Thursday, December 29, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Bill of Rights Day 12/15/09
Monday, December 5, 2011
For more advice on what to do when confronted by law enforcement be sure to look at the videos and articles on the Attorney For Freedom website.
Friday, December 2, 2011
East Valley DUI Task Force kicks off Friday, December 4th : Press Releases - Arizona Department of Public Safety
The best advice I can offer regarding a DUI is not to drink alcohol and then drive a motor vehicle. Besides risking being prosecuted for a criminal offense, driving while impaired can easily result in a serious accident or death of a person. Such a situation will likely result in a prosecution for either an Aggravated Assault or a Manslaughter. Prosecutors generally seek prison sentences for such crimes. Few circumstances can change a person's life faster than causing the death of another person by driving while impaired. Many people are unaware that driving with an alcohol level below the legal limit can also result in a prosecution for a DUI. Even over the counter medications or prescription medications can be the basis for a DUI charge if those medications result in the slightest impairment to a driver. If you plan to drink alcohol, take a taxi or use a designated driver. It is better than ruining your life or some else's life in an instant.
If you are pulled over by an officer who suspects you may be impaired, you should not answer any questions. You are not ever required to answer questions posed by a police officer. You are required to present your driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Generally speaking, refusing all tests at the roadside is the better choice. Even completely sober drivers can fail many of those tests. In any event, it is the officer who decides how you performed on those tests. You may not agree with the officer's conclusion. You may be required to exit your vehicle whether you are the driver or the passenger. You should always request to speak to an attorney immediately.
Punishments for DUI offenses include mandatory jail, mandatory fines, counseling, license suspensions, ignition interlock devices and generally cause insurance rates to increase. Punishments are severely increased for multiple DUI convictions. Committing a DUI while your driver's license is suspended or revoked for any reason can result in prosecution for a felony offense. A felony conviction can haunt you for the rest of your life. DUI is an easy crime to avoid. Adults of legal age should feel free to drink alcohol, but are required to do so responsibly. Driving after drinking alcohol is not responsible, and can easily result in dramatically changing your life for the worse in an instant. In short, don't do it.
My client was a wife and middle-aged mother of two young children who she drove to school Monday through Friday. She also worked a full time job located a substantial distance from her home. She had no prior contacts with the law; until now.
She called me about a month ago and told me of her past evil doings. When she was a teenager living in another state, she accidentally caused an automobile accident. As a result, that state required her to purchase the expensive SR-22 insurance. She did. Many years later, she moved to Arizona where she was informed she was not required to purchase the SR-22 insurance. She didn't.
The first state then suspended her privilege to drive and promptly notified Arizona. Because she was suspended in the other state, Arizona suspended her license as well. After being notified of the suspensions, my client immediately paid a small fee to the other state and was reinstated. At my client's request, the other state sent a clearance letter to Arizona. Arizona informed her that they received the clearance letter and everything was fine. Arizona didn't inform her that she needed to pay a reinstatement fee. As a result, my client drove for years without knowing her Arizona license remained suspended.
One day, my client was the unfortunate victim of a small automobile accident. After the police officer arrived to "help," it was discovered that my client's license was suspended. Despite immediately paying the previously unknown but all important reinstatement fee, my client was nonetheless charged with the crime of driving on a suspended license.
She reasonably thought she could easily resolve the matter in court. However, after being told by the judge that jail was an option and a six-month license suspension was mandatory, I'm sure I was the first phone call. I wasn't optimistic. It was an easy slam-dunk for the prosecutor. I accepted her case and agreed to try and make a deal to resolve it quickly. I thought maybe the prospect of my client losing her job and her kids not being able to go to school would resuscitate some long lost spark of compassion buried deep in the spot where the prosecutor's heart used to reside. Yeah right!
My client's case was assigned to Ms. Hitler for prosecution. My sentimental requests for leniency were immediately smashed with an iron fist. Ms. Hitler responded with the novel argument, "The law is the law." Ms. Hitler was angered when I was not persuaded by her favorite argument and indeed wanted to joust with her supervisor instead. Not surprisingly, Ms. Hitler's supervisor Mr. Stalin was equally unimpressed with my arguments. We were forced into a trial. What fun!
As the trial began, I couldn't wait to discover what defense I would argue to the judge. Incidentally, this is not my favorite way to try a case. Ms. Hitler called the "helpful" police officer to the stand who testified that she arrived at the accident scene, obtained my client's driver's license and discovered it was suspended. No cross-examination.
Ms. Hitler then moved to admit a certified copy of my client's driving record indicating it was suspended. I objected based on every reason I could argue with a straight face. The driving record was admitted and Ms. Hitler rested the state's case.
I don't think Ms. Hitler enjoyed it when I then requested that the court enter a judgment of acquittal for my client because the helpful officer friendly didn't actually see my client driving. Just for fun, I added that I wasn't calling any witnesses so there could be no rebuttal testimony for the state. Because the judge wasn't laughing and Ms. Hitler was getting even madder, I added that the helpful officer was guessing about who was driving the cars. We won.
After the judge left the bench and my elated client departed, Ms. Hitler felt obligated to enlighten me to the fact that, "Sometimes the dragon wins." Upon further inquiry, I learned Ms. Hitler wasn't initially certain whether my client or I was the dragon she was referring to. Apparently, she was absent during "think before you speak" class at prosecutor's school. Eventually, she decided my client was the dragon.
The twenty-five minutes of Ms. Hitler bashing that followed was worth the price of admission for me. The slaying of the dragon slayer was a quiet victory that day. One nice family was rescued from a jungle of craziness inhabited by a helpful police officer and a prosecutor who treats everyone equally.
Attorney Marc J. Victor