Month: February 2013

Flagstaff DUI Lawyer: MVD vs. Court

When someone is pulled over under suspicion of a DUI in Arizona, choices must be made. Big choices with big consequences. In this article, we’re going to discuss the practical application of “Admin Per Se” and “Implied Consent” in the Arizona DUI laws.

You may be innocent of a DUI (in criminal court), but you can still have your drivers license suspended by the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD).

The first set of choices involve field sobriety tests (FST’s), answering questions, horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), and other voluntary decisions that a driver can make – or refuse to make – when a police officer investigates a driver for DUI. Police officers don’t tend to inform drivers that the decisions are voluntary… but we’ll write another article on that issue later.

The second set of choices can greatly affect a person’s driving privilege. Let’s start with a question:

Can a sober driver get their license suspended for a year during an Arizona DUI investigation, even though the driver is completely sober?

Answer: You bet. Here’s why. If a police officer is mistaken about your sobriety, and thinks that you have been drinking, you will be arrested for DUI. All that the police need to investigate you for a DUI is reasonable suspicion – a low standard of proof. Once you are brought to the police station, you will be advised of your Admin Per Se / Implied Consent rights. In a Flagstaff DUI case, the arrested person will be brought to the Coconino County Detention Facility, where they have two Intoxilyzer8000 machines. This is a critical juncture in every DUI case. Do you agree to provide a breath or blood sample? (Yes, the officer can decide to ask you for a blood sample instead of a breath sample.) Are you deathly afraid of needles? Too bad, says the law.

Option #1: You agree to provide the sample of breath or blood. Phew… you can’t get your license suspended as long as you cooperate, right? Wrong. If your breath sample is 0.079%, your license cannot get suspended. But if you provide a sample of 0.080% or more, your drivers license must be suspended. If the officer believes you are impaired by alcohol, and they take a blood sample, and that blood result is not available, the officer can still suspend your driving privileges.

Option #2: You do not agree to provide a sample. This is called a refusal. If you refuse to provide a blood, breath, or urine sample, your drivers license will be suspended for 12 months! You cannot get a restricted license. And this law applies, even if you are sober, as long as the police officer can identify the grounds upon which he or she believed you to be impaired by alcohol or an illegal drug. Of course, the best advise is: do not drink and drive. If you had any alcohol, avoid driving. You can be charged and convicted of a DUI – Slightest Degree even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is under 0.08% in Arizona. So don’t take the risk. But if you are investigated for DUI, you do have choices. Do you want to comply with FST’s and potentially give the officer more evidence to use against you? (Even a sober person would not perform FST’s perfectly.) Do you want to agree to submit to HGN? Do you want to agree to a breath or blood sample? Do you want to refuse? The silver lining here is that if you do get your license suspended pursuant to an Admin Per Se / Implied Consent law, we can help you challenge it.

Time is of the essence. Once you let fifteen (15) days pass, you waive your right to have a lawyer challenge your suspension, whether it’s for a BAC of 0.08% or more or a refusal. Get help now.

Contact us immediately using the free contact form or call us at the number at the top of the screen.buy kamagra online

Flagstaff Injury Lawyers Discuss Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

What is underinsured motorist coverage in Arizona? How about uninsured motorist coverage? And why is it so important?

Defining Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist insurance provides protection for personal (bodily) injuries caused by a negligent driver in northern Arizona with no insurance, such as broken bones, lacerations, organ damage, head trauma, back or neck pain, and more.

Underinsured motorist coverage provides you with financial protection if the negligent driver has some, but not enough, liability insurance to pay for your injuries, including bodily injuries and pain and suffering, lost income, and more.

Arizona’s Minimum Car Insurance Coverage

The required coverages in Arizona are called “Bodily Injury” and “Property Damage.” Under Arizona personal injury law, the minimum required limits are as follows:

For bodily injury: $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident

For property damage: $10,000 per accident.

Practical tip from Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC: The minimum coverage, while cheaper to purchase, are never enough in serious motor vehicle accidents in northern Arizona. The results of minimum coverage in a serious injury accident in or around Flagstaff are devastating. It means that someone will not be able to pay their medical bills, or be compensated for pain and suffering, lost income, and other compensatory damages.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones

So, for example, how can you keep yourself safe if a motorist negligently crashes into you and your medical bills are $100,000 or more? The answer is simple. You should invest – right now – in both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. And make sure to get the highest limits available to you. Hopefully you will never need to use it, but if you do, you will be grateful that you have it.

If you get hit by an uninsured motorist, and that person has insufficient cash or equity to pay your medical bills (the usual situation), and you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you simply won’t get compensated. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you can receive money from your own insurance company! (And no, that does not cause your limits to go up, unless the accident is your fault.)

The other example is underinsured motorist coverage. What if a person with the Arizona minimum coverage negligently hits you while you’re on a bicycle, and your medical bills are $50,000? The driver’s policy limits will only allow you to recover $15,000, leaving you in $35,000 of medical debt (and no compensation for pain and suffering and lost income). But if you have underinsured coverage, say, up to $250,000, then you can recover $15,000 from the other driver’s insurance company, another $35,000 from your own (to cover medical or “special damages”), and potentially more money for pain and suffering. Would you rather be in $35,000 medical debt or be free and clear of debt with a lump sum of cash still in the bank?

As Flagstaff personal injury lawyers, we see the ill effects of minimum coverage every day. We strongly believe that investing in underinsured and uninsured coverage is a wise decision for you and your family.

The Advantage of Medical Payments Coverage

Under Arizona personal injury law, medical payments coverage, or “med pay” coverage, can be very helpful. Medical payments coverage provides coverage for necessary and reasonable medical and funeral expenses incurred as the result of an automobile accident up to the limit stated in the policy for you or passengers in your vehicle.

Free Personal Injury Consultations in Northern Arizona

We offer no-cost consultations to personal injury victims all across northern Arizona, including Flagstaff, Sedona, Verde Valley, Prescott, Williams, Winslow, Holbrook, Kingman, and all across the Navajo Nation and other reservation lands.