Happy Fourth Celebrations, Fireworks… and DUI Enforcement

by Aaron M. Black • June 29, 2023

Independence Day fireworks displays and various celebrations across the valley attract thousands of people to the downtown areas of Phoenix, Mesa, and Tempe. But some people will make a bad choice and decide to drive home or to the next event after drinking or using drugs. That is when the party comes with a price.

4th of July Celebration With Jets

The number of DUI arrests in 2022 decreased slightly over the previous year, reported 12 News. Law enforcement arrested 419 drivers, with only 29 fewer arrests. Aggravated DUI arrests reached 81. Other statistics include 338 misdemeanor DUIs; 112 drug DUIs, and 8,952 traffic stops.

DUI trained officers from municipal police departments, county sheriffs, highway patrol, and the U.S. Coast Guard combine to stop drivers suspected of driving impaired.
Events, parties, and family gatherings all mean getting home afterward. Authorities know this and plan to marshal a force to curtail holiday imbibing in several ways.

Sobriety Checkpoints

DUI Checkpoint SignAuthorities during holidays routinely set up sobriety checkpoints to deter people from drinking and driving. Checkpoint officers randomly stop drivers to determine if alcohol impairment is suspected. These checkpoints are often established around a curve so drivers cannot see them until it is too late.

Drivers who see the checkpoint and abruptly turn around to avoid it only bring suspicion on themselves. There is an officer parked out of sight to see the evasive move and make a traffic stop based on the officer’s reasonable suspicion.

The checkpoints do not violate the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protecting us from illegal searches and seizures of property. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1990 ruled in a 6-3 vote that sobriety checkpoints are legal because they are random.

More Rolling Stops

These are routinely used on holidays and regular days too. A traffic officer who witnesses a driver weaving or making a wide turn or some other indication of impairment has the necessary probable cause to make a traffic stop. Even an equipment violation, such as a license plate that is not illuminated, is probable cause or reasonable suspicion for detaining the vehicle’s driver.

At these stops, the driver will be asked to submit to a field sobriety test (eye test, walk and turn, balance on one leg).

Field Sobriety Test for DUI

You are never required to complete these field sobriety tests.

  1. Always respectfully request a lawyer and refuse the tests.  You have the power to refuse them and you should. Sober people fail these tests.
  2. The officer will then ask for you to blow in to a PBT (preliminary/portable breath test). You have the power to refuse this too, and you should. The officer will ultimately arrest you based on driving, odor of alcohol, bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech.
  3. Back at the station or DUI van you must again request to speak with an attorney. At this point, you should be provided your phone, or a phonebook and police phone. Take the time to try and call someone. Call Aaron Black 480-729-1683.
  4.  After your phone call, you will be asked to submit to a breath or blood test. This is called Admin Per Se/Implied Consent. You should consent to the test at this point or else your license will be suspended for one year.
  5. When released from custody you should immediately obtain your own independent blood sample from the hospital.
On Tuesday's Fourth of July and the previous weekend, police agencies throughout Arizona increase the number of officers who patrol the roads and highways, as well as entertainment and bar business areas. They also patrol Arizona’s lakes and rivers.

Celebrating 4th of July on the waterArizona’s Lakes and Rivers Patrolled

Holidays are perfect for boating to celebrate the Fourth, but law enforcement comprised of county sheriff’s deputies, the State Park Department, and Arizona’s Game and Fish officers will be looking for DUI offenders. The U.S. Coast Guard and federal officers are assigned to oversee Lake Havasu, and Arizona’s park rangers will be patrolling our 27 state parks.
Law enforcement in the greater Phoenix area will again have a strong presence at Apache Lake, Bartlett Lake, Canyon Lake, City Urban Lakes, Lake Pleasant, Saguaro Lake, and Tempe Town Lake.

Water Going Operators Face an OUI

Boat operators can be charged with an OUI, which is operating or in actual physical control of a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, under Arizona Revised Statute §5-395.

A boat operator can be detained if a passenger was seen riding on the gunwales or on a covered or closed bow while the craft was moving at a speed fast enough to cause a wake, speeding, or moving at a speed that is unsafe for the conditions. Boaters having a wanton or willful disregard for people or property, failing to wear a life jacket or some other required safety equipment will also draw scrutiny. If the boat registration has expired or if the craft is not legally registered will also be checked and can be the prelude to an OUI.
OUI conviction has the same penalties as a DUI charge.

First-time DUI Punishments

Arizona has a long-standing impaired driving policy of no tolerance, and punishments are strict. A first-time DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor conviction that is punished by a maximum of six months and a minimum of 10 days in jail. However, the time in custody can be as short as one day, with the other nine days suspended. The catch is that the convicted defendant needs to pay for and successfully finish an alcohol abuse class. Home detention may be possible after serving one day in jail.

Previous DUI Conviction

Drivers who are arrested and have had a previous DUI will be facing even more punishment if convicted.

Those who have a previous DUI on their record have more to lose as repeat offenders will get a minimum of 30 days in jail, court fees and fines reaching $3,000, a year-long suspension of the license to drive, installation of an interlocking device that prevents starting a vehicle if the driver has alcohol on the breath, and they must submit to drug screening and court ordered education and treatment programs.

Aaron M. Black Law for DUI Defense

The law provides several defenses for DUI charges.

Should you or a loved one be charged or are under investigation for a holiday DUI offense it is imperative that you be represented by an experienced DUI defense attorney such as myself. In my long career as an aggressive DUI defense attorney, I know that good people can find themselves in legal trouble, so I work hard to ensure they have the best defense possible.

I will scrutinize the state’s evidence and the personnel records of the investigators involved looking for inconsistencies 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. You will always be talking directly to me, never an assistant, at every step of your case.

Begin your DUI defense immediately by calling 480-729-1683, which is available 24/7, 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 charges throughout Arizona, including Phoenix & Scottsdale, Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai, and Coconino County Superior Courts.

About the Author

Aaron Black Phoenix DUI LawyerAaron 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 Attorney 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.
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