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Two weeks ago police happened upon a woman who was standing in the parking lot of Adams Traditional Academy, just east of Interstate 17. She had apparently crashed her SUV into a cinderblock wall at the school. Her children, ages 2, 3 and 5, were nearby crying. A search of the vehicle revealed an open container of alcohol, and unopened bottles of liquor were found in her purse. She was arrested and, according to reports, now faces two counts of aggravated DUI and three counts of DUI with a person under 15 in the vehicle. Tragic? Of course. But also instructive on the subject of aggravated DUI.
Aggravated DUI in Arizona
In our blog of February 2 of this year we discussed the reasons why a DUI would become “aggravated” and therefore a felony, and not a misdemeanor. Those factors are:
- DUI with a child under 15 in the vehicle;
- Three or more DUI’s within a seven-year period; and
- DUI with a suspended, revoked, or cancelled license.
The reports in the case indicated, then, that she was charged with a total of five felony DUI’s. Three are easy to identify, that is, one for each child in the SUV. The reasons for the other two DUI’s are unclear, but if we had to guess, we’d say they were probably related to a suspended/cancelled/revoked license. The unfortunate result of the incident is that a single course of conduct resulted in the woman being charged with five separate felony offenses.
Are Harsher Sentencing Laws the Answer?
Arizona has some of the harshest DUI laws in the country. Some consider us number one in this category, and others place Arizona a bit lower on the scale. But everyone agrees that our laws are among the toughest on drunk drivers. Looking at the trend in DUI arrests in the state, which show them on the increase every year for the past nine years, might cause some to conclude that our tougher laws are not working; others take the same figures and reason that the increase in violations points out the need for still tougher laws; and others point to the fact that the increase in DUI arrests is a function of increased law enforcement efforts and an increase in arrests for drug-related DUI’s.
Whatever you may conclude about the current DUI statistics, one thing is clear: if you have been charged with a DUI, your best chance of protecting your future is to have an experienced Phoenix DUI lawyer at your side. Call us today for a free consultation.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004