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Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney & DUI Lawyer Blog
Criminal Speeding or Arizona DUI in a Construction Zone

Arizona DUI in a School Zone, Construction Zone or Airport

Being charged with a DUI in Arizona can result in stiff penalties. However, you might face other consequences and additional charges if you are charged with a DUI in certain areas, including DUI in a school zone, construction zone, or airport.

Below is some information about DUI charges in these types of areas in Arizona.

DUI on Airport Property in Arizona

In most cases, driving under the influence is a state charge in Arizona. This means that most people will be tried for the offense in Municipal Court, Justice Court, or Superior Court and potentially be sentenced to serve jail time in the county jail. However, there are certain situations in which a DUI can be charged and tried in federal court. The potential penalties for a federal DUI are harsher than for a state DUI charge.

Under the US Code of Federal Regulations 36 CFR § 4.23, people can be charged with federal DUI offenses when they drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher; or when they are impaired to such a degree that they are incapable of driving by any amount of alcohol or drugs. If a person is arrested for a federal DUI in a state that has stricter laws, the penalties under state law will supersede the federal law.

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Arizona Ignition Interlock Device FAQs after a DUI

Top 10 Ignition Interlock Device FAQs after Phoenix DUI

When people are convicted of an Arizona DUI involving alcohol in Arizona, one of the penalties that they will face is the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device breathalyzer in every vehicle that they drive.

How long people will be required to have these breathalyzer devices installed in their vehicles will depend on the degree of DUI, if it is a misdemeanor or felony, on the number of past DUI convictions you have on your record within the past seven years and your blood alcohol concentration at the time of your arrest.

Below are the Top 10 ignition interlock device frequently asked questions that we receive at the Shah Law Firm about ignition interlock devices.

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Arizona Open Container Law for Alcohol

Arizona Open Container Charge. Can You Beat It?

In addition to prohibiting driving while impaired by alcohol or DUI drugs, Arizona also has an open container law. Motorists are not allowed to have open containers of alcohol in their cars.

If the police pull you over and see an open alcohol container in your vehicle, the officer can charge you under the state’s open container law.

You cannot defend against this charge with the fact that you were not consuming alcohol from the container while driving.

The police can also charge you with violating the state’s prohibition against open containers of alcohol even if you are an adult over the age of 21. If you are facing this type of charge, an attorney at the Shah Law Firm is prepared to help defend you.

What is the Arizona Open Container Law?

The Arizona open container law is found under statute ARS 4-251. This statute prohibits you from having an open container of alcohol anywhere in the passenger compartment of your vehicle. Open containers include cans or bottles of alcohol that have been opened or have had some of its contents removed, including beer, malt liquor, mixed drinks, spirits, or wine.

You cannot be convicted of this offense for transporting unopened alcohol bottles from a store as long as their seals have not been broken.

However, if you order a bottle of wine at a restaurant, you could face charges if you bring the remaining wine home by transporting the corked but open bottle in your passenger compartment.

What are the Arizona Penalties for Violating the Open Container Law?

A conviction for violating the open container law is a class 2 misdemeanor in Arizona. If you are charged and convicted of a violation of the open container law, it is a class 2 misdemeanor.

Under ARS 13-707, class 2 misdemeanors carry potential jail sentences of up to four months. You can also face a fine of up to $750 under ARS 13-802. In addition, being convicted of a class 2 misdemeanor means that you will have a criminal record, and a criminal record can cause problems in other areas of your life.

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Refuse Breath Test or Refuse Blood Test in a DUI

Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer / Breath Test or Blood Test During a DUI

Many people in Arizona are confused about whether or not you can refuse a breath test or refuse a blood test after a DUI stop. When people are arrested for suspected DUIs, police officers will ask them to submit to a chemical test to test their breath, blood, or urine for the presence of alcohol and its concentration.

While many people do not want to submit to chemical tests, refusing to submit a blood sample drawn by a phlebotomist or a breath sample on a breathalyzer test can result in consequences to their driving privileges and could potentially detrimentally impact their DUI cases.

Here is some information about refusals and what they can mean for a DUI case in Arizona from the Shah Law Firm.

Arizona’s Implied Consent Law

Under ARS 28-1321, Arizona has enacted an implied consent law. The state deems all motorists who drive vehicles in the state to have given their implied consent to chemical testing to check for the presence of alcohol or drugs in their systems.

When a person refuses or is unable to consent to, a test or tests of the person’s blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance for the purpose of determining alcohol concentration or drug content, they are given an admin per se form. This is a pink piece of paper. If you were not given this form, let your DUI attorney know immediately.

Refusing to submit a blood or urine sample or refusing a breath test with the breathalyzer machine can trigger consequences from the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department.

If you refuse a breath, blood, or urine test, your license can immediately be suspended for 12 months regardless of the outcome of your DUI case. If you refuse a chemical test a second time within seven years, your license can be suspended for 24 months.

If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, a police officer can request a warrant to conduct the test anyway. You can still be prosecuted for a DUI based on the officer’s observations of you and your driving. The prosecution can also use a refusal of a chemical test as evidence against you in your DUI case.

Once you finish the administrative suspension period of your driver’s license, you will have to complete a drug and alcohol program before your license can be reinstated.

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Driving Out of Arizona with Marijuana

Driving with Marijuana Out of Arizona

Medical marijuana has been legal in Arizona since it was approved by voters in 2010, and voters in the 2020 election also passed Proposition 207 to legalize the recreational use of marijuana among adults in the state in Nov. 2020.

Arizona is now one of 17 states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

While Arizona borders several states that have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana, including California, Colorado, and Nevada, it does not mean that you can get on the road to travel out of state with marijuana purchased within Arizona.

More than 203,000 Arizonans are also registered medical cannabis users, comprising a little more than 3% of the state’s population. Even if you have a valid medical marijuana card in Arizona, that does not mean that you will be legally allowed to bring your medicine with you to another state.

Here is some information about the Arizona marijuana laws and traveling with marijuana within the state or out of state from a marijuana DUI lawyer at the Shah Law Firm.

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Boating DUI, OUI or Driving Boat while Drunk

Arizona Boating OUI / DUI on a Boat, Jetski, or Other Watercraft

In Arizona, you cannot operate a motorized watercraft while you are impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol, drugs, or marijuana. Having a medical marijuana card is not a defense to an OUI charge involving impairment.

A boating DUI in Arizona can be charged if you are found to be operating a motorized boat or watercraft while you are impaired by alcohol, marijuana, or any other drugs.

This offense has similar penalties to a DUI charge. If you are facing this type of charge, you should schedule a consultation with the Shaw Law Firm to learn about your legal options.

Definition of a Motorized Watercraft

The OUI or BUI statute in Arizona is found at ARS §5-395. Under this statute, you can be charged with an OUI or BUI when you are operating or have actual physical control of any type of motorized watercraft in Arizona when you are impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs.

Under ARS § 5-301, a motorized watercraft includes any type of watercraft that has a propulsion system using machinery regardless of whether it is the primary means of propulsion. This means that you can get a BUI or OUI when you are slightly impaired and operating or in control of most types of personal watercraft in addition to motorboats.

Penalties for a Boating OUI / DUI on a Boat in Arizona

The penalties you might face for a BUI or OUI will depend on your criminal record and whether any aggravating factors were present. If you have prior DUI, BUI, or OUI convictions within the past 84 months, the penalties will be more severe.

Similarly, if you had someone under the age of 15 with you on the watercraft, the penalties will be harsher.

Finally, if your BAC for alcohol was above 0.15% within two hours of operating your watercraft or being in actual control of it, you will face more severe penalties.

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Arizona Justification Defense for Self-Defense

What Does Justification Defense Mean?

If you have been charged with a crime in Arizona, you should retain an experienced criminal defense attorney for help with defending against your charges. While you might think that you will be convicted as charged, it is possible to successfully defend against criminal charges. Defense attorney Arja Shah might use several different types of defense strategies on your behalf to show the court that you are either not guilty or should not face the most serious penalties because of the circumstances and facts of what occurred.

In some cases, people who are charged with crimes might either have justification or excuse defenses available to them.

A justification defense exists when an act occurred, but certain circumstances existed at the time to justify the defendant’s actions.

By contrast, excuse defenses exist when a defendant committed an offense but did not have the mental capacity or required belief at the time of the conduct, providing the jury or judge an opportunity to excuse what he or she did. Here is some more information about justification and excuse defenses from the Shah Law Firm.

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What are the Different Types of Justification Defenses?

A justification defense might be asserted when the incident occurred, but the defendant had a justifiable reason for committing the act. The justification defenses include the following:

  • Self-defense
  • Defense of others
  • Defense of property
  • Necessity
  • Excuse defenses

Justification defenses can be asserted as affirmative defenses to criminal charges when the benefits of what happened outweigh the negatives. When a defendant’s actions that would otherwise be criminal in nature were warranted, his or her conduct might be considered justified. While the prosecution generally has the burden of proof to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, you will have the burden of proof when you assert a justification defense.

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Arizona Out-of-State DUI Charge

Can an Out-of-State DUI Affect you in Arizona?

DUI charges in Arizona are well known for being some of the strictest in the country, but what about if you receive a DUI in a different state than Arizona? How does that affect you here? What about a DUI in another country, such as down in “Rocky Point,” Mexico? That will be an article for a different time.

In this article, we will discuss the facts about an Out-of-State DUI. Since each state has its own set of laws and statutes, DUI laws vary from state to state.

DUI Penalties and Laws in Arizona vs. an Out-of-State DUI

The penalties for a DUI conviction tend to be harsher in Arizona than in many other states. However, Arizona treats license suspensions more easily than some other states. For example, if you are convicted of a first DUI offense in Arizona, your license will typically be suspended for 90 days.

After not driving for 30 days, you will be eligible for a restricted license for the final 60 days to drive to-and-from your job, school, and treatment classes. By contrast, if you are convicted of a first DUI offense in Colorado, your license will be suspended for one year.

By contrast, the fines and fees for a first offense DUI conviction in Arizona tend to be much higher than in other states. If you are convicted of a first DUI offense in Arizona, you will be assessed at least $1,500 in fees and fines along with a minimum of one day in jail. In many other states, the fines and fees are much lower, and no jail time is given for a first offense DUI.

Click to Learn More About Out-of-State DUI Charges…

Disorderly Conduct Lawyer

10 Strange Types of Disorderly Conduct Charges in Arizona

One of the most commonly charged offenses in Arizona is disorderly conduct. This offense is also known as disturbing the peace and is used by the police as a type of catch-all offense when someone engages in behavior that others find disturbing.

While this charge is very common, it is also a criminal offense. Here are 10 strange examples of disorderly conduct charges followed by a discussion of the penalties you might face if you are convicted of disorderly conduct.

Charged with pulling fire alarm

1. Pulling a fire alarm.

Pulling a fire alarm is a juvenile type of prank that has been popularized in many movies. However, if you pull a fire alarm at a school or business, you could end up facing disorderly conduct charges.

Illegally Brandishing a Firearm

2. Brandishing a gun/firearm.

While many people in Arizona love their guns, behaving in a manner deemed to be irresponsible with a firearm can get you in trouble. Unless you are defending yourself, it is illegal to recklessly display, discharge, or handle a gun in a manner that disturbs your family, friends, or neighborhood.
Click to Learn More About Strange Disorderly Conduct Charges…

Arizona Marijuana DUI driving while high

New Arizona Recreational Marijuana DUI Laws in 2021

The DUI statute in Arizona is found at ARS 28-1381. Under this law, there are two different ways that people can be charged with driving under the influence of drugs. Under 28-1381(A)(1), it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while you are under the influence of any drug, alcohol, or inhalant when you are impaired to the slightest degree. If you consume marijuana and then drive your vehicle while impaired by it, you can be charged with a marijuana DUI under this law.

Under ARS 28-1381(A)(3), people can be charged with DUIs when they operate motor vehicles with any drug listed in ARS 13-3401 or its metabolite. This subsection is a zero-tolerance law because you can be arrested if you have any amount of a listed drug in your system, even if you are not impaired. Marijuana is one of the listed drugs, along with heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and prescription drugs when you do not have a valid prescription.

While marijuana is a listed drug for a DUI charge under ARS 13-1381(A)(3), ARS 36-2852(B) specifically states that a person who has marijuana or its metabolites in their system cannot be convicted of a DUI under this subsection unless they are impaired to the slightest degree.

Click to Learn More About Recreational Marijuana DUI Laws…

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