Kingman DUI Lawyer Explains Local DUI Cases
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI (Driving Under the Influence or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) in Kingman Arizona there is some information you need to know right away about the criminal justice process. There are questions that you need answers to and you should know what will happen next.
Court Hearings for a Kingman Arizona DUI
In the event of a Kingman Arizona DUI all suspects are arrested and usually booked into jail. Those suspects will be immediately booked into jail either at the at the Mohave County Jail on old Highway 66 near downtown Kingman and behind the Mohave County Administration Building. A judge must see them within 24 hours of their arrest at a hearing called an initial appearance. The suspect could appear in person or via video conference.
The initial appearance hearings are conducted at the Kingman/Cerbat Justice Court at 524 W. Beale St. or the Kingman Municipal Court at 219 N. 4th St in Kingman. Initial Appearance hearings in the Kingman/Cerbat Justice Court are regularly conducted at 1:30pm during the work week and 8am on the weekends. Initial Appearances at the Kingman Municipal Court are usually conducted at 9am. The city magistrate, justice of the peace, or pro-tem judge will conduct the hearing.
At the initial appearance hearing the judge will apprise the suspect of what they are charged with. They will tell the defendant what the range of penalties are for the offense. The judge will ask the suspect for their correct address and inquire if they are a U.S. Veteran. (Kingman Municipal Court recently started a veteran's court program). Defendants are given a questionnaire at the jail that inquires about their financial background and criminal history. The questionnaire is used by the judge to determine if the defendant qualifies for a public defender and the judge uses the biographical information to determine what release conditions are appropriate and what bond amount to place on the defendant.
The bond amount can be posted with cash or certified check at the Court House itself or a bond company can be used to post the required bond with the jail.
The Court will then order the Defendant to appear at a pretrial conference that is set approximately thirty (30) days out.
The pretrial conference is a hearing in which the defendant with his or her attorney have an informal meeting with the prosecutor. The prosecutor is required to give a copy of all police reports or evidence that they intend to present at trial. This is called “discovery” or “disclosure”. If there are printouts of the breath test or blood test results, they are given at this hearing.
The Court sets the pretrial conference so that a non-trial resolution might be discussed with the prosecutor and the defendant. If the State or prosecutor intends to make a plea offer, they will do so at that time. A defense attorney will usually present some facts or defenses to the prosecutor to present legal reasons for a dismissal of the case or what is more common to present mitigating circumstances to negotiate a favorable plea agreement.
A defendant is required to attend the pretrial conference if the represent themselves or are appointed a public defender. If a defendant has a public defender this is usually the first time that they get to met with their lawyer. Any defendant who has hired a private attorney usually meets with their attorney ahead of time, and private defense counsel will usually waive their client's appearance at the pretrial conference.
Change of Plea/Judgment and Sentencing
If a defendant and an attorney reached a plea agreement with the prosecutor and the State at the pretrial conference, the change of plea/judgment and sentencing hearing is the time and the place in which the Defendant will enter a change of plea before the judge. After the change of plea, the judge will immediately proceed to sentencing. The defendant must always be present for a change of plea and judgment and sentencing hearing for ANY DUI.
If a defendant does not agree to enter into a plea agreement, the Court will set a trial date in the case. In Arizona a defendant has a right to a jury trial for a DUI. If a defendant fails to appear for a trial date, then they could be charged with Failure to Appear, and a trial could be conducted without them being present.
Jury Trials are usually set two to three months after the pretrial conference. The State is required to present evidence and witnesses to a prove a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A jury comprised of six persons must reach a unanimous verdict to find a defendant either guilty or not guilty. Even though a defendant does not have the burden of proof, evidence can be presented by the Defendant along with expert witnesses to demonstrate that they were not impaired by alcohol or challenge the reliability of the blood or breath alcohol testing results.
Kingman Arizona is located in Northwest Arizona. Kingman is intersected by Interstate 40 and U.S. 93. Many travelers and tourist go through Kingman on their way to Las Vegas or California. Kingman is the county seat for Mohave County so many state and local law enforcement agencies have their headquarters located here.
Kingman Police Agencies
The Kingman Police Department and the Mohave County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) are the primary law enforcement agencies that conduct DUI arrest in Kingman Arizona. But there are several police and law enforcement agencies that patrol the areas in and around the city limits.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZ DPS) or highway patrol also conduct DUI investigation all over the State but primarily patrol the highways and state routes. Interstate 40 runs east to west through Kingman. U.S. 93 runs North to South into Kingman, and Highway 68 runs northwest of town into Golden Valley. A DUI investigation by the highway patrol is more likely to occur on those highways.
The Mohave County Sheriff's Office patrol the unincorporated areas surrounding Kingman including the Butler area north of Kingman city limits, Golden Valley, Dolan Springs, and Meadview. The sheriff headquarters and jail is located in the Kingman city limits.
The Kingman Police Department (KPD) conducts the majority of DUI investigations within the city limits. The primary commercial business district areas are along Stockton Hill Road. Old Route 66 runs through town along locally named Andy Devine Blvd. Many local bars and restaurants are located in the old downtown section of Kingman on Beale St. These areas are where most traffic patrols are conducted.
The Traffic Stop and the DUI Investigation
It is typical that traffic stops for routine traffic violations turn into full blown DUI investigations. Most traffic and patrol officer will ask a driver if they have been drinking during traffic stops at night. Sometimes a motorist can have no bad driving other than a rolling stop sign violation or a stop bar violation and find themselves becoming a suspect in a DUI investigation.
A police officer will usually ask a driver during a traffic stop if they have been drinking. A police officer will usually inquire if someone has been drinking at night even if they don't detect “an odor of alcohol” or don't observe “bloodshot watery eyes.” An admission of drinking will give the officer probable cause to extend the detention. The normal I just had “two drinks officer” response is usually enough for an officer to ask a driver to step outside their vehicle and conduct field sobriety tests.
The Kingman Police Department uses different types of Standard Field Sobriety Tests even though not all of them are recommended or approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to be used during DUI investigations. These test include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN), the walk and turn test, and the one leg stand test. KPD also uses the Finger to Nose, Finger Count, or Rhomberg Modified (ABC's test) even though they are not approved by NHTSA.
The HGN test is usually the first test that officers perform on a DUI suspect. HGN tests are used to detect the presence of nystagmus in the eyes by tracking how well the subject's pupils can track or follow a stimulus (usually a pen). One of the many causes of nystagmus is alcohol impairment. This test is perceived to be the most objective DUI tests but it requires that the officer be certified to conduct the tests and keep regular logs of past performance of test given and how they compared to subjects tested blood alcohol level (B.A.C.)
The officer will then conduct other field sobriety tests. Remember these are called “Standardized” field sobriety tests. These tests must be explained and conducted the same way each time for the results to even be considered reliable. The officer must explain to the subject how to perform the tests and demonstrate how to do it. Often times subjects perform the test during a variety of testing conditions with uneven surfaces, poor lighting, imaginary lines. The subject is never told what things they will be marked down for not successfully performing the test and there is no criteria for what it means to pass the test.
Suspects are never told that they have the right to refuse any of these field sobriety tests. There is no legal requirement or “miranda warnings” required to notify them that they do not have to perform any of the field sobriety tests requested of them. A suspect will inevitably always incriminate themselves by performing theses tests. The only purpose of these tests is to give the officer probable cause to arrest those suspected of a DUI, and to develop further evidence to be used in court that the suspect was impaired by alcohol close to the time that they were driving or in “actual physical control” of a motor vehicle. Once the officer has probable cause to arrest someone, they are taken to the Kingman Police Department (or the Mohave County Jail) to have the suspect perform a test of their “blood, breath, or urine”.
The Breath Test
When a suspect is arrested for a DUI, under Arizona law they must submit to a test or tests of their “blood, breath, or urine.” These is referred to as the Admin Per Se law. The most common test used by the KPD to test someone of their breath alcohol level is to use an intoxilyzer machine.
The KPD intoxilyzer instrument is located at the Kingman Police Department Jail at 2730 E. Andy Devine Kingman 86401 another intoxilyzer is located at the Mohave County Jail on old Highway 66. A suspect has to be placed under arrest before they are REQUIRED to take the breath test. An officer must have probably cause to arrest someone for a DUI. A driver who operates a motor vehicle on the road automatically “consents” to have their blood, breath, or urine tested if they are suspected of committing a DUI. If a suspect refuses to give a test, their license can be suspended for twelve (12) months by the Arizona Department of Transportation.
The officer will read to the suspect the warnings as described above. These warnings are outlined in a document called the AZ Implied Consent Affidavit. An officer must swear under oath that the facts for the DUI stop are true, and that the warnings were given to the suspect on their requirement to perform the test of their breath or blood alcohol level, and that the notice of suspension was served on the suspect if they performed a test above the legal limit or refused the test.
The machine that is used is called an Intoxilyzer 8000. Regular quality assurance tests must be performed on the instrument on a monthly and quarterly basis. An officer must be trained and licensed to be an operator of the instrument, and follow an operation checklist for each subject tests. An observational period must be performed by the officer to insure that the suspect has no residual mouth alcohol. The machine must also perform a calibration test before and after each subject tests. If a test is marked as “successful” a printout is made of the results.
Legally a suspect may be required to submit to multiple tests. Most agencies including KPD do not use urine test with individuals but blood tests are sometimes performed. If a suspect refuses a breath test a search warrant could be obtained to force a blood draw. A suspect might then be taken to the Kingman Regional Medical Center where a phlebotomist would perform a blood draw. Sometimes blood test are requested because it is suspected that the driver may have been using illegal drugs. A blood tests is the only reliable method to measure the quantities and levels of drugs in the blood system.
The blood sample is packaged and sent to the crime lab for further analysis. Blood samples are analyzed by the Arizona Department of Public Safety Western Regional Crime Lab. The crime lab itself is actually housed at the Lake Havasu City Police Department. Result from the crime lab can take several weeks or months to be processed.
There are several penalties and consequences that are unique for getting a DUI in Kingman Arizona.
If a Defendant can loose their privilege to drive a motor vehicle due to a DUI if they are served with an Admin Notice of Suspension (civil suspension) or If they convicted of a DUI (criminal suspension).
A Defendant who is served with an Admin Per Se Form must request a hearing with MVD within 15 days or their privilege to drive a motor vehicle will be automatically suspended. If they do request a hearing, a defendant may drive until that hearing is conducted and a determination is made that the Defendant was above the legal limit or whether they refused to submit to breath test.
A Defendant that requests an Admin Per Se hearing in Kingman will have their hearing conducted at the Administrative Hearing Office in Kingman. The hearing is held at the Kingman MVD Office at 3670 E. Andy Devine, Kingman AZ 86401. KPD police officers and law enforcement are required to attend the hearing, which is conducted via video conference with an administrative law judge in Phoenix.
A Defendant may also loose their privilege to drive if they plea guilty or are convicted of a DUI at trial. At sentencing the Kingman Municipal Court or the Kingman Justice Court will notify MVD with an “abstract” that reports the DUI conviction. MVD will then process the information and mail a notice of suspension in the mail after the criminal conviction.
Fines and Fees:
The mandatory sentencing guidelines for the State of Arizona obviously apply for a DUI committed in Kingman. It is however common that fines in the Kingman Municipal Court or the Kingman/Cerbat Justice Court do not regularly exceed the mandatory minimum fines. A regular minimum DUI fine for a first time DUI is typically $1,500.00 which includes surcharges and assessments (Extreme and Super Extreme DUI fines are higher.)
Jail fess are also imposed on defendants convicted of a DUI. These fee include a $62 booking fee, and $69 per day. A thirty day jail sentence for an Extreme DUI would costs $2,132.00 in jail fees alone.
If you are convicted of a DUI in Kingman Arizona you will be ordered to serve that jail time at the Mohave County Jail. The Kingman Justice Court and the city court both order defendants to serve jail time at that facility.
Mohave County Jail
501 Historic Rte 66, Kingman, AZ 86401 : Phone:(928) 753-0759
The Mohave County jail has a work release program if the Judge orders a defendant eligible for that program. Offenses such as Extreme or Super Extreme DUI, a long mandatory jail sentences that a defendant may request work release to complete.
Alcohol Treatment and Counseling:
A defendant is required to attend Alcohol Treatment and Counseling as a term of probation when they are convicted of a DUI, or if the driver's privileges are suspended for a DUI in order for them to get their privileges reinstated for a restricted license.
The Court System:
The Court system is run by a number of different components and agencies that serve different roles in the judicial process. After a police agency investigates a DUI and submits an Arizona Criminal Complaint with the court, the criminal judicial process begins.
There are two courts of limited jurisdiction whose jurisdiction is in the Kingman area. These courts include the Kingman Municipal Court for offenses committed inside the Kingman city limits, and the Kingman/Cerbat Justice Court for offenses committed in the unincorporated areas surrounding Kingman (including Golden Valley, Butler, Mead View, and Dolan Springs).
Prosecutors are lawyers who represent the state government throughout the court process. Prosecutors review the police reports made the law enforcement agencies and make final decisions about criminal charges filed by the police. Prosecutors present evidence in court, question witnesses, and decide whether to negotiate plea agreements with defendants or their attorneys. Prosecutors have some discretion on how to prosecute a DUI case. In Kingman, there are two distinct prosecuting agencies.
The Kingman City Attorney's Office.
DUIs that are committed in the Kingman city limits are brought before the Municipal Court. The prosecutors for cases in the Municipal Court work at the Kingman City Attorney's Office.
The City Attorney's Office handles legal affairs for the City of Kingman. Currently there are two full-time assistant city attorneys that exclusively handle and prosecute criminal cases for the city. These prosecutors include Lee F. Hocking (admitted to the AZ Bar in 2002) and Daniel B. Noble (admitted to the Arizona Bar in 2011).
The Mohave County Attorney's Office.
DUIs that are committed in the outlining areas outside of the Kingman City limits, such as the unincorporated areas on Interstate 40, U.S. 93, Golden Valley, Meadview, Dolan Springs are brought before the Justice Court. The prosecutors for cases in the Justice Court are part of the Mohave County Attorney's Office. The main office for the Mohave County Attorney is in the county seat of Kingman but it has some satellite offices in Bullhead City, and an office at the Lake Havasu City Police Department.
The Defense Attorneys:
Whitney and Whitney:
The Law Firm of Whitney and Whitney. PLLC is contracted by the city of Kingman to provide indigent defendants with criminal representation in DUI cases. The City does this in lieu of and instead of creating and funding a full public defender's office. If a defendant cannot afford an attorney, the Whitney and Whitney law firm would be appointed to represent them in DUI cases that occur inside the City Limits.
Mohave County Public Defender:
The Mohave County Public Defender is appointed to provide Defendants in the justice court legal representation for DUI cases. These are for cases that occur outside the City Limits or cases that are filed in the justice court. An indigent defendant is someone who cannot afford to hire their own private attorney. Anyone who is facing jail time (like a DUI case) must be appointed a public defender if they cannot afford to hire their own attorney.
Important Note: A public defender will not handle a civil Admin Per Se hearing with ADOT/MVD. The civil case to suspend a license for an Admin Per Se Hearing is beyond the scope of the criminal case in which a public defender is appointed for.
Magistrate Jeffrey Singer:
The Honorable Jeffrey Singer was appointed by the Kingman City Council to become the magistrate for the Kingman Municipal Court in June 2014. Judge Singer was appointed to replace the retired Judge McCoy. Judge Singer was previously a special district court and municipal court judge in Oklahoma. Judge Singer attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Tulsa College of Law.
Justice of the Peace John Taylor:
The Honorable John Taylor was elected as the first Justice of the Peace for the Cerbat Justice Court in 1998. Judge Taylor is a former prosecutor and worked as a deputy county attorney for the Mohave County Attorney's Office in Kingman. Judge Taylor attended Marshal University and the University of Toledo College of Law.
Justice of the Peace Dave Huerta:
The Honorable Dave Huerta was appointed as the Kingman Justice of the Peace in April 2013. Judge Huerta previously worked as a law enforcement officer for the Arizona Department of Public Safety for twenty five years as a patrol officer and narcotics detective with M.A.G.N.E.T. (Mohave Area General Narcotics Enforcement Team.)
Associate Magistrate Julia Van Arsdale:
The Honorable Julia Van Arsdale is an associate magistrate judge for the Kingman Municipal Court. Judge Van Arsdale regularly convenes court hearings in the Kingman Municipal Court. Judge Van Arsdale is a former deputy mohave county attorney. Judge Van Arsdale attended the University of Arizona College of Law and was admitted into the Arizona Bar in 1991.
We Can Help?
I have been practicing criminal law in Mohave County for over fifteen years. As a Deputy County Attorney I prosecuted cases in the Kingman/Cerbat Justice Court. I worked frequently with police officers and detective at the Kingman City Police Department, Mohave County Sheriff's Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety and criminalist at the AZ DPS Western Regional Crime Lab. I prosecuted hundreds of DUI cases.
As a defense attorney I frequently represent individuals charged with DUI in the Kingman/Cerbat Justice Court and the Kingman Municipal Court. I have been specially appointed on many occasions by the Kingman Municipal Court to represent conflict indigent cases on the court's behalf. I have faced many of the same prosecutors for almost a decade since I have been in private practice. I have appeared in court or in trial before all magistrates and justices of the peace in Kingman Arizona.
DUI investigations have some of the most complex steps for the police from a scientific and legal perspective. An experienced DUI attorney can effectively spot issues and defenses that could mitigate a jail sentence or possibly get a case dismissed or the charges reduced. My office wants to help get your life back on track and try to mitigate the impact a DUI arrest can have on your life.
Call Us Immediately To Help You With Your DUI Case.
Contact us for a case evaluation. We can assist you will all stages of the proceeding and request an MVD hearing within fifteen days of your arrest.
We can be reached at 928-753-6868.