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The Definitive Guide
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- How a typical driving under the influence case progresses through the Phoenix court.
- DUI Defense issues unique to cases prosecuted in Phoenix AZ.
- Essential information to Phoenix DUI allegation necessary for your criminal defense.
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Here are some things experienced DUI Lawyers know. Most DUI arrests in Phoenix are prosecuted in the Phoenix Municipal Court. At the same time, being arrested for DUI in Phoenix does not mean your case will be prosecuted in Phoenix City Court.
Police have discretion to submit DUI charges to a county court (called a “justice court”). In practice, if you are arrested by Phoenix Police for DUI then your case is sent to the Phoenix Municipal Court.
On the other hand, if your DUI arrest occurred by a deputy with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) or the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office then your case will be sent to justice court.
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What do you need to know about a DUI in Phoenix Municiple Court?
In any large organization, there are good people and people not so good. The Phoenix Police Department is no exception. Accordingly, you should be aware of some of the more notable things that have come out about the Phoenix Police Department. Here is a recent article that provides: “A Timeline of the Phoenix Police Department’s Worst Misconduct Scandals.”
More recent issues in the media:
Phoenix Police Officer McGillis - Accused of Misconduct
*All charges against Ms. Valenzuela have now been dismissed.
Body-cam footage shows an officer with a history of misconduct claims slammed 23-year-old Mariah Valenzuela to the ground within seconds of traffic stop.
A woman stopped by a Phoenix officer for allegedly driving on the wrong side of the street. The arrest left her with injuries.
Pulled over for a minor traffic stop, the 23-year-old ended up with cuts on her head and legs, abrasions on her hands and blown-out blood vessels in her eyes, per the complaint.
Something to consider about this incident:
Arizona law has a few specific requirements for an officer making an arrest. A.R.S 13-3888, titled “Method of arrest by officer without warrant” provides:
When making an arrest without a warrant, the officer shall inform the person to be arrested of his authority and the cause of the arrest, unless the person to be arrested is then engaged in the commission of an offense, or is pursued immediately after its commission or after an escape, or flees or forcibly resists before the officer has opportunity so to inform him, or when the giving of such information will imperil the arrest.
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The Arraignment is provided on your citation or on a summons mailed to you. The primary purpose of your arraignment in Phoenix City court is to inform you of what specific Arizona DUI laws the police claim you violated. If you are cited with an Arizona DUI and released a few hours later, then an arraignment is your first court hearing (usually handled by your DUI attorney).
An arraignment can feel more administrative than legal. If you hire a private Phoenix DUI attorney then they can appear on your behalf at the arraignment.
Pre-Trial Disposition Conferences – a “PDC” give your DUI attorney a chance to discuss your case with the prosecutor, monitor discovery and enter into plea negotiations.
Jury Trial – if you were unable to resolve your case then it will proceed to trial. Arizona specifically makes DUI cases jury eligible.
After a DUI arrest a blood sample is typcially drawn by Phoenix police officers. Once collected it’s sent to the Phoenix Crime Lab.
How do you challenge a blood alcohol test result (BAC result) in a Phoenix DUI case?
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Point of Concern:
The Phoenix Crime Lab (as are other forensic labs in Arizona) is a wing of the Phoenix Police Department. This raises concerns as to their independence.
The National Academy of Sciences is one of the world’s most respected scientific organizations. They were tasked by the United States Congress to evaluate our country’s crime labs. One of their primary findings was that crime labs should be independent from police departments.
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The specific facts of a DUI arrest may dictates who needs to be contacted. However, a good place to start is with the Phoenix Police Department Code Enforcement, Vehicle Impound Unit.
Their phone number is (602) 495-2096.
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Your attorney will be given a copy of the police report as part of the discovery process. However, police reports can also be obtained directly from the Police Department.
Here is a link: Phoenix Police Records Department.
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- Call the State bar of Arizona to see if they have any issues?
- Find out if they have done a significant amount of DUI jury trials in the city of Phoenix?
- Can the lawyer provide specific examples of cases and DUI Jury trials they actually won in Phoenix AZ court?
- Is the attorney aware of the critical problems with the Phoenix Crime Laboratory? Have they litigated any of these issues?
- Ask the defense lawyer you speak with: who would they hire – if they were charged with a DUI – and looking for a DUI lawyer in Phoenix?
In Brady v. Maryland, the Supreme Court ruled that the prosecution is required to disclose all evidence that is favorable or may exonerate a defendant. This resulted in prosecutor creating “Brady Lists” in criminal cases to identify officers that have demonstrated dishonesty.
Want to search Arizona’s Brady list to see if a Phoenix Police Officer is on it? Then click the link below.