As many people are aware, the penalties for driving under the influence are harsh, and the trend across the country, including in Arizona, is for stricter enforcement. As serious as the consequences may be for even a first-time offender, those consequences become far greater with repeated drunk driving or drugged driving charges. And whether the charge is DUI or not, another way to find yourself faced with serious penalties is to be charged with an offense involving young children. When you combine the two, the consequences of a conviction are quite severe indeed.
All of which brings us to an arrest reported earlier this month in Phoenix, when a local resident was allegedly observed swerving through traffic without using his turn signal to indicate that he was changing lanes. Police say that they began to follow the car, and observed a beer can being tossed out the passenger window. After stopping the vehicle, they claim the driver smelled of alcohol, and had his two children (both under the age of 15) with him. They also say he refused field sobriety tests, his blood was later drawn, and he was arrested.
The background of this case does not bode well for the driver. Reports indicate that he has two prior DUI convictions, and that he was under an order to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in his car at the time of his arrest, and was operating the vehicle without an IID.
While most DUI charges are misdemeanors, there are four different scenarios set forth in A.R.S. 28-1383 under which you can be charged with aggravated DUI, all of which are felonies. One, which appears not to be applicable in this case, is driving while your license is suspended for DUI. The other three are (a) a third DUI conviction within 84 months, (b) a DUI while under a court order to equip your vehicle with an IID, and (c) a DUI with a minor passenger under the age of 15 in the vehicle.
It looks like this driver hit the aggravated DUI jackpot, and may have covered three of the four possibilities. In addition, police say he is also facing a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
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Phoenix, AZ 85004