dui charge under 21 in Arizona

Underage DUI in Arizona (Charged while Under 21): Zero Tolerance

The state of Arizona has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage DUI (underage drinking and driving), and that policy means that if you are caught drinking and driving, regardless of how low your blood alcohol concentration level may be, you will be charged with a DUI in Arizona. But what else does this mean? Well for one, it also means you will face criminal charges if found guilty of drinking and driving if you are under the legal drinking age of 21 in Arizona.

Let’s Discuss Arizona’s Zero Tolerance policy, what it means if you’ve been caught drinking and driving underage, and what Arja Shah can do to help.

Penalties for Underage DUI – Drinking and Driving in Arizona

Unfortunately for some underage drivers who are caught drinking and driving — even those who may have only had a glass of champagne to celebrate a friend’s college graduation — those who are found to be in actual physical control of the vehicle will face severe penalties for drinking and driving underage in Arizona.

According to Arizona Revised Statute ARS 4-244 (34), underage driving under the influence comes with some hefty penalties and fines.

To begin, even if your blood alcohol concentration barely registered on the breathalyzer, you will face the same consequences as an of-age driver found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or greater.

For first offenses of underage driving, you can expect the following penalties:

  • Suspension of your driver’s license for two years
  • Up to $500 in court fees and other fines
  • Court-ordered education on substance abuse
  • Regular drug and alcohol screening
  • Court-mandated drug and alcohol counseling
  • Community service as ordered by the judge in your case

Click to Learn More About Underage DUI Charges in Arizona…

diseases that cause a high BAC

Can Medical Conditions Affect BAC Readings? False DUI Arrest

Contrary to what many people are aware of, there are a variety of medical conditions that can cause your BAC level to register higher than it really is, or register falsely — as well as a host of different medications, both over the counter and prescribed. And, in addition to that, there are other factors, such as in some people, an intolerance to the minute amount of alcohol found within some medications, both prescriptions and otherwise.

Let’s discuss some of the factors and medical conditions that can cause you to have higher-than-normal and even false BAC readings.

Medical Conditions that Affect Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Levels

Acid reflux

Acid reflux is the process by which your body pushes up acids from within the stomach and from around the stomach lining up into the back of your throat. Unfortunately, in some instances, these acids do contain alcoholic content, and while it is not the same kind of alcohol you would drink at a bar or party, it nonetheless has the ability to make you fail a breathalyzer test because it can contain enough ethanol to fool the breathalyzer into showing you have imbibed alcohol, even when you have not.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause you to fail a DUI breathalyzer test because this illness causes alcohol derived naturally from your body to pool within the large intestine and stomach, and from there it is pushed into the back of your mouth. This natural alcohol, which can cause tremendous pain for the sufferer, as it sits in the back of your mouth and throat, will make a breathalyzer result inaccurate and is in no way an indicator that you have been drinking or that your ability to drive is in any way impaired.
Click to Learn More about the medical conditions that can cause a DUI charge…

Actual physical control in Arizona

What does Actual Physical Control Mean when Arrested for DUI?

According to the Arizona DUI laws, the term, “actual physical control” refers to the person who was driving the car at the time it was pulled over by police or other authorities, but actual physical control goes a good deal deeper than just being the person behind the wheel of the motor vehicle — it is also determined based on a couple of other factors, the most important among these being whether the vehicle was running, whether the ignition was on, where the keys to the car were located at the time of the incident, and in what position the driver was found at the actual time of the incident.

All of the following factors of actual physical control can be used as a strong defense by your DUI attorney to help get your charges reduced or even dismissed completely.

Other Factors That Determine Actual Physical Control

What’s more, actual physical control also makes reference to a list of other factors, including:

  • Whether the driver was awake or asleep
  • Whether or not the vehicle’s headlights were on (or off)
  • Whether or not the vehicle was stopped, be it legally parked or on the side of the road, or someplace else
  • Whether or not the driver had successfully pulled over in a voluntary manner (to the side of the road)
  • What the time of day was, and what impact this may have had on other factors listed above
  • Whether or not the air conditioning or heater was on
  • Whether the windows of the vehicle were up or down
  • What the weather conditions were at the time of the incident

Finally, another important factor for the authorities who are making the determination of who is in actual physical control of the vehicle at the time of the incident will be the explanation of the above circumstances. These will be part of what would be discussed in a court of law if the case ever goes before an Arizona judge.

As is reported in advance of a court hearing, what is said by the person in actual physical control of the vehicle will be important, and authorities will notate it in preparation for court.
Click to Learn More about actual physical control and what it means for you…

bench warrant for failure to appear in court in Arizona

How to Clear an Arizona Bench Warrant for Failure to Appear in Court

Some defense lawyers in Phoenix might suggest that the defense against a failure to appear charge in the state of Arizona are relatively limited due to the fact that in almost all instances, the defendant knowingly missed his or her court date — and proving otherwise can be pretty difficult to do — especially if you don’t have the right defense attorney. With that said, however, there can in some instances absolutely be extenuating circumstances outside of the control of a defendant, such as a car accident, the hospitalization of the defendant or his or her spouse or child, and so on.

But even in instances where the reasons for missing a court date are valid, you will still have to go to court — now, for the original reason you were supposed to appear, as well as to explain to the court why you were absent on the day of your original court date. As long as you received the proper notice of your court date and failed to appear, the judge will want to hear why, and if possible, see proof of the reasons you give to the court for missing your original date.

In instances where a bench warrant was filed due to your missed court date, you and your attorney do have the ability to file a motion to cancel the bench warrant and give your reasons for missing the original date. This process is called “filing a motion to quash a bench warrant for failure to appear,” and as long as the circumstances that made it virtually impossible or totally impossible for you to appear in court, most of the time, the judge will dismiss the charge and cancel the bench warrant, leaving you to only have to deal with the original charge or charges you were facing.

What Kind of Charge is a Failure to Appear in Court in Arizona?

In the state of Arizona, failure to appear in court can be either a felony or a misdemeanor charge depending on the circumstances. In circumstances where the defendant knowingly failed to appear in court when the original charge was a felony, a failure to appear in court will be considered a first degree failure to appear in court and deemed a Class 5 felony in accordance with Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-2507.

  • For this charge, you could face up to 1.5 years in jail and up to $150,000 in fines and fees.

In instances when your failure to appear in court was related to a petty offense (something for which there is no possible jail or prison time) or misdemeanor charge rather than a felony, you will be charged with a second degree failure to appear in court in accordance with Arizona Revised Statute 13-3903.

  • Second degree failure to appear in court is deemed a Class 2 misdemeanor, for which the maximum sentence is four months in facility that is not a prison along with a fine of no more than $750.

Click to Learn More about Arizona bench warrant laws for failure to appear in court…

Arizona manslaughter laws

How Can Manslaughter Charges Be Ruled Self-Defense in Arizona?

In the state of Arizona, the law allows you to fight — and even in some instances kill, if warranted — in an effort to protect yourself, your family, or other loved ones. With that said, proving that how you used physical force in the act of self-defense is a great deal more complicated than most people realize against manslaughter charges.

Other states in the US have similar laws, such as the popular “stand your ground” laws that explain to residents that suggest that someone would be justified in threatening to use — or actually using — physical force against another person to a reasonable extent when the first person believes it to be immediately necessary for the purposes of protecting him or herself and/or others.

In the state of Arizona, and according to ARS 13-411, citizens have no duty to retreat before making any threats of physical violence in most instances if you are in a situation or a place where you have the legal right to be, and you have not engaged in any illegal acts.

When You Can Legally Use Force, Even Deadly Force

In fact, here in Arizona, there are a variety of situations in which the use of physical force are entirely justified, not just self-defense. Physical force may also be used in the state of Arizona in an effort to thwart certain crimes, as well as to come to the physical defense of a third-party whom you may or may not know. Furthermore, when a justification defense is something you plan to use, the prosecution bears the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant in question did not act in a justified manner.

The statutes that protect you and allow you to use self-defense, and even to commit manslaughter in Arizona when justified are as follows:

  1. Arizona Revised Statute Section 14-404: Justification: Self-Defense
  2. Arizona Revised Statute Section 13-405 Justification: Use of Deadly Physical Force

Threatening or using force in self-defense, including deadly force, is justified when a reasonable person could believe that that force was immediately necessary to stay safe (protect yourself) from another person’s use — or attempted use — of illegal physical force.

Self-defense is NOT justified when:

  • The other person has only made a verbal threat
  • If you are resisting arrest from a law enforcement officer
  • If an innocent third-party was injured or killed as a result of your recklessness
  • If you were the person who initiated the provocation of the other person’s use of force, except when you were the one who withdrew first and clearly stated your intent to withdraw AND the other person continued to then use illegal physical force.

Click to Learn More about Arizona manslaughter laws…

Resisting arrest in Arizona: ARS 13-2508

What is Considered Resisting Arrest by Police in Arizona?

In Arizona, there is actually a statute that defines what it means to resist arrest — lawmakers did this to ensure there would be no confusion in the courtroom after an arrest has been made, as resisting arrest is often a charge that is added to, or that happens in addition to, other charges at the same time.

Arizona Revised Statute 13-2508: Resisting Arrest in the State of Arizona

According to Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-2508, resisting arrest in Arizona is defined as the act of intentionally preventing an arrest by either:

  1. Using or threatening to use physical force
  2. Creating substantial risk or physical injury
  3. Passively resisting an arrest through nonviolent physical means in a manner meant to impede, delay, or otherwise hinder an arrest

Passive Resistance of Arrest

Because it is one of the most common forms of resisting arrest today, and because peaceful resistance of arrest is known as a tool of protestors and others during the course of exercising their First Amendment right to free speech, it is important to understand passive resistance to arrest.

Passive resistance can mean more than one thing, but it is important to understand that the same rules for resisting arrest that apply to someone violently resisting through physical harm to authorities will also apply to someone who is peacefully resisting. And, in the courtroom, an Arizona judge is not likely to note the difference between a peaceful resistance and a physical revolt against arrest, with the only obvious difference — which would result in further charges — being resisting arrest in a violent manner that resulted in an injury or injuries to one or more police officers or other authorities.

A peaceful or nonviolent resistance to arrest can simply mean failure to act when told you are under arrest, refusing to put your hands behind your back, refusing to get out of your car or move from a specific physical space when an officer or other authority has commanded you to, or “dead weighting” your body in such a manner that arresting you and moving you from where you are on the street or another public space into a patrol car is exceedingly difficult for authorities.

ARS 13-2508 Includes Quite a Bit of Unclear Language

While Arizona law does have a specific statute for resisting arrest as noted above, Arizona Revised Statute 13-2508 is difficult to pin down, not only for officers and citizenry, but even for the courts and judges themselves. The statute contains a lot of room for interpretation — or misinterpretation — that makes it incredibly broad, far reaching, and frankly, that gives both the state and the person who allegedly resisted arrest a good amount of wiggle room.
Click to Learn More about Resisting Arrest in Arizona…

Shannon's Law illegally discharging a firearm in Arizona

Shannon’s Law & Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm in Arizona

Shannon’s Law is legislation that was passed in the state of Arizona that makes it illegal to discharge a firearm anywhere within the city limits of any city or town within the state of Arizona.

The law was passed in response to the 1999 gun-shooting tragedy that ended the life of Shannon Smith. As the story goes, Shannon Smith was casually walking around the back yard of her Central Phoenix home when suddenly, a bullet that had been fired into the air more than a mile away from her location struck her in the head and killed her.

Shannon Smith’s parents fought and won to create Shannon’s Law in a grassroots effort that included a veritable who’s who among Phoenix area prosecutors, politicians, area citizens, and law enforcement officials, among others, who wanted to see the legislative change that would restore peace in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, making it illegal to fire any type of gun or rifle into the air in an effort to avoid future tragedies such as the one that tragically took the life of Shannon Smith.

Known legally as Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-3107, enacted in 2000, Shannon’s Law makes it a felony for anyone, according to the law, “who, with criminal negligence discharges a firearm within or into the limits of any municipality” within the state of Arizona.

Not Every Discharge of a Firearm is a Felony in the State of Arizona

While it is true that Shannon’s Law makes it unlawful to discharge a firearm, it only does so when, according to the Shannon’s Law legislation, that person does so with criminal negligence, which may not always apply in every case. To prove this and obtain a misdemeanor charge instead of a felony charge, you may have to strike a plea bargain, but in the state of Arizona, these are relatively rare.

It’s important to understand that, because of the notoriety Shannon’s law received upon its passage, and because the law provides for mandatory sentencing, cases that fall under its purview are prosecuted with relative aggressiveness when compared to other, similar offenses within the state of Arizona, and especially within the Greater Phoenix Metro Area.

However, the important exceptions to Shannon’s Law that some people may not be aware of include shooting that occurs within supervised outdoor shooting ranges, areas where hunting is permitted, and select other designated areas in and around Phoenix and other parts of the state of Arizona.

Illegally discharging a firearm and understanding Shannon's Law in Phoenix
Click to Learn More about Shannon’s Law…

Order of protection violation in Arizona

Violation of a Restraining Order or Order of Protection in Arizona

Violating a restraining order in the state of Arizona is a serious charge that comes with serious repercussions, including fines, potential jail time, and even criminal charges. But before we discuss exactly what happens if you do violate an order of protection in Arizona, let’s first talk a little bit about what they are, what the implications are, and why you may have been ordered to stay away from a specific person or other entity in the state of Arizona.

What Exactly is a Restraining Order or Order of Protection in Arizona?

The state of Arizona defines a restraining order as an order of protection, offering protection from one individual to another against any potential acts of abuse of any kind, harassment, or other violations of the protection order holder’s rights and freedom of movement. Orders of protection are served to those defendants who the criminal court has decided could be a danger to the holder of the order of protection, and this could be simply based on that person’s fear of you or what you may do if the two of you come into contact.

Orders of protection can be served both to those who know one another well as well as to those who are strangers or virtual strangers to one another based upon the circumstances of the record of potential harassment. In Arizona, you can be served with an order of protection, an emergency order of protection, an injunction against harassment, or an injunction against workplace harassment — which one you are served with will depend on the circumstances surrounding the reasons for the order in the first place.

Who Can Have an Order of Protection Filed Against Them in Arizona?

This is an important question with a variety of disparate answers. In the state of Arizona, an order of protection can be served to any of the following people:

  • A current or former husband or wife (spouse or ex-spouse)
  • A person with whom you have lived, shared a household, been roommates, or cohabitated as an unmarried couple
  • Any person with whom you have had or currently have a romantic and/or sexual relationship as defined by Arizona law
  • A person who impregnated another person, or with whom you have a child or children in common
  • Any relative of any kind, including the relatives of a current or former husband or wife (spouse or ex-spouse’s relatives), including your own parents, grandparents, in-laws of any kind, or siblings and step siblings

Click to Learn More about order of protection violations in Arizona…

Arizona Dram Shop Liability Laws

Dram Shop Liability In Arizona ARS 4-311 (D)

According to Arizona Revise Statute (ARS 4-311 (D), any restaurants, bars, nightclubs, saloons, or any other places licensed to serve alcohol — known as dram shops — are liable for serving intoxicated patrons and/or minors under the following conditions:

  • Whether the establishment sold liquor or other spirits to any person who was clearly and obviously intoxicated
  • Whether or not that individual consumed all the alcohol that he or she purchased
  • Whether or not the consumption of the alcohol served by the dram shop was the proximate cause of any injuries, property damage, or other types of damages.

What It Means to Be Intoxicated Under Dram Shop Liability Laws in Arizona

In order for the tenets of ARS 4-311 (D) to be properly upheld, the definition of what it means to be intoxicated has to be legally established. For the purposes of this Arizona Revised Statute, intoxications is when any individual drinking — or ordering drinks at the dram shop — is inebriated to a point where the physical and mental impairment is obvious to those around that individual, including other patrons, bartenders, and servers, due to the fact that the intoxicated person is physically uncoordinated, is showing signs of serious physical dysfunction, and other signs, such as slurring speech.

It is under this definition of intoxication or inebriation that a dram shop could be held liable for any injuries or damages done when that dram shop continues to serve alcohol to the individual displaying these signs and symptoms.
Click to Learn More about Arizona Dram Shop Liability Law…

Commercial Driver DUI in Arizona attorney

DUI with CDL (Commercial Drivers License) in Arizona: What You Need to Know

If you are a commercial driver or professional trucker with a Class A commercial driver’s license in the state of Arizona, you already know, the rules regarding safety on the road apply in a more stringent manner to you because of the type of professional license you hold.

You can still obtain a Class A CDL in the state of Arizona if you have been previously convicted of a DUI, but only after you have completed the original license suspension before applying — or reapplying — for a new Arizona CDL. If you have not taken this vital step, any application you submit for a Class A CDL in Arizona will be rejected.

What Happens When You are Charged with a DUI While Driving a Commercial Vehicle

If you are caught driving a commercial vehicle, including a tractor, flatbed, reefer, or any other type of semi or commercial vehicle, while allegedly under the influence and found guilty of a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge, the penalties include, but may not be limited to:

  • A class 1 misdemeanor, which could mean probation along with anywhere from 0 days to 1 year in jail
  • The potential of extensive fines and fees to the court
  • Mandatory counseling for alcohol use
  • Mandatory use of an ignition interlock system on any vehicle you drive, even though your CDL is suspended

Click to Learn More about CDL DUI charges in Arizona…

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