The Law and Science of Extreme DUI Defenses in Chandler, AZ

by Aaron Black • March 20, 2018
Zero tolernance for drinking and driving in ArizonaPolice in Chandler Arizona are aggressive in hunting down impaired drivers and upholding our state’s “zero tolerance” standard in prosecuting offenders. But don’t roll over and accept fate if you see flashing red lights in the rearview mirror. There’s too much to lose.

A conviction means trouble getting a job or even renting an apartment in a decent neighborhood, as well as criminal penalties and a criminal conviction that follows you.

Penalties for Extreme DUI

An extreme DUI, driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .015 to .020, is a class one misdemeanor. The sentence for a first conviction is a minimum of 30 straight days in county jail, which can be reduced, fines that can total $2,750, driver’s license suspension for at least 90 days, and an ignition interlock device on the vehicle for one year. Penalties may also include community service, alcohol and drug education class, and up to five years of probation.

A second extreme DUI conviction has even harsher penalties including a one-year revocation of your driver’s license and six months in county jail. A conviction for finding marijuana traces, even if you have a medical marijuana card, can also result in a DUI conviction.

Available Defenses to Extreme DUI

The state’s evidence helps determine the best defense strategy to present. My job is to establish reasonable doubt in jurors’ minds or negotiate a plea agreement that is beneficial to my client.

These are examples of some extreme DUI defenses:
  • The traffic stop was illegal. The officer did not have reasonable suspicion, which is no legal reason to stop the vehicle. A burned out tail light or expired registration are reasons for a legitimate traffic stop.
     
  • Improper field sobriety test. The test was improperly administered. Judgment of eye movements indicating intoxication was incorrect.
     
  • Inaccurate field and later breath analyzer tests. The machine’s calibration was inaccurate, or the test was administered improperly.
     
  • Blood sample contamination. The administration of the blood test was done improperly, or the custodian of the blood did not correctly store the sample, or it was contaminated.
     
  • A rising concentration of alcohol happened after the traffic stop. Alcohol was not fully absorbed until after the arrest, so it increased as time passed before the test was given.
Also, I know to ask for a Motor Vehicle Division administrative hearing or summary review within 15 days, usually starting at the date of the arrest. Defendants not promptly represented by an attorney likely will not know to request this administrative law step in the case. This can harm the defense.

Science as a Potential Defense

Prosecutors will not like this evidence in a jury trial, but I have learned in my years of defending extreme DUI cases that people absorb alcohol at different rates depending on body weight, body fat, metabolism, tolerance to alcohol and if a person has eaten or not before drinking. These factors can impact DUI tests.

Carbonated alcoholic drinks such as champagne and cola increase the absorption of alcohol and intoxication is reduced. Genetics make a difference, too. Enzymes break down alcohol quickly, and people become sober more quickly, but the proficiency of the enzymes vary from person to person.

Women are more affected by alcohol than men, as well a rookie drinker will be more affected than a veteran drinker. An overweight person can be more affected because these people will have fewer fluids in their system, so alcohol concentrates in the bloodstream.

A Defense Case on Point

In a recent extreme DUI case, I defended in Chandler’s San Marcos Justice Court the accused was looking at the mandatory 30 days in county jail, the year-long interlock on his car, and $2,700 in fines. Tests also found marijuana in his system, and he would have lost his driver’s license for a year because of a drug charge conviction.

Many of us know that Carboxy-THC stays in the system for weeks without causing impairment. However, holders of Arizona’s medical marijuana cards are not immune from prosecution for driving with active THC in their systems. In fact, the defense must prove that the defendant was not impaired.

Even though the tests are purported to be accurate to within five percent, plus or minus, according to the authorities, I negotiated a reduced charge, omitting the extreme allegation by my thorough investigation of the evidence and aggressive, committed lawyering. My client only spent one day in jail, interlock off in half the time, and a fine reduced to $1,500. I was able to get the marijuana charge dismissed despite the accuracy of the tests. He can still drive to work.

What Not to Do When Stopped by Police

Chandler police are known to take advantage of people who are unfamiliar with the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting self-incrimination. They ask questions. “Have you been drinking tonight? How much? Do you have a medical marijuana card?"

Do not answer questions. Politely invoke your legal right to remain silent. This non-answer is your first line of defense. If you say anything, it becomes evidence used by the prosecution and can damage your case.

Besides, the officer had been watching you before the red lights began flashing and anything you said will be coupled with the officer’s observations and the coordination tests the officer administered to form the basis of an arrest.

There’s simply no reason to talk. And lying only makes trouble.

Don’t Wait to Get My Free Legal Advice

Do not take chances with your future! For a free consultation make an appointment today by contacting DUI Defense Attorney Aaron Black or by call 480-729-1683. I will review the facts of the case, outline your options and work hard for you if you choose to let me defend your freedom. Click here for more Extreme DUI answers.