In Arizona, marijuana users may be in for a rude awakening if they are stopped for traffic violations. That’s because earlier this year, an Arizona appeals court upheld the right of law enforcement officials to arrest individuals for DUI if they have traces of marijuana in their system, regardless of whether or not they are actually impaired at the time of the arrest.
The case at hand involved a driver who was given a blood test at a traffic stop in Arizona and who tested positive for an ingredient found in marijuana which stays in the blood stream for several weeks after ingestion of the substance. The driver was not impaired at the time, but the appeals court found that Arizona law allowed prosecution for DUI with any traces of the compound in an individual’s blood.
The case may be appealed to the Supreme Court of Arizona, as it isn’t clear how the law would affect drivers who had legally used marijuana, including medicinal marijuana users in the state and residents of states such as Colorado, in which marijuana is currently legal for personal consumption. As this case should make clear, though, DUI lawyers may soon have to adapt legal strategies to an entirely new class of drivers.
Toyota Motor Corporation, who has an office in Chandler, has recently reached a $1 billion settlement with some of its customers who had filed a class-action lawsuit against the company for the company’s alleged product defects. For background, beginning in 2009, reports of Toyota vehicles suddenly accelerating without the driver initiating contact with the accelerator led to mass recalls of many Toyota vehicles, as well as numerous lawsuits for accidents that may have been caused by the defect. Ironically, however, the lawsuit which was recently settled by Toyota did not involve injuries caused to vehicle drivers or passengers, but was rather done to settle claims of lost value on the part of some Toyota owners.
Many of the personal injury lawsuits filed by Toyota owners who were involved in accidents as a result of the vehicle’s defects continue to be litigated by car accident attorneys across the country, and resolution of these cases is likely still far on the horizon. However, this piece of news is as good a reminder as any of the many different ways that individuals can benefit from using public transportation, such as the Phoenix light rail, which is significantly safer than most other forms of transportation.
In our current economic climate, even businesses who follow a trustworthy model and put in hard work may be at risk of becoming insolvent. When a business is not able to generate the profits they need in order to pay back their debts in time, they are said to be insolvent. However, insolvency does not just apply to businesses, as an individual can also face insolvency in their personal finances as well. Some people equate insolvency with bankruptcy, but they are actually not the same thing. Bankruptcy is just one of the potential outcomes of insolvency. If a business owner or individual finds themselves insolvent, they may consider filing for bankruptcy, or they may decide to attempt to renegotiate their debt. It all depends on the situation of the individual or business and the flexibility of creditors. In some cases, businesses who renegotiate debt or declare bankruptcy can pay back their debt while still remaining open to the public.
Types of Insolvency
Unfortunately, the current economic situation has lead a number of businesses to become insolvent. Efforts to help businesses increase their customer base, such as the building of public transportation systems like the Phoenix Metro light-rail, have had some success in increasing foot-traffic in entertainment districts and shopping areas. However, businesses still face a number of challenges. Across the U.S., thousands of business owners and individuals are faced with increasing difficulty when it comes to paying back their business and personal expenses, leaving them with tough choices to make. The two types of insolvency businesses face include:
>Cash flow insolvency
>Balance sheet insolvency
When a business is balance sheet insolvent, it means they currently hold more liabilities than assets. When a business is said to have cash flow insolvency, it means that they do not have enough cash to provide payment for debts when they are due. In these types of situations, a business may need to consider filing for bankruptcy. Businesses may file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, also known as business reorganization, or they can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is referred to as liquidation. When a business is more likely to not be able to keep their doors open, chapter 7 bankruptcy is the more suitable option, while chapter 11 bankruptcy is available for businesses who may be able to reorganize their debt and remain open while working to pay it off.
While declaring bankruptcy may seem like the only answer to insolvency, there are actually some other options that should be explored as well. By speaking with an experienced bankruptcy attorney, insolvent business owners may be able to learn more about debt negotiation. If debt negotiation is an option that creditors are willing to consider, it could result in:
>Lesser monthly payments
>Due date extensions
Dealing with the perils of insolvency is never easy. However, many businesses are finding that the guidance and representation of a bankruptcy attorney can be incredibly beneficial. Bankruptcy attorneys are useful for a number of different situations. Some of the issues they can address include how to fight foreclosure, how to declare personal bankruptcy, how to see past bankruptcy myths, and how to renegotiate your debt.
Although the popular belief is that someone must be driving a vehicle in order to receive a DUI, the truth is that anyone can be cited for driving under the influence even when they are not technically driving a vehicle. The only requirement for a DUI is that an individual have “physical control” over the vehicle. Basically, this means that they have the power to drive, because they are in the driver’s seat with keys to the vehicle. These types of DUIs are sometimes termed “parked car DUIs”
Physical Control and Parked Car DUIs
When someone is arrested due to having physical control of their vehicle while intoxicated, they may be able to use a few different defense strategies in order to combat claims from law enforcement that they were a danger to themselves and others. “Physical control” is defined by the law very clearly, which actually allows defendants to argue that they did not meet the strict definition of “physical control” while intoxicated. For example:
>The individual was not inebriated to the point of illegal intoxication while driving (.08 BAC), but they were arrested anyway.
>The individual was not in a position in the vehicle that would allow them to take control of the vehicle
>The person’s keys were not in a reachable place, making it impossible for them to have physical control over the vehicle.
A good example of this is if someone attempts to sleep in the back seat of their car rather than attempt to drive while intoxicated, they may not be considered to have physical control of the vehicle, especially if they do not have their keys with them.
DUI Charges in Arizona
Driving under the influence is taken very seriously in the state of Arizona. When it comes to going out on the town, more and more people, both young and old, are choosing to take advantage of the Phoenix transit system by riding the Metro light-rail from places like Glendale to downtown Phoenix. When individuals choose to take their car out to bars, they run the risk of incurring one of Arizona’s notorious DUI charges. Arizona has four different types of DUI charges which depend on the level of intoxication of the driver. These include:
Driving Under the Influence – Blood-alcohol level of .08 to .15
Extreme DUI - Blood-alcohol level of .15 to .200
Super-Extreme DUI – Blood-alcohol level above .200
Felony DUI – Not dependent on BAC. Felony DUIs are given to drunk drivers who have a minor under the age of 15 in the vehicle, and those who are receiving their fourth DUI within seven years
Disregarding the felony DUI, all of the consequences that come with these charges may increase when there are prior convictions for driving under the influence. Fighting DUI charges in Arizona is difficult, especially without the help of an experienced DUI attorney. Anyone who is charged with a DUI should look into hiring a skilled Arizona DUI attorney who can help them set up a solid defense.
It is a well known fact that Arizona has some of the most severe laws against drunk driving, and while public transportation is not available for every area, more and more people are taking advantage of the Arizona Metro light-rail when they return home from the entertainment district in Phoenix. Arizona has many different types of charges for drunk driving. These charges are dependent on factors such as your blood-alcohol content at the time of arrest and prior convictions for drunk driving. Each of the following is a type of DUI charge you can receive in Arizona and the potential consequences of each:
Driving Under the Influence – This charge is given to those who have no prior DUI convictions and who have a blood-alcohol level that falls between the legal maximum of .08 and .15. The penalties that come with this conviction depend on the judge, but the highest penalty includes a $1,500 fine, a three month license suspension, up to ten days in jail, and up to five years of probation. In addition, you could be required to pay for a device inside your vehicle (ignition interlock device) which will require a breathalyzer test in order to start the engine.
Extreme DUI – The qualifying factor for an extreme DUI charge is a blood-alcohol level of .15 to .200. Those who receive their first extreme DUI conviction may be subject to fines of $2,700, up to 30 days in jail, and a mandatory ignition interlock device on their vehicle for up to 12 months. Probation may also be required for up to five years, and a license suspension of 90 days.
Super-Extreme DUI – Those with a blood-alcohol level of at least .200 or more will receive a super-Extreme DUI charge. A conviction can result in severe penalties. Super-Extreme DUI can result in a minimum of 45 days in jail, up to $3,200 in fines in addition to court costs and jail costs, a minimum of 12 months with an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, minimum 90 day license suspension, and five years of probation.
Felony DUI – Individuals can be charged with a felony DUI under two different circumstances, which include:
Intoxicated driving with a suspended license and/or three previous DUIs in the last seven years Intoxicated drivers caught with three prior convictions within the last seven years or with a suspended license are subject to a number of severe penalties. A judge can order up to two years in jail, at least $4,600 in fines, up to ten years on probation, and years of having to use an ignition interlock device on their vehicle.
Intoxicated driving while a minor under age 15 is present – Driving under the influence with a minor in the car is serious charge. In fact, it is categorized as a class 6 felony. Those who are convicted of this crime may be subject to as many as 2 years in jail, thousands in fines, up to ten years of probation, and years of having to pay for and use an ignition interlock device.
In addition to any of these charges, a judge may order alcohol dependence treatment in lieu of jail time. The list of penalties for each charge do not take into account penalties when a person already has prior DUI convictions. If you are facing a DUI charge, contacting an experienced Arizona DUI lawyer may help you fight your charges and potentially have them reduced or thrown out.
The Phoenix light-rail system, which began running about four years ago, is finally taking significant steps towards reducing the number of individuals riding the train for free by taking advantage of the network’s “honor system” for ticket purchases.
In order to get people to abide by the ticketing system, the city is hoping to grant permission to issue citations to a private security service. Guards working for the private security service would have the authority to issue passengers with citations for failing to pay for their ride. At this time, police officers, but not private security guards can issue citations. The issue will be coming to a vote in the March 2013 special election.
Efforts have already begun to crack down on freeloaders. About a year ago, the Phoenix leg of Metro light rail’s system was equipped with extra contracted private security guards, but they are still only allowed to turn non-paying passengers over to the police and are not allowed to issue citations. This has caused the number of citations to grow substantially, with as many as 47 citations on average per month.
Councilwoman Thelda Williams of Phoenix is one of the many who are advocating for the need for more enforcement. She says that there is a visible difference in fare-revenue between the Phoenix line and other lines due to their lack of enforcement.
Last week, city council members unanimously voted to place a new proposition on the March 2013 ballot to both hire private security officers as well as grant them the authority to issue citations. This change must be approved by voters because it will require the city charter to be amended.
City authorities say that they are not just attempting to increase revenue by hiring private security. The goal is also to allow police officers who are busy issuing citations to focus on more serious criminal activity. Private security would be allowed not only to issue citations to non-payers, but also to those who violate the tobacco prohibition on trains and those who illegally cross rail tracks.
A spokeswoman for the Metro rail said that passengers would notice the increased presence of security guards on the Phoenix rail line. She said that at their current rate, they do not have the number of security officers needed to handle the increase in ridership.
In addition to the light rail’s efforts to crack down on unpaid ridership, the police have implemented extra efforts to enforce safety on the light rail. Working with non-profit groups and other city departments, the police have started a program which keeps a record of repeat offenders. The system tracks riders who are often caught without paying, caught drinking, or have a history of disturbing other passengers. In the end, the city hopes to be able to ban these repeat offenders, making the system safer and more efficient for other riders.