Category Archives: carlaw

Celebrity DUIs and other car criminals

There are tens of thousands of DUI arrests per year in AZ (39,746 in 2013 to be more precise). And that’s not counting the many of the over ten thousand hit-and-run drivers reported each year in AZ (11,402 in 2010 to be more precise), all of whom are criminals, thousands of them serious felons, few of whom are ever caught or charged. (hit-and-run from a collision with any injury is a felony, if the injury is serious or fatal the felony is likewise serious). Continue reading Celebrity DUIs and other car criminals

The REAL ID kerfluffle

In 2007 (or was it 2008; it was the 48th 2nd regular session) the state of Arizona inserted a new law into the transportation code that specifcally prevents ADOT (“the department”) from issuing DLs or IDs (i.e. motor vehicle drivers licenses, or in the case of non-drivers, state issued identification cards) that complied with federal REAL ID requirements. HB2677

The bill created statute 28-336. Continue reading The REAL ID kerfluffle

Man Pleads Guilty in Street Racing Fatality

Flowers adorn the central Phoenix wall on April 8 that a car rammed through following a wreck involving teen drivers in late March. The victim, Octavio Grijalva Herrera, died from his injuries.(Photo: Randsom Rockliffe / The Republic)
Flowers adorn the central Phoenix wall on April 8 that a car rammed through following a wreck involving teen drivers in late March. The victim, Octavio Grijalva Herrera, died from his injuries.(Photo: Randsom Rockliffe / The Republic)

See man-killed-while-mowing-the-grass for background on the March 26, 2014 incident.

Correction (earlier rant removed): The hit and run involved the other alleged racing driver (Chavez),   Gonzalez did not hit and run… Continue reading Man Pleads Guilty in Street Racing Fatality

Vehicular Assault

Arizona has no such crime, nor do we have a vehicular homicide statue. You’ve either assaulted someone or not; if you use a vehicle in an assault, you will be charged with aggravated assault, a serious felony. These cases far more commonly involve impaired drivers — an impaired driver who causes a crash w/injury are routinely charged with aggravated assault; e.g. the driver in the pedicab incident (sentenced to 4 years in prison). However from time to time, there are drivers who are just plain angry over something or other.

There’s a mis-conception that assault, §13-1203 requires causing actual physical  injury; but that is not the case, merely “Intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury” creates the crime of assault. And aggravated assault  §13-1204 is just an assault committed with some listed factor; in cases involving a motor vehicle: “If the person uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument”, or if the victim is seriously injured regardless of how.

[ Also see  §13-1201, and  §13-1202 which are the crimes of “Endangerment”, and “Threatening or intimidating”, respectively. These all sort of play together, note the statute numbering: 1201,2,3,4 ]. They are in rough-order of escalating seriousness:

Also, in case you were wondering:

28-3304. Mandatory revocation of license; definition
A. In addition to the grounds for mandatory revocation provided.. the department shall immediately revoke the license of a driver…
1. A homicide or aggravated assault resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle. [effectively this causes a 3 year revocation per 28-3315E1]

Indicia of Criminality

Any incident must be considered in total; however, one or more of these actions by a driver may indicate criminal intentions, and not merely infractions. The more indications the more likely there was criminal intent. Note these indicators have little in particular to do with bicyclists, and are more-or-less the same as any road rage situation

  • Repeated or prolonged horn activation
  • Activating horn while stopped
  • Changing lanes repeatedly
  • Changing lanes to become impeded
  • Failure to drive within one lane (“Straddling” lanes)
  • Failure to change lanes when another lane is available
  • Passing too closely
  • Driving too slowly / Slowing or braking after passing
  • Surging (speeding up then slowing down)
  • Any Reckless or Aggressive Driving
  • Shouting
  • Causing extra noise (revving engine)
  • Backing / returning to the scene of an incident
  • Leaving the scene of a crash (“hit-and-run“)

This content was moved from comment on related article in-the-presence-requirement

Harassment

Arizona has a criminal harassment law, it doesn’t appear to be particularly applicable to motorists who harass others on the road:

 §13-2921 Harassment; classification; definition

E.g. would or could unwanted and otherwise illegal repeated horn-blowing or screaming qualify as “with intent to harass (by) … causes(ing) a communication…”?

In the context of bicyclists, see CA Attorney Seth Davidson’s article Report Card, where he stresses the need, neigh duty, to report such behaviors, which are nothing more or less than using a dangerous instrument to commit a crime.

Some Arizona Cases of Drivers Charged Criminally in Arizona

Here are the curious cases of Theresa Depiero and Holly Solomon Continue reading Vehicular Assault

Today’s car-crime wrapup

remember, these are only the most-sensational ones; there were undoubtedly dozens of hit and runs, and various other assorted DUIs, serious injuries, and deaths.

In Avondale (Phoenix metro area, “west valley”)

Police: Meth fueled high-speed chase with children in car / A routine traffic stop in the West Valley took a violent turn on Wednesday night after police said a man shoved a woman out of a car and led officers on a high-speed chase down 75th Avenue with the woman’s children in the car, according to court records. Avondale police initially tried to stop the car 35-year-old Stewart Galligan…

Meanwhile in Scottsdale

Video shows suspect ramming Scottsdale police / The driver of an SUV whom police shot Thursday in a Safeway parking lot near Hayden and Chaparral roads twice tried to ram his way out of a trap, based on surveillance video released Friday by the Scottsdale Police Department…. The surveillance video shows at least a half-dozen police vehicles converging on the SUV. Officers exit their vehicles and quickly approach the SUV, which the driver puts in reverse and slams into a police vehicle. Several seconds pass before the SUV pulls forward slightly. The driver then puts the SUV in reverse, and again rams a police vehicle…

 

Road rage: on-duty Phx police officer arrested

[2/19/2015; Officer Sweet plead guilty to one count of disorderly conduct. Sentenced to probation Mar 26, the judge said “Probably the greatest loss for [Sweet] is the loss of being on the police department and that he’ll never be a police officer again in the state of Arizona” ]

Road rage really does make some people do wacky stuff.

Oiy: an older gentleman (age? maybe 60?) and his neighbor were on their way to Monday morning Mass when they got into a road rage incident with the driver of van. The driver of the van, as things turn out, is an on-duty Phoenix Police officer transporting some prisoners in an unmarked van. Anyway, the police officer ended up pulling his gun; and he, the police officer, has since been arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault. This is a huge charge so it will be interesting to see how that turns out.

A couple of interesting points; the case apparently involves surveillance video (it would make sense the van has that) — this will be interesting video to watch.

The police officer after the “stop” drove off. The occupants of the other vehicle immediately made a police report — this is key to not let road-bullies slide, whoever they are.

The arrested police officer was 51-year-old Jeremy Sweet. In the other car were former state legislator “Ruiz and his passenger, fellow churchgoer Monica Rivera”.

azcentral — Phoenix man: Officer made me fear for my life

 

How many infractions have you committed today?

In no particular order…

Driver making a left turn at a right-turn-only.

Drivers must obey all traffic control devices; this is a catch-all for official signage and striping which doesn’t have a specific statute.  §28-644 Drivers tend to ignore signage which doesn’t suit their desires. Like the driver pictured, there is a steady stream of illegal movements at this driveway (and in case you were wondering, yes the sign is an “official” TCD, duly authorized by, in this case, the city of Phoenix) (also, in case you were wondering, this is not an “official” stop sign. A complete stop before crossing the sidewalk is always required when emerging from a driveway)

Continue reading How many infractions have you committed today?

Coco Co and Flagstaff impose varying cell bans while driving

In April, Coconino County supervisors voted to ban cell use by drivers, including talking and texting — with the perennial exclusion for hands free devices.  azdailysun.com. It is a primary offense; and there’s some sort of six month grace period.

Somewhat confusingly, the City of Flagstaff council has passed a city texting ban (that is texting only, and mum on any other aspect of cell use) — the city is within Coconino County. “prohibits drivers and bicycle riders from texting, emailing or using an instant message program to send or read a message while the vehicle is in motion. Drivers and cyclists are allowed to text or email while stopped for a red light, waiting for a train to pass or pulled over on the side of the road.  The ban becomes law on Aug. 15, but the city is offering a six-month grace period” azdailysun.. The way it apparently works is the city (Flagstaff) has “opted out” of Coconino County’s ban and created their own, less stringent, ban — on texting only.

Continue reading Coco Co and Flagstaff impose varying cell bans while driving