Please Think About This Before You Drink And Drive This Holiday Season

There is significantly more drinking and driving during the holidays.  It happens every year, in every place.  I have plenty of business.  However, I don't want you to become a customer. Trust me, you have better things to do than hang out with me in a courtroom for the next three or four months.  Thus, I am going to republish a post that I have previously written.  The post is titled: "3 Things I Wish People Knew Before Drinking & Driving."

Before you read the post, please watch this video.  The story is more persuasive than anything I could ever write.

 

 

This post was originally published on 07/31/08:

It's 5:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon in Phoenix, and Joe just walked through the door of his favorite restaurant to meet some friends for happy hour.  He drove himself to the restaurant.  When he is done, he is going to drive to his house in Scottsdale.

At the table, Joe sees everyone has one of the restaurant's signature margaritas in front of them.  The waiter comes to the table and asks Joe: "can I get you something to drink?"  Before Joe answers this question, I wish he would consider the following facts:

  1. There is no crime of Drunk Driving in Arizona.  Arizona law makes it illegal to drive while Joe is impaired to at least the slightest degree by alcohol.  This means that if Joe's ability to drive is impaired to any degree, Joe is technically in violation of the law;
  2. If Joe is stopped by the police, they will stick a needle in Joe's arm.  Regardless of the law on this subject, it has been my experience that if Joe is stopped by a police officer for a traffic violation, and the officer smells any alcohol, Joe is going to end up taking a chemical test.  Many police agencies are now using blood testing instead of breath testing.  If the officer smells alcohol on Joe's breath (or just imagines it), Joe is going to have a needle stuck in his arm and a blood sample will be taken.  The results of the blood test will probably take at least 30 days to come back.  While Joe is waiting to find out the results of the blood test, he will not sleep very much or very well;
  3. If Joe refuses the blood test, the officer will get a warrant and forcibly take his blood.  Once the officer meets the requirements of Arizona's implied consent law, he may require Joe to submit to a chemical test.  If Joe says "no," he will then lose his driver's license for 12 months.  Moreover, the officer will then make a phone call to the judge.  Within minutes, the judge can then issue a telephonic warrant.  If Joe still refuses, he will be held down by several police officers, and a needle will be shoved into his vein. 

Now if Joe knew these three things when the waiter asked him: "can I get you something to drink" - how might Joe answer?  I think the average Joe would say: "Yes...Diet Coke."

Please consider the above before you drink and drive.  Moreover, if you know someone who needs to become aware of these "3 Things" please use the "email this post" button at the bottom and send it to them.  This is a subtle way of possibly preventing a life changing tragedy. Thanks!

Lawrence Koplow, Drunk Driving (DUI) Attorney / Lawyer, Arizona

Arizona DUI attorney Lawrence Koplow is a former DUI and Vehicular Crimes prosecutor.   Lawrence uses what he learned as a prosecutor to help his clients charged with drunk driving crimes.  His practice, which is located in the Phoenix / Scottsdale area, is focused on DUI defense

Arizona law is unique when it comes to the crime of DUI.  Thus, it is important to understand exactly what conduct is illegal in our State.  Under the current law, it is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state under any of the following circumstances:

  1. While under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree;
  2. If the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle;
  3. While there is any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person's body;
  4. If the vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle that requires a person to obtain a commercial driver license as defined in section 28-3001 and the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more.

Under subsection one of the statute, it plainly states that a person has committed DUI when they are merely "impaired to the slightest degree" by alcohol.  Thus, a person doe not have to be "drunk" to in violation of Arizona law. 

The penalties for a first time Arizona DUI conviction are numerous.  A conviction for a first offense DUI conviction is a class 1 misdemeanor.  Consequently, the maximum jail sentence is six months; and the maximum fine is $2500.  For most cases, the maximum penalties are very unlikely.  On the other hand, the statute contains several other penalties.  The following list outlines these potential penalties:

  • Mandatory minimum jail term of 24 hours (1 day)
  • Fine of not less than $250.00
  • Driver's License Suspension
  • Ignition Interlock Device
  • May be ordered by a court to perform community restitution
  • An assessment of 500.00 to the prison construction and operations fund
  • An assessment of 500.00 to the state treasurer in the state general fund
  • Court ordered alcohol screening, education or treatment program

A DUI conviction also results in 8 points on a person's driver license.  The accumulation of these points will result in the the Motor Vehicle Division of the Department Transportation requiring the motorist to attend Traffic Survival School.  As stated above, a person will also have their driver's license suspended.  The suspension is for a period of 90 days.  However, a restricted license may be available after the first 30 days of the suspension.  

These cases are complex and the penalties are harsh.  If you are facing a DUI charge then feel free to contact Lawrence Koplow online, or call him at his Phoenix / Scottsdale area office at (602) 494-3444 to discuss your legal options.