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There is an issue evolving at the moment which has not been dealt with yet by the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Courts. I have been talking to some other attorneys and trying to assist in their types of cases, and there have been rare instances where people were arrested for aggravated DUI, a class 4 felony, simply because they were ordered to have an ignition interlock device on their vehicle, whereas at the time they were pulled over because they were suspected of DUI, they either did or did not have that ignition interlock device on their vehicle.
This is a rare circumstance because usually if someone had been ordered to have an ignition interlock device on their vehicle, they would also have been charged with additional aggravated DUIs, either because their license was suspended or revoked at the time or it was their third DUI within seven years. In the rare circumstance where someone was just charged with aggravated DUI, and it was ordered for them to have an ignition interlock device, then case law does not specifically indicate whether the person would need to have known they were ordered to have an ignition interlock device.
We know from aggravated DUIs where they allege there was a suspended or revoked license, that the juries do also determine whether the person knew or had reason to know they needed an interlock device. Case law has not yet specifically established whether there is that knowledge of which elements would be required for ignition interlock device cases.
I recently spoke with an attorney regarding a rather interesting case which may end up making case law. It involved a person who was ordered to have an ignition interlock device, and they were driving under the influence of alcohol at the time they were pulled over. An emergency situation was taking place at that time and the person who was caught driving under the influence was operating a vehicle that did not have an ignition interlock device in it, but they had a passenger in the vehicle who was being driven to the emergency room.
A provision in Arizona law states there would be an exception and a person could operate a vehicle that did not contain an ignition interlock device in an emergency situation, if they had otherwise been ordered to have an ignition interlock device. As the case develops, it may establish whether that emergency provision would apply only to people who had been ordered to have an ignition interlock device or whether that emergency provision would act as a defense to an aggravated DUI ignition interlock device class 4 felony charge.
This is still in the early stages, and I have provided that attorney with some information I think might be helpful unless the prosecutor backs downwards, which so far they are not. It will probably take maybe a year or two before we are able to get some sort of answers from some higher courts.
Our experience. Our attorneys have handled aggravated assaults, dangerous and vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, and negligent homicide involving vehicle cases for years now. This is not something that comes up every day and there are not a large number of occasions where someone would be charged with these types of offenses. In cases such as these where the punishment was so unbelievably severe, it would be really important to do research and find the right attorney.
Unfortunately, because of the amount of time involved in these types of cases, finding the right attorney tends to cost a lot of money. Often, when the associates on the criminal law team discuss these types of cases with people, they like to mention an option that is available called “Knapp counsel.” I personally think it is a good option, because it would allow the client to get the best of all worlds.
Knapp counsel is something that is based on an Arizona Court of Appeals case called Knapp v. Hardy, which basically held that a person would be allowed to be represented by a public defender, and that a public defender would be allowed to have an association with the private attorney. A person who was charged with severe offenses would be able to have the best of both the worlds where they could have a public defender, where the public defender would technically be the lead attorney, and then that public defender would have their own resources.
This is something fantastic about the public defender’s office. They have investigators, accident reconstructionists, and resources with which to assist clients in defending a case of aggravated assault or manslaughter while also having the knowledge and experience of a private attorney who could focus the public defender to pay attention and focus time and energy on the client’s case.
Knapp counsel tends to end up with the person paying about half the normal legal representation rates of an attorney because the Knapp counsel would not be the lead attorney; they would be a subordinate attorney who would be able to assist in writing motions and doing interviews. They would be able to bringing their skill and expertise to the case while not taking on the case completely.
This would allow the client to get the benefits of the public defender’s office and all its resources along with the experience and ability to focus time and energy on the case and get the public defender to focus time and energy on a case.
Knapp counsel is a fantastic way to go and it would lead to clients paying about half the rate they would have normally paid for a private attorney, which when we are talking about aggravated assault cases, might cost around $30,000 for a private attorney to represent someone by themselves. This cost could be upwards of $100,000 for manslaughter cases.
It would be a very good way to go if the person was able to get the experience and expertise of that private attorney for half the rate because they would not be taking on the case in full. People do not need to penny pinch when it comes to literally them spending decades in prison.
For more information on What To Know About DUI Cases In Arizona, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (480) 442-8343 today.