving too fast or too slowly, even driving with a burned out brake light bulb, or some other infraction that provides the necessary probable cause or reasonable suspicion to detain a driver.

Authorities will also establish sobriety checkpoints at various locations, which are sometimes announced. Officers will randomly detain drivers looking for evidence of impairment to the “slightest degree.” They will look into the car and can check the person’s license to drive for suspension, revocation or even expired licenses.

However, sobriety checkpoint officers do not need probable cause or reasonable suspicion to detain a driver because officers randomly choose what vehicles to stop. The U.S. Supreme Court decided that these checkpoints do not violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects us from unlawful searches and seizures.

But it is crucial that you decline to answer any questions because anything you say will be used against you and may hamper your defense. You have the Conditional right to remain silent and to have an attorney with you during questioning.

 

Slightly impaired policy

Drinking, Driving & AZ DUI CourtThe baseline DUI BAC level is 0.08. However, Arizona is a no-tolerance state so drivers who are “slightly impaired" can be arrested with a BAC lower than the baseline and will be charged with a DUI. This law also applies to illicit and prescription drugs, including medical marijuana. This law is part of Arizona’s zero tolerance policy.

Determining if a person is impaired to the slightest degree is the decision of the officer conducting the stop based upon the officer’s training and experience. Slight impairment can be different from person to person because of an individual’s metabolism.

 

Levels of DUI and OUI charges

The baseline of 0.08 percent blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor, the most serious of the misdemeanor offenses. The felony range begins at a BAC of 0.15. An extreme DUI begins at 0.20 and more than 0.20 BAC is a super extreme DUI. The felony range carries much more serious jail time and more expensive fines.

 

Punishments if convicted of a misdemeanor DUI

A first-time Class 1 misdemeanor DUI conviction requires spending time in county jail up to a maximum of six months and a minimum of 10 days. However, the time in custody can be as short as one day with the other nine days suspended.

The license to drive is suspended for 30 days, followed by a restricted license for traveling to work or school for 60 days before the license can be reinstated at the defendant’s expense.

Fines total $1,250, and the courts order installing an interlocking ignition device, which detects alcohol on the breath preventing the engine to start, at your own expense. The court also will order you to complete an alcohol screening, education and treatment program at your expense. Serving time in service to the community may also be part of the punishment.
 

Penalties for a Class 6 felony DUI

The penalties for a Class 6 felony DUI, the least serious in the felony class, is a year in state prison, substantial fines, and a criminal record that will follow the person for life and prevent the person from the right to own and processes a firearm, the right to vote, and trouble finding employment and renting an apartment.

A Class 6 felony is charged for a DUI while driving with a child in a vehicle under the age of 15.

Should an impaired holiday celebrant cause property damage or injure or kill someone, prosecutors can file other serious charges, such as manslaughter, and the victim’s survivors can sue for wrongful death and financial damages in civil court.

 

DUI defenses

These are common DUI defenses:
 
  • The arresting officer did not have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop you.
     
  • The field sobriety test was not performed correctly.
     
  • The breathalyzer test result was inaccurate because the device was out of calibration.
     
  • The blood test is invalid because the sample was tainted
     
  • The arresting officer failed to recite the Miranda rights advising you that you have the right to not answer any of the officer’s questions and the right to have an attorney present during questioning.

     
5th Amendment - The right to remain silent
 

Aaron M. Black Law for DUI defense

Should you or a loved one be charged or are under investigation for a DUI, it is imperative that you have an experienced DUI defense attorney such as myself to defend you. In my extensive career as an aggressive DUI defense attorney, I know that good people can find themselves in legal trouble, and that is why I work to build the best defense possible. My goal is always to win a dismissal of the charge.

To do that, I will scrutinize the state’s evidence and the personnel records of the investigators involved looking for inconsistencies, omissions, and errors. I also will work to develop information and evidence that is favorable to your case.

At Aaron M. Black Law, you will receive personalized legal services and encouragement. You will always talk directly to me at every step of your case.

Begin your DUI defense immediately by calling 480-729-1683 at any time, on any day, and I will respond promptly unless I am in court or at trial. Or use the online contact form on my website.

I defend DUI cases in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and throughout Arizona, including Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai, and Coconino County Superior Courts.
 
 

About the Author

Aaron Black is the founder and sole attorney of the Law Office of Aaron Black. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, his DUI and criminal defense law firm provides legal services to people who have received felony or misdemeanor charges from the state.

Aaron has developed a strong interest in defending people who have been arrested and received criminal charges for driving under the influence. With his professionalism and knowledge of Arizona DUI and criminal law, he has acted as a check and balance on the police, prosecution and courts and has protected a great number of his clients from excessive and unfair sentencing.

Along with DUI defense, Aaron handles a range of other criminal defense matters, including aggravated assault, burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud defense, insurance fraud, sex crimes, and white-collar crime cases.

After graduating college in 2003 from the University of Arizona, Aaron decided to pursue a law degree. He followed a family long tradition and went to the University of South Dakota School of Law where he pursued his goal of becoming a criminal defense lawyer.

After passing the Arizona and South Dakota bar exams, Aaron joined the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender where he defended hundreds of people charged with serious criminal offenses. His work as a public defender helped him sharpen his litigation skills and gave him a unique insight into the Arizona criminal justice system.

Over the course of his 15-year legal career, Aaron has spent a considerable amount of time in both Arizona justice, municipal, state and federal courts. He has argued over 50 jury trials, tried over 100 bench trials and has become one of the highest-rated criminal and DUI defense attorneys in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. He has received a 10/10 rating from the legal directory Avvo because of his legal background and successful case record. Since 2014, he has received the Super Lawyer rating for his work as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.

You can review Aaron’s Attorney Bio page for more information about his background, education and experience as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.
In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to inform clients and potential clients I am still available for consultations. I am always available by phone, text and/or email. We can also use Facetime for social distancing. The criminal justice system is not stopping due to COVID-19.

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