Arizona DUI Rates Are Dropping – Strict Laws Are Working

Arizona has always been tough on drunk driving. In fact, in the past decade alone, it enacted laws that are even tougher on violators of its DUI laws. These efforts seem to be paying off because for the third consecutive year, there has been a marked decrease in DUI arrests.

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The Office of Highway Safety of Arizona reports that in 2015, there were 24,674 DUI arrests made. This was down from the 29,950 arrests during the previous year, and it is much lower than the 31,891 and 32,174 DUI arrests in 2013 and 2012, respectively.

Extreme DUI cases likewise dropped. In 2015, 6,742 arrests were recorded, which is lower than the 8,414 arrests made in 2014.

Although statistics show a drop in the number of arrests in 2015, average BAC readings went up. It went up from .152 in 2014 to .158 in 2015.

Changes to the Arizona DUI Laws in 2008

Beginning in September 2008, the state has the capability to look at past DUI records from 7 years back when determining sentencing. Before, only the records from the previous 5 years were available. For past offenders, defending a DUI case has become tougher.

Because of the changes to the law, judges can no longer suspend a portion of the jail term for offenders convicted of super extreme DUI or extreme DUI. There is likewise no exception for first-time offenders.

There are also new mandatory minimums in place for offenders. Extreme DUI conviction now carries a minimum jail term of 30 days for the first offense. The second offense has a minimum of 120 days. For extreme DUIs, first offense carries a minimum jail term of 45 days, and 6 months for the second offense.

Alcohol screening is now necessary before a suspended license can be reinstated. The offender must also install an ignition interlock device for at least 1 year after the conviction.

Changes to the Arizona DUI Laws in 2012

The changes in the law implemented in 2012 are seen to be more forgiving than previous amendments, in particular, for first-time offenders.

Under the new laws, first-time convictions require only a 1-day jail term. An offender will also get credit for the time he spent during the booking process or while staying in a holding cell.

The judge can now allow an offender to serve only 20% of his jail time and spend the remaining 80% under a home detention program. Thus, if you have been sentenced to a 30-day jail term, you can now serve only 6 days in prison. You can spend the remaining 24 days under home detention, unless your county or city doesn’t have such a program.

Under the 2012 law changes, DUI charges have become ineligible for trials by jury. While some people say the move denies people their right to get a fair trial, the state believes it saves the state money that would otherwise be spent on prosecution.

Final Word

Because of the changes in Arizona’s DUI laws, it is best to work with a lawyer who is familiar with these changes. This way, he can help you explore all the possible options to get the best outcome possible. Call the Law Offices of Gary L Rohlwing for more information and help.

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Tips to Avoid a DUI Conviction

A DUI conviction is not something you can take lightly, especially in Arizona! It carries hefty fines and a possible jail term.

If you are in a situation where you cannot avoid drinking, make sure your BAC remains within the legal limits. When drinking, keep the following in mind:

  1. Typical drinks like wine, beer, and spirits contain the same volume of pure alcohol. Thus, a breathalyzer will treat them the same way.
  2. Breathalyzers are not 100% accurate. Thus, it would be wise to keep your blood alcohol way below the legal threshold.
  3. Get an alcohol breath tester for your personal use. It may even be less reliable than what police officers use. Thus, it may motivate you to stay well within the allowable limit.
  4. Bear in mind that even if you have stopped drinking, your BAC will still continue to rise.
  5. Once your BAC peaks, it will drop by around .015 after an hour. A .05 BAC takes around 3 1/3 hours to drop to a 0 reading, and a .08 BAC takes around 5 1/3 hours.
  6. Munch on some food from time to time while you are drinking.
  7. If you are at a party or gathering, delay taking your first alcoholic beverage for as long as you can.
  8. Pace your drinks. Having one alcoholic drink every 1 ½ hours will help keep your BAC at low levels.
  9. Take non-alcoholic beverages in-between alcoholic drinks.
  10. Instead of gulping down your drinks, sip and savor them.
  11. Avoid playing drinking games with your friends. You may lose track of how much you have been drinking when you are having the time of your life!
  12. Stay away from punches, as well as drinks that come in unusual shapes or sizes of containers. It is often difficult to tell their alcohol content. It will be hard for you to pace your drinks.
  13. Avoid getting pulled over. This is because even if you have legal BAC, the officer may still charge you with a DUI. One way to do this is to make sure your vehicle is in good running condition. Likewise, make sure your tail lights are good. Otherwise, you may be giving an invitation to the police to pull you over. Make the proper signal when you are about to change lanes, and obey traffic rules. But, if you still get pulled over, just be polite when talking to the officer.
  14. This last tip is foolproof. Do not drink, or let a designated driver take you home.

By following the tips provided in this post, you can avoid a stressful DUI conviction, and all the expenses and inconveniences that come with it. But, if you are already facing a felony charge, your best move would be to hire a reputable lawyer.

Call the Law Offices of Gary L. Rohlwing for a consultation. Atty. Rohlwing has extensive experience in handling DUI cases in Arizona. He will help you get the best possible outcome for your particular case.

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Car Accident with an Uninsured Driver

This might be surprising, but studies show that 1 out of 8 drivers do not have auto insurance. A lot of states require a mandatory insurance policy, but this is not strictly followed.

In the event you get into an accident with a driver without insurance, here are some tips as provided by the Law Offices of Gary L. Rohlwing:

Call the police

Contacting the authorities in the case of a car accident is a standard operating procedure already. However, the role of the police is more important when you’re dealing with an uninsured driver. The police will conduct the investigation and do the documentation for you. This will make the process of claiming process easier and faster.

It is also important to tell the officer the other driver does not have an insurance policy. This should be included in their report.

Do not compromise

Accepting money right away might not be the best idea. It is best to first assess the damage of your car. In some jurisdictions, accepting money from the uninsured driver may preclude one from claiming from their own policy.

Get the information of the uninsured driver

This is perhaps the most important step when dealing with an uninsured driver. Get the name, address, contact number, and even the office address and office number of the uninsured driver.

Get information of the witnesses or bystanders

Aside from the information of the uninsured driver, getting the contact  details of witnesses is also important. Their testimonies will help as proof and evidence for a claim with your own insurance policy.

Take pictures

Take pictures of the accident. Proper documentation is key. Also, take a photo and note the color, model and license plate of the other car. The location of the accident is also essential. Take note of the direction the cars were going. If there are any skid marks, take a photo of those as well. Destruction to other property caused by the accident can also be photographed.

Aside from the aforementioned, it is also pertinent to get Uninsured Motorist Coverage in your policy. This clause is an optional coverage in a lot of states. However, it is still a handy addition to your coverage, because as mentioned above, there are still a lot of drivers out there who are not insured.

With this optional coverage, the insurance policy will cover all the expenses incurred, such as medical expenses for bodily harm and repair expenses for damaged property. It is best to consult with a lawyer before filing the claim with your insurance company. The lawyer will be of great help when processing documentation from the police and the hospital. The lawyer will also better assess the indemnity recoverable from the driver-at-fault.

Another option is to take the case to court. Lawyers, such as those from the Law Offices of Gary L. Rohlwing, would advise filing a personal injury suit against the driver at fault. However, this may take a lot of time and money. It is therefore important to first consult with a lawyer before pressing charges.

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Different Types of Defense Your Criminal Attorney Can Use to Win Your Case

The law provides a myriad of strategies and defenses available to the accused. It is the job of the criminal defense lawyer, like those in the Law Offices of Gary L. Rohlwing, to discover and select the best one depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.

In all jurisdictions, an accused is innocent until proven guilty. Proof beyond reasonable doubt is needed to tilt the scales of justice against the accused. To sustain a guilty conviction, there must be moral certainty on the part of the judge and the jury that the accused committed the act and that it amounts to a crime. The following are some of the tactics and strategies available to the accused:

Self-defense or defense of others

Self-defense is an affirmative defense to justify the acts of the accused’s use of force against another. This is also known as the castle doctrine.

Self-defense can be availed of when there is real and imminent danger on the person or property of a person or his relative or a third person.

Doctrine of necessity

As the name itself would imply, the doctrine of necessity is invoked when the accused committed the act in order to avoid a greater harm. However, it must be proven by the defense that there was indeed a necessity for the act.

Double jeopardy

Another criminal law principle that is recognized in a lot of jurisdictions is the principle of double jeopardy. This principle provides that a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime. This principle is often enshrined in a country’s constitution or a statute. It prevents the State, with its unlimited resources, from pursuing the accused relentlessly.

Statute of limitations

The statute of limitations, on the other hand, dwells on the “prescriptive periods” of crimes. This criminal law doctrine provides that an accused can no longer be prosecuted after a certain number of years.

However, certain crimes do not have prescriptive periods, which means that an action may be filed against an accused no matter how many years have passed since its commission. An example of which is murder.

Mistake of fact

In criminal law, there are two types of mistakes that can be committed: mistake of law and mistake of fact. A mistake of law cannot be used as a defense because of the maxim “ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith.” Meanwhile, mistake of fact can be used as a defense. For example, theft of an item the accused believes to be his is not considered as theft.

Violation of the rights of the accused

A violation of the rights of the accused can be a cause for the dismissal of the case. Police misconduct or a mishandling during custodial investigation, or any part for that matter, can be a cause for the dismissal. Examples of police misconduct include tampering and faking of evidence, coercing of witnesses, and using excessive force on the accused.

These are just a few of the many defenses available to the accused. Lawyers like those in the Law Offices of Gary L. Rohlwing are more than capable to assist in such matters.

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What Are Miranda Rights and How Do They Apply?

Miranda rights are those rights recited to suspects before they are arrested. The main purpose of these rights is to properly notify the accused of his arrest and to inform him about the admissibility of evidence that will be gathered afterwards. Knowing and understanding the Miranda rights are essential in every criminal case. Criminal defense lawyers, such as those from the Law Offices of Gary L. Rohlwing, are the perfect people to consult regarding such matters.

The Miranda rights are named after the case where such rights were first enunciated – Miranda v. Arizona. However, these rights are actually enshrined in the Fifth Amendment. The following are some of the rights customarily recited by police officers and other peacekeeping officials:

  1. You have the right to remain silent.
  2. Anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law (right against self-incrimination).
  3. You have the right to an attorney  to be present before and after the questioning (right to counsel).
  4. If you cannot afford an attorney, we can provide one for you.

The Miranda rights should be recited to the suspect in a language known to him. The words should also be simple and clear for easy understanding. It is also essential that the police officer asks the accused if he or she understands the aforementioned rights. The police should then ask if the accused is ready to talk to them after knowing said rights.

It is important to note these rights only arise when the accused is taken into custodial interrogation or custodial investigation. During this phase, the investigation of the police becomes accusatorial. The line of questioning of the police is no longer general but focuses on a particular suspect.

To reiterate, the Miranda rights come into play in determining the admissibility of evidence, particularly testimonial evidence. For the Fifth Amendment to be invoked in a criminal proceeding, the following requisites must be present:

  1. The evidence must be gathered.
  2. The evidence must be testimonial in nature.
  3. The evidence must have been obtained during custodial interrogation or custodial investigation.
  4. The evidence must have been obtained through questioning or interrogation.
  5. The evidence must have been gathered by police or other state agents.
  6. The evidence must be presented and offered during criminal proceedings.

If all the requisites are present, the Fifth Amendment can be invoked, unless it is shown that the Miranda rights were properly read and/or recited to the accused.

It is also important to note there are certain exceptions to the Miranda rights. It is not always imperative that the Miranda warning be read to every accused. Under the American jurisdiction, the following are some of the exceptions:

  1. Jailhouse informant search
  2. Routine booking questioning
  3. Public safety exception

To question the admissibility of testimonial evidence that is in violation of the Miranda rights, criminal defense lawyers, such as those from the Law Offices of Gary L. Rohlwing, must file a motion in writing stating the facts and legal grounds as to why said testimonial evidence must be excluded or suppressed. The said motion must be filed before the court trying the case and served against the State.

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