Failing an Ignition Interlock Device Test

If you were arrested, charged, and convicted with driving under the influence in Arizona, you may have been required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. This device detects any alcohol on someone’s breath, and if that is the case, the device will not allow the vehicle to start. Unfortunately, an ignition interlock device can not always tell the difference between alcohol and some other types of substances. Learn what you should do if you fail an ignition interlock device test — even when you have not been drinking.

Ignition Interlock Violations

There are five types of ignition interlock violations that can happen after you are required to install this device on your vehicle.

  • Failing a breath test. Any driver younger than 21 years of age will receive a violation for any failed breath test. Any driver older than 21 will have one violation as a “pass” and the second violation will result in a six-month extension of the ignition interlock device requirement.
  • Failed or missed rolling retest. After three failed or missed rolling retests, such as turning off your vehicle while the device is requesting a sample, it will result in a six-month extension.
  • Missed 90-day calibration appointment. If you fail to bring your vehicle in after 90 days to check the device, it will result in a complete resetting of your time period and a suspended license.
  • Tampering with the device. Any tampering with the device will result in a six-month extension and a possible class 1 misdemeanor criminal charge.
  • Disconnection or removal of the device. If you disconnect or remove the device, it will reset the entire time frame you are required to have the device, and result in a suspended license.

Avoiding False Alarms

You may have had a genuine false alarm with respect to the ignition interlock device. While it is possible to defend them in court, it is better to avoid the possibility of them in the first place. The following ways can help you attempt to avoid any false alarms.

  • Refrain from drinking any alcoholic beverages before you drive
  • Rinse your mouth with water before your test
  • Avoid using any mouthwash that would be alcohol-based
  • Never use breath mints or chew gum while driving
  • Avoid over-the-counter medicines with alcohol
  • Always brush your teeth thoroughly after eating to avoid any kind of fermentation that may develop on your breath after eating certain types of food

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have had a false alarm on an ignition interlock device, or a mistake has been made, you may end up receiving a violation. This violation can result in serious and severe consequences, including criminal charges in some cases. If you have had a false alarm with your device, please contact Arja Shah, an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix, AZ who can give you individual attention and help you with your false alarm on your ignition interlock device case. Contact Arja Shah by calling (602) 888-0369 or by sending a message through the firm’s request form today.

Arizona is the Strictest State on DUIs

Every state has laws making it illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Every state also has penalties for those who are caught drinking and driving. However, the state of Arizona has the distinction of being one of the strictest states regarding DUIs and DUI penalties. The purpose of these harsh laws and penalties is to attempt to prevent DUIs from occurring in the first place.

Arizona is #1

A recent study ranked Arizona as #1 in criminal penalties for those who are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and #2 in DUI prevention efforts across the country. The theory is that the stricter the penalties, the greater the deterrent to committing DUIs to begin with. The Arizona laws regarding DUIs are harsh and the penalties are severe.

Arizona Legal Limit

Arizona has strict limits regarding the amount of alcohol consumption allowed when operating a vehicle. If your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is above .08% in the state of Arizona, you will receive a DUI. If you are a commercial driver with a CDL license, you can be arrested, charged, and convicted of a DUI if your BAC is above .04%. If you are under the age of 21, you can be charged with a DUI if you have any alcohol in your system at all. Reaching these legal limits will likely result in strict penalties.

DUI Penalties in Arizona

The reason Arizona is ranked number #1 for DUI penalties is that the penalties here are severe. Comparatively to other states, Arizona has longer jail times, stricter penalties, and more severe consequences for all DUI offenders.

  • First Offense. 24 hours to 10 days of jail time, $250 fine, 90-360 days suspended license.
  • Second Offense. 30-90 day jail sentence, $500 fine, one year suspended license.
  • Extreme DUI. If you have a BAC of .15%, you will serve at least 30 days in jail and have to pay a minimum of $2,500.
  • Ignition Interlock Device. All DUI convictions require the installation of an ignition interlock device.
  • More than 2 DUIs. If someone has more than two DUIs, Arizona automatically regards it as a Class 4 felony, and an offender must serve a minimum of four months in prison.

There have been cases in Arizona in which a DUI offender was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a fatality involving a DUI. Manslaughter charges for DUIs involving the death of another person can lead to 21 years in prison.

Contact an Experienced DUI Attorney

If you were arrested and charged with a DUI in Arizona, you are likely facing some serious penalties. Contact Arja Shah, an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix, AZ who can review your arrest and charge for DUI. She can help you with your case and work to get you the least severe sentence possible. Contact Arja Shah by calling (602) 888-0369 or by sending a message through the firm’s request form today.

Get Back on Track After a DUI Conviction

If you were arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), contact an attorney as soon as possible to help build your case and attempt to reduce or remove the charges from your record. If you have already been convicted of a DUI, you may feel as if your life is permanently scarred, and that you will never get back on track. While a DUI is very serious, you have options to rebuild your life after either your sentence or a fine you had to pay, or both. Here are some steps you can take to move your life in a positive direction.

Rehabilitation

If you actually received a DUI conviction with jail time, you may not be a first-time offender. If this is the case, you should determine if you truly have a substance abuse disorder. DUIs are often a symptom of a greater problem, which is a compulsive addiction to either drugs or alcohol, or both. If this sounds true for you, please consider seeking professional help. Rehabilitation options are available in out-patient and in-patient settings.

Professional Help

Perhaps you feel as if you do not need an actual in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation center. If you still feel you struggle with alcohol or drugs, consider visiting a professional therapist, counselor, join an Alcoholics Anonymous group, another recovery program, or visit with a professional who specifically deals with addiction issues.

Ignition Interlock Device

Oftentimes, an ignition interlock device will be mandated by the court for those who are convicted of a DUI. This device requires a driver to prove that he or she had no alcoholic drinks by blowing into it before the car will start. While these devices are only required for a certain period of time, it is interesting that they are associated with a 70% reduction in DUI arrest rates. Consider keeping your ignition interlock device in your car, even after the court mandate is over, as an insurance policy for you and others that you will be safe.

Find New Interests

It may seem silly and trite to say you should find a hobby. However, it has been proven that when people are trying to get their lives back on track, finding a new activity to give them purpose can actually help them heal emotionally more quickly. If you find a hobby that you can do instead of drinking, such as training to run a 5k, it will make you physically and emotionally healthier.

Strong Support Network

Your family and friends should be your support system. If you were surrounded by people who made poor choices in the past, take this time to create a new group of friends who do not drink or do drugs. Find the people who will be your biggest cheerleader and help you on the road to recovery as you get your life back on track.

Contact a DUI Attorney

If you were arrested and charged with a DUI, contact Arja Shah. She is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix, AZ who can review your arrest and charge for DUI. She can help you with your case so you can get your life back on track after a DUI. Contact Arja Shah by calling (602) 888-0369 or by sending a message through the firm’s request form today.

Reasons to Appeal a Criminal Case

If you were charged and convicted of a criminal offense, you still have legal options. You have the legal right to an appeal, which would ultimately be investigating the court’s legal basis for their decision in your case. Errors in judgment are made in courts of law, and if you were denied the right to a fair trial due to factual or other types of errors, you would have the right to appeal your conviction. The types of reasons you may have to appeal a criminal case are listed below.

False Arrest

If you were falsely arrested without probable cause by law enforcement, you may have the right to appeal your conviction. If you were arrested without a warrant or under circumstances that would not include any legal warrant exceptions, then you may have the right to appeal your criminal case conviction.

Evidence

There are two instances where issues with evidence could allow for an appeal.

  • Inaccurate Evidence. Both sides have the right before a trial to view each other’s evidence, and decisions are made regarding what evidence is allowable in a court of law in your unique case. If proper evidence was excluded, or improper evidence was allowed, you may have the right to an appeal.
  • Lack of Adequate Evidence. The prosecutor has the responsibility to establish that you committed each criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is inadequate or inaccurate evidence, the jury may not have had the information needed to correctly make a determination. While difficult to prove, you may be able to appeal on the basis of inadequate or inaccurate evidence in your criminal case.

Jury Instructions

A jury is always provided instructions by the judge before their deliberation. These instructions tell them how to handle all of the applicable law in your particular case and are called jury instructions. If the judge in your case provided incorrect, incomplete, or somehow inaccurate instructions to the jury regarding the laws, how they should be applied, or which do not include all laws applicable to your criminal case, you may be able to appeal your conviction.

Juror Misconduct

The law requires that jurors must follow strict rules that are designed to ensure that they reach an impartial decision. Juror misconduct occurs when a juror acts inappropriately regarding his or her decision in a criminal case. These instances are fairly common and typically include scenarios in which jurors communicated inappropriately with other jurors, attorneys, or witnesses.

Sentencing

If you were charged and convicted of a criminal offense, you will have gone through the sentencing process, which determines your punishment. This phase of a criminal trial is complex, and several factors are taken into account, including previous convictions, the severity of the crime, and other circumstantial evidence. Judges must follow specific legal rules exactly, or there can be errors during the sentencing phase. If this occurs, then you may have the right to an appeal.

Contact Experienced Criminal Attorney Today

The criminal appellate process is legally complex. Arja Shah is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix, AZ who can review your original criminal case, and explain your appeal options to you. Contact Arja Shah by calling (602) 888-0369 or by sending a message through the firm’s request form today.

First Offense DUIs in Arizona

Arizona statutes prohibit driving while under the influence (DUI) of any intoxicating substance, which would include alcohol, drugs, legally obtained prescription medications, or other substances that would impair judgment. If you impaired at all while operating a motor vehicle, you will likely be subject to severe punishment in the state of Arizona. Arizona has some of the strictest consequences for DUIs. If you have been arrested or charged with your first DUI offense in Arizona, it is important to know your rights as well as the likely consequences you may be facing.

Penalties for a First Offense

According to the state of Arizona, if you are found operating a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) above 0.08%, then you may be found guilty of a DUI. While there is no exact test for drugs, a police officer can make the determination regarding impaired judgment through a series of tests that will assess mental ability, coordination and cognitive ability. If you show any kind of impairment due to an intoxicating substance, you will be given a DUI, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The following penalties are applied to a first time DUI offender in the state of Arizona:

  • Minimum of 24-hour jail sentence up to a six-month jail sentence
  • Minimum $250 fine up to $2500
  • Driver’s license suspension from 90-360 days
  • Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device on your car at your own expense. (This device prevents you from driving your vehicle without blowing into the device first to prove sobriety.)
  • Potential three-year probation
  • Potential community service
  • Potential alcohol/drug assessment and educational classes

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record

A DUI will stay on your record permanently. However, there is a seven-year lookback period in the state of Arizona. This means that if you have any future DUIs, the first conviction for a DUI will be used to influence any subsequent DUI criminal cases within that seven-year period. If seven years pass without any DUI on your record, the next DUI you receive could be considered as a first offense again.

Aggravated DUI in Arizona

As a first offense DUI, you can still be convicted of an aggravated offense if you had a minor child under the age of 15 in your car. If you drive with a child under the age of 15 in your car as an intoxicated driver, it is considered a Class 6 felony according to Arizona Statute 28-1383.

Additionally, if you had a BAD of 0.15% or higher it is considered an Extreme DUI. A BAC of 0.20 or higher is considered a Super Extreme DUI. These criminal charges bring with them even harsher penalties and consequences, even as a DUI first offender.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

While some of the penalties for a first DUI offense are required, an experienced attorney will be able to offer certain plea bargains to the court. Arja Shah is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix, AZ who can review your first offense DUI case, and explain your options to you. Contact Arja Shah today by calling (602) 888-0369 or by sending a message through the firm’s request form today.

Arizona Assault Laws

In the state of Arizona, an aggravated assault is considered a Class 3 or Class 4 felony. There are several circumstances that can elevate a simple assault to the level of aggravated assault, including:

  • Serious physical injury or disfigurement occurred to another person (this can include using an automobile to cause these severe injuries).
  • Committing an assault on anyone in law enforcement, a teacher, firefighter, prosecutor, health care provider, or prison guard.
  • Any person over the age of 18 committing a simple assault or misdemeanor on a child younger than 15 years of age.
  • Using a deadly weapon such as a gun or a knife to place someone in immediate and imminent fear of serious bodily harm.
  • The assault occurred against a person who was restrained.
  • The assault occurred after entering a private residence of a victim.

Additional circumstances that will impact the length or severity of your sentence will include any past criminal history, and how severe the assault was in this case. Other instances such as causing a public inconvenience such as making a phone call or statement that causes a building evacuation can also be considered an assault. Finally, even just intimidating words or threatening actions can be considered an assault and can result in arrest, charges, and a possible conviction.

Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

Assault charges are a serious matter, and your permanent record and even freedom can be seriously affected. Arja Shah is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix, AZ who can review your assault case, and explain your options to you. She can fight for your rights, and provide you with strong representation in your criminal case. Contact Arja Shah today by calling (602) 888-0369 or by sending a message through the firm’s request form today.

Aggravated Domestic Violence Penalties in Arizona

The state of Arizona takes domestic violence seriously and imposes harsh penalties on those convicted of violent and criminal activity within a domestic dispute. However, if a person has been previously convicted of a domestic violence charge, subsequent charges can be even more severe.

Aggravated Domestic Violence

Aggravated Domestic Violence is when a person has already been convicted at some point of a Domestic Violence Statute in Arizona. The charge of Aggravated Domestic Violence occurs after previous convictions and is a way that the state of Arizona can more severely punish those repeat offenders.

The law Arizona under Statute 13-3601.02 states that if a person is convicted of a third or subsequent violation of the Domestic Violence Statute within the past seven years, he or she can be charged with Aggravated Domestic Violence.

The penalties associated with Aggravated Domestic Violence are severe and include the following:

  • Conviction with Two Prior Domestic Violence Convictions: Range of four months to two and a half years incarceration
  • Conviction with Three Prior Domestic Violence Convictions: Range of eight months to two and a half years incarceration
  • Conviction with One Historical Felony Conviction: One to three and three quarters years in prison
  • Conviction with Two Historical Felony Convictions: Three to seven and a half years in prison

Oftentimes, in these cases, the prosecutors will want to ensure that the penalty involves some sort of incarceration.

Possible Defenses to Aggravated Domestic Violence

If you have been arrested and charged with Aggravated Domestic Violence, there are some possible defenses that exist.

  • Miranda Rights Violation. If the police officers did not read you your Miranda Rights, then it is possible that this violation by law enforcement can remove the charge, or mitigate the charge.
  • Self-Defense. If you were acting out in self-defense, then you were not the actual aggressor in the case. If you were protecting yourself from an attack and caused an injury that was necessary to ensure self-preservation or protection, you would be able to use self-defense against the charge.
  • Lack of Eyewitness Testimony or Evidence. Many times, these cases can be a he said/she said scenario. An investigation will need to be done regarding 911 calls, surveillance footage, medical records, and possible expert witnesses to help reconstruct the incident and whether there is truly enough evidence for an Aggravated Domestic Violence conviction.
  • Denial of Right to Counsel. Again, if the police officers did not provide you the opportunity to visit with counsel at any time before the interrogation began, this can be a violation of your rights.

These criminal charges are incredibly complex, and seeking the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights and build possible defenses to your Aggravated Domestic Violence charge.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Being arrested and charged with an Aggravated Domestic Violence charge can be overwhelming and terrifying. Arja Shah, is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix, AZ. Learn your legal options and have strong representation by your side in your criminal case. Contact us today by calling (602) 888-0369 or by sending a message through the firm’s request form today.

Attempting to Escape a DUI

If you are caught by law enforcement driving under the influence (DUI) in the state of Arizona, you may face charges of a misdemeanor up to a felony, depending on if anyone was hurt in an accident, or if you have been charged for a DUI before. However, if you attempt to escape a DUI by outrunning the police, you may be arrested and charged with a class 5 felony.

Arizona’s Unlawful Flight Statute

The state of Arizona has strict laws governing driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, the penalties are even harsher and compounded if a person decides to outrun the police and evade a DUI. If caught, a driver who “willfully flees” or tries to outrun or elude a law enforcement vehicle with flashing lights, a siren blaring, or visible within 500 feet will be guilty of a class 5 felony under Arizona law, along with additional charges such as a DUI, reckless driving, or speeding.

If the driver attempting to outrun the police causes an accident that leads to an injury or death or even endangers any person as he or she is “willfully fleeing,” additional more severe charges can be brought.

Charges for “Willful Fleeing”

The felony charge for unlawful flight in the state of Arizona for first-time offenders depends on the severity of the actions and pursuit that was involved. The five levels of seriousness, as determined by Arizona law from least to most severe, are mitigated, minimum, presumptive, maximum, and aggravated.

The first-offense of a class 5 felony, which can be charged for “willful fleeing” can include a penalty of zero days in jail up to one full year in jail, or prison of six months to two and a half years. If that person has even one other prior conviction, then a prison sentence will be from one year to three and three quarters of a year. If the person has two prior convictions, then the prison sentence will be from three years to seven and a half years.

Defenses for Unlawful Flight

The most common defense that exists to unlawful flight from a police officer is that the driver simply had a “lack of knowledge” that law enforcement was attempting to stop him or her, and did not notice the policer presence. Because this law requires that a driver “willfully” fled from the police, the prosecution will have to prove that the driver was aware that the police officers were following him or her, and then refused to pull over. Loud music, or looking straight ahead are possible defenses to this charge.

The other commonly used defense is “mistake of fact.” This defense admits that the driver saw the police officers, but thought that they were in pursuit of a different driver.

The final defense is that the driver knew that the police officers wanted to pull him/her over, and was simply waiting and looking for a safe space to pull over. As the driver was attempting to find a safe space, the police officers made an incorrect determination that the driver was attempting to willfully flee from law enforcement.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Willfully fleeing from the police can mean a class 5 felony offense conviction, along with other criminal charges. Arja Shah is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix, AZ. Learn your legal options and have strong representation by your side in your criminal case. Contact us today by calling (602) 888-0369 or by sending a message through the firm’s request form today.

Theft Crimes in Arizona

Arizona’s definition of theft is to intentionally take someone’s personal property without a legal right to the property, or consent to take the property by the owner. If you have been arrested or charged with theft in Arizona, this is a serious charge and can range from a misdemeanor to felony theft. Understanding the different types of theft crimes in Arizona and what the penalties are can help you build a strong case for your defense.

Definition of Theft in Arizona

If a person has knowingly and with intention taken someone else’s property without the legal right to do so, it is considered theft under Arizona state law. Some examples of theft include:

  • Taking someone’s property for an unauthorized period of time
  • Committing fraud to take another’s property
  • Taking lost property without making a reasonable effort to locate the original and proper owner
  • Controlling someone’s property without the intention of returning it
  • Taking goods or services with no intent to pay

The landscape of criminal law regarding theft crimes is complex and challenging, and ever-changing. Contacting an experienced defense attorney if you have been charged with any theft crime, even a minor one, can help you understand your rights, and provide you the legal representation that can help your case.

Misdemeanor Theft vs. Felony Theft in Arizona

The dollar amount and value of the item stolen will determine whether the case is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony in the state of Arizona. Typically, the higher the dollar amount, the higher the penalties. If any item stolen exceeds $1000 it will likely be classified as a felony. Exceptions to this law exist for stealing a firearm or animal. Additionally, if there are violent circumstances surrounding the theft, harsher penalties are typically requested.

Unique Types of Theft

While most people consider theft to include shoplifting, burglary, or embezzlement, there are other types of theft that are common and can deprive owners of substantial sums of money.

  • Trade Secret Theft. Arizona businesses work hard to create unique services or products. Under Arizona Criminal Code Section 13-1820 if any person steals a trade secret and then attempts to sell that trade secret for profit, it is considered a class 5 felony.
  • Identity Theft Identity theft continues to grow as a criminal offense throughout the United States, and also in Arizona. If someone uses a person’s personal information without consent, permission or approval, it is considered identity theft. The Federal Identity Theft Law can be found at 18 U.S.C. § 1028 and is considered a class 4 felony in Arizona.

Contact an Experienced Theft Lawyer

Being charged or arrested for a theft crime is a serious matter, and Arizona has harsh and strict penalties for any crime involving theft. While this may be a frightening and overwhelming time, your first step should be to seek legal representation. Criminal law involving theft is complex, and theft crimes can range from misdemeanors to third-degree felonies. You need a theft lawyer that not only understands the law but will be dedicated to defending you and helping you either negotiate, settle, or defend your case.
Our firm’s founder, Arja Shah, will aggressively advocate for your rights. If you have been arrested or charged with a theft crime, contact Ms. Shah at (602) 888-0369 or by filling out the law firm’s online form.

Guide to Domestic Violence in Arizona

In 1994, Congress passed a federal law called the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), establishing that violence against women is a criminal offense to be treated as a national priority. Domestic violence is defined in Arizona as any criminal act by one family or household member against another. While not every act of domestic violence is violent, they can include any kind of physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse toward a victim. Unfortunately, domestic violence in Arizona affects all races, religions, and cultures.

Domestic Violence in the United States

Over 3 million domestic violence incidents happy every year in the United States. This translates to a domestic violence incident every nine seconds. Even more shocking is that approximately 4,000 victims of domestic violence are killed each year in the United States. Statistics reveal that up to one-fourth of all domestic relationships have included some form of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Acts in Arizona

Arizona Revised Statute Title 13 – Criminal Code Statute 13-3601 addresses and criminalizes domestic violence in Arizona. According to the statute, the very long list of domestic violence acts between and among household members that can be charged in Arizona include:

  • physical assault;
  • threatening words or conduct;
  • Intimidation in any way;
  • harassment or stalking by phone and in-person;
  • photographing, recording or watching another person without consent in a private place;
  • threatening or causing endangerment;
  • unlawful imprisonment and holding someone against their will;
  • kidnapping;
  • criminal trespassing;
  • criminal damages;
  • willfully disobeying a court order;
  • child custodial interference;
  • criminal acts such as: negligent homicide, manslaughter, and murder;
  • preventing a person from using a telephone in an emergency;
  • certain crimes against children; and/disorderly conduct.

Domestic Violence Charges

If domestic violence charges are brought against a person, the decision rests and remains solely in the hands of the Arizona district attorney and victims can have no recourse if a prosecutor fails to bring charges in a domestic violence case. On the other side, if a victim tells the prosecutor they wish to drop charges, a prosecutor will not dismiss a case if they believe domestic violence offenses occurred. If you are a victim of domestic abuse, contacting a domestic violence attorney can help you understand your rights.

Your Safety is Paramount

Above all else, seek safety if you find yourself the victim of domestic violence in Arizona. Find shelter for you, and your children as soon as possible. our safety is the most important issue in a domestic violence situation. If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you may consider filing a protective order against your abuser. Arizona offers two types of restraining or protection orders — Emergency Orders of Protection and Permanent Orders of Protection. Contacting an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer can help you understand your rights, and if a protective order would help ensure your safety.

Consider Working with Arja Shah Law

Our firm’s founder, Arja Shah, is an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer and advocate for domestic violence victims, with offices in Phoenix, AZ. Clients appreciate her strong advocacy in the courtroom with a client-centered approach to service. If you have been a victim of domestic abuse, you can discuss your case with Ms. Shah at (602) 888-0369 or by filling out the law firm’s online form.

Contact Arja Today to Learn How She Can Help You!

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