Friday, June 28, 2019

Arizona Lawmakers Approve Ban on Cellphone Use While Driving

In April of this year, Arizona became the 48th state to prohibit the use of mobile phones and other handheld mobile devices while driving. The bill was signed on April 22, 2019 by Republican Governor Doug Ducey, which will give effect to a statewide ban on using handheld devices while driving starting January 2021. While police officers are not yet allowed to issue tickets to violators, they can already issue warnings. Once the law takes effect on the first day of January 2021, first-time violators will be issued tickets that will require them to pay a civil penalty from $75 to $149. Violators will have to pay a civil penalty between $150 and $250 for a second ticket. Want to make sure you’re well-informed of this new law? Here are some things you should know about the statewide cellphone ban for Arizona drivers.

Are You Allowed To Talk While Driving In Arizona?

The law specifically states that any kind of cellphone use—talking, texting, sending emails, accessing social media accounts, etc.—will be prohibited unless their devices are in hands-free mode and are activated by voice.

Here are the specifics:

  • It is prohibited to hold the phone in any way, including holding it up on the shoulder or supporting it with any body part.
  • Any text-based communication or activity, including emails, instant messaging, and texts is not allowed.
  • Recording or watching videos is not allowed.
  • It is also prohibited to take or view photos on a cellphone while driving.

The following information highlights exemptions:

  • Swiping mobile device screens to accept or make calls is allowed.
  • Talking on the phone is allowed when using an earpiece or any headphone device. Using a wrist-worn device is also allowed.
  • Voice-based communications are allowed (i.e. speakerphones, typing text through mobile voice function, etc.)
  • Using a built-in GPS device while driving is allowed.
  • Using handheld mobile devices are allowed while the vehicle is stopped. The vehicle can either be parked or stopped at a traffic light.
  • Using a handheld mobile device to call 911.
To be clear, this ban will apply not only to mobile phones but also to other portable wireless devices used for communication, such as tablets. Certain exemptions apply to officials who are responding to emergencies and to people who are in need of emergency help. The law does not include two-way radios, built-in devices, in-vehicle security devices, or navigation devices.

What About City Laws?

Even before the ban on cellphone use was approved, there were cities in Arizona that already prohibited the use of mobile phones while driving. Some of the cities that prohibited using handheld devices are El Mirage, Fountain Hills, Glendale, Phoenix, Surprise, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and Tempe. These laws will remain in effect until the new state law replaces them in 2021.

What Other States Prohibit Texting While Driving?

For more than a decade, there were a number of proposed laws that sought to ban the use of mobile phones while driving. There was already an anti-distracted driving law in place in Arizona, but it didn’t specify the use of mobile handheld devices. Texting while driving was prohibited only for newer drivers, particularly teenagers. Now that Arizona has taken this step towards banning all cellphone use, there are only two remaining states that still don’t have a statewide texting ban for all drivers—Missouri and Montana. Using a mobile phone while driving is a serious safety issue and now a civil traffic offense.  Arizona has been added to the list of states that had already implemented a statewide ban. Although it is a civil traffic offense, this does not mean that a driver cannot be charged with a criminal offense when the mobile phone violation results in an accident or other serious misconduct.  If you have been charged with an offense, Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law is there to assist you through your troubles.    

Arizona Lawmakers Approve Ban on Cellphone Use While Driving is available on call Robert A. Dodell at (480) 860-4321

Law Offices of Robert A. Dodell

10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

(480) 860-4321

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Sunday, June 23, 2019

How Can I Get My License Back After a DUI?

Partying is not a crime. However, drinking and driving is not a good combination. In the US, it is estimated that 28 people die every day from car crashes caused by alcohol consumption. This roughly translates to one person dying every 51 minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The statistics are bad enough to understand why driving while intoxicated is strictly enforced and why the law requires the suspension of a driving privileges. Drug Use Lead to a DUI

What Is DUI?

DUI means driving under the influence. Depending on which state, it may be called other names such as Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired (DWI), Operating Under the Influence (OUI), or Impaired Driving.

How Do You Get Arrested For DUI?

Most of the people who drive under the influence of alcohol or other substances violate speed limits or drive erratically. Once a police officer spots an offending vehicle, the officer trails that vehicle and signals to the driver to pull over. Once pulled over, they question the driver. If driver is suspected to be intoxicated, he or she is subject to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test. The legal limit for BAC in Arizona is 0.08 percent, though even smaller percentages may already impair a person’s ability to drive. In fact, a 2015 report from NHTSA found that 1,809 people were killed in car crashes related to alcohol intoxication where the drivers’ BAC was less than 0.08 percent. If the person is found to over the BAC legal limit, his or her driver’s license will be taken away and he or she will be charged with a crime. Even if a driver refuses to get his BAC tested, the officer will likely get a warrant for a blood test and driver’s license and driving privileges would still be suspended anyway. Upon conviction, a person may be sentenced to receive punishment —monetary fine, community service, or jail / prison. This depends on the severity of the incident and whether or not the person being convicted is a first-time or repeat offender.

How to Get Back Your License

Once a DUI offender gets released, their license isn’t immediately reinstated. They may have to undergo several steps depending on which state they’re in. For first-time DUI offenders, police officers will replace the offender’s license with a temporary one. The offender must  request a hearing from the Motor Vehicle Department or the license will be suspended in 15 days.The temporary license will be go until the ruling from the administrative law judge of the validity of the suspension.  Note that failure to request a hearing will lead to a suspension of the driver’s license, after the 15 day grace period. Suspension of a driver’s license varies in time.  It may last from 3 to 12 months depending on several factors: (1) the level of intoxication of the driver, (2) whether or not the driver has had previous DUIs, and (3) whether there was a refusal to take the blood test. There may be multiple steps to follow for people to get their license back after a DUI.  Each case is different. Basically, the person will be required to complete all the requirements set forth by the Motor Vehicle Department, which could include payment of any fines that caused a license to be suspended; proof of insurance from the vehicle; an ignition interlock device; completion of an alcohol rehabilitation program; and reinstatement fees. Note that alcohol rehabilitation programs vary depending on the level of intoxication at which the driver was arrested, alcohol history and prior DUI history.  It could range anywhere from attending an alcohol safety education for a several hours to signing up and committing to a long term alcohol rehabilitation and detox program. This may seem like a strict form of punishment, but it’s a good way to remind people to drink responsibly to avoid consequences that result from a DUI.

When You May Need To Hire A Lawyer

Scottsdale Courts take DUIs seriously, particularly because it often proves fatal to other motorists. Being convicted of a DUI means potentially losing your license, paying a large fine, or sometimes serving time in jail or prison. An experienced DUI lawyer may not guarantee that your DUI case is dismissed, but he or she could play a role in gaining you a reduced sentence. In case you need one at some point, Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law is an excellent choice.    

How Can I Get My License Back After a DUI? Find more on: call Robert A. Dodell at (480) 860-4321

Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law

10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

(480) 860-4321

https://goo.gl/maps/diwY4pu8X5m

Monday, June 10, 2019

When You May Want to Waive Your Right to a Jury Trial

The US Constitution recognizes and protects the right of every citizen to a jury trial (Art III, Sec. 2, and the Sixth Amendment). But, you can also waive your right for a jury trial if you prefer a bench trial, where only the judge decides on the verdict. In general, people would not want to waive their right to have a jury trial. But, there may be cases when that will be the best option to take.

When to Waive Your Right to a Trial by Jury

According to the courts, any person can waive his or her right to a trial by jury in a voluntary and intelligent manner.  A conviction will discarded if it is shown that a defendant was not informed clearly of the difference between a jury and bench trial. Thus, you must show the court that you are aware of the implications of your actions if you are waiving your right to a trial by jury. For instance, you may need to confirm your understanding that a jury will be composed of a dozen people from your community. You may also need to confirm that you understand your right (through your lawyer) to participate in selecting the members of the jury, and that all the jurors must be unanimous in convicting you for the crime. If you waive your right, the decision on your innocence or guilt will be in the hands of the judge. Once you convince the court that you have full understanding of what you’re doing, it will be then be up to the prosecutor to agree to have a bench trial instead. There are various reasons you may consider waiving your right to be tried by a jury of your peers. Some wish to waive the jury trial because they believe that the jury will most likely not be sympathetic or compassionate; some believe the judge will follow the law more closely and not be swayed by emotion and then some just feel uncomfortable with a jury.  Whatever the reason, this should be fully discussed with the attorney before you decide whether to waive the right to a jury trial.

Waiving Your Right to Be Tried by a Jury

As mentioned, the court will only allow you to waive your right in a voluntary and intelligent manner. Likewise, the court will show that you have been well-informed about the differences between a bench trial and jury trial.  The prosecutor must also agree. If he disagrees, the trial by jury will proceed, as the State has the same right to a jury trial as the defendant. When considering waiving a jury trial for your criminal case in Arizona, contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law to help you plan your next move. Coming up with a sound strategy is perhaps the hardest part of defending a criminal case. After all, your freedom and reputation are at stake. Having an experienced and reputable lawyer by your side can help you achieve the best possible outcome.

The following article When You May Want to Waive Your Right to a Jury Trial Find more on: azcrimlaw.com