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Tag Archives: Law Office of Gonzales & Poirier
Ambien DUI

How Ambien Puts You Under the Influence

Ambien DUI

Ambien, also known by its generic name, Zolpidem, acts as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. When you take Ambien, your brain activity slows down, allowing insomnia sufferers to get some much needed sleep. However, drugs that act as CNS depressants can have some serious side effects in regard to your memory and motor function. When brain activity is slowed down due to a CNS depressant, the parts of your brain responsible for memory, motor skills, and decision-making are slowed down too.

Combined with the changes in your brain during sleep — or worse, when taken with another depressant, like alcohol — this drug can lead you to engage in dangerous behavior that you may not even be aware of and will likely not remember in the morning.

Sleep walking, sleep eating, and even sleep sex are not uncommon side effects of Ambien, but unfortunately, these sleep behaviors don’t end there. Some insomnia sufferers taking Ambien wake up behind the wheel of a car with police lights flashing in the rearview mirror. “Sleep drivers” perform the complex task of driving while in a half-conscious state between sleeping and waking. Motor function impairment makes sleep driving incredibly dangerous. Sleep drivers are often discovered running into parked cars or driving the wrong way on one-way roads and freeways. Some sleep drivers are even completely unconscious when this behavior occurs.

Sleep drivers charged with driving under the influence often ask, “How can I be held responsible for a DUI when I didn’t even know what I was doing?” That’s a complex question with answers that vary depending on the exact details of your case. In Arizona, voluntarily taking a substance that impairs your ability to drive — even if you didn’t intend to get behind the wheel — makes you accountable for a DUI, despite being unable to remember it later.

The second question sleep drivers ask is, “How can I get in trouble for taking a medication prescribed by my doctor?” While other states limit DUI charges to illicit substances and alcohol, Arizona does not make such a distinction. In fact, Zolpidem is specifically listed as a “dangerous drug” by statute 13-3401. Any amount of Zolpidem in your system puts you legally under the influence of a dangerous substance. This law makes it difficult to defend yourself against DUI charges without legal counsel, even when you’re simply following your doctor’s orders.

That being said, you can still fight Ambien DUI charges — and win your case. A defense attorney with experience trying Ambien DUI cases can help you develop a case that may limit the consequences of this type of charge. The fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently recommended lowering doses is also an asset to defendants, as judges increasingly become aware of the involuntary risks of this drug. Courts are also increasingly marking the distinction between amnesia and unconsciousness while driving under the influence. Amnesia implies that the driver was aware of his or her actions and later forgot, while unconscious drivers took the wheel without any awareness or control of his or her behavior and therefore can’t be held entirely responsible.

Other Ambien DUI cases arise when law enforcement officers order a urine or blood test to establish whether or not a driver was under the influence. If this test reveals any amount of Ambien, you may still receive a DUI, even if you’re not impaired. However, legal precedent has recently tipped in favor of the driver in these situations. In a recent Arizona case, a medical expert informed the court that although the DUI defendant had an involuntary eye-jerk reaction during a sobriety test, Ambien could cause this eye dysfunction without causing any driving impairment.

Each Flagstaff DUI attorney at the Law Offices of Gonzales & Poirier has a high-level understanding of the unique issues associated with Ambien DUI cases. If you’ve been charged with an Ambien-related DUI that you may not even remember, contact our office to find out how we can help you achieve the most beneficial outcome for your case.

indecent exposure

Indecent Exposure

indecent exposure

This relates to a person who exposes his/her genitals or anus and when a female exposes the nipple or areola of her breast in the presence of another person without regard for how that individual perceives the act. If the person who witnessed the crime is under the age of 15, the defendant can be charged with a class 6 felony.

public sexual indecency

Public Sexual Indecency

public sexual indecency

This occurs when a person intentionally engages in sexual contact , bestiality or oral sexual contact in the presence of another individual in a manner which suggests the defendant is reckless about whether the other party is alarmed or offended by this act. If the witness is under the age of 15, this crime is classified as a class 5 felony.

dui-without-driving

The Risks of DUI Without Driving

dui-without-driving

In many states, those accused of driving under the influence can face severe legal penalties. For most individuals, being accused of driving under the influence usually conjures up the notion that driving a vehicle must be involved. However, like many states, Arizona has altered its DUI laws. Now, to be guilty of a DUI, you only need to be “controlling” a vehicle. To protect your interests, it is important to understand what constitutes a DUI and the risks involved in being accused of a DUI. So our staff of DUI lawyers in Flagstaff, Arizona, help explain.

The Non-Driving DUI

Under Arizona Revised Statute 28-1381, to be accused of a DUI, you need to only be in “actual physical control of a vehicle” while intoxicated. The source of intoxication can be liquor, drugs, a vapor-releasing object containing a toxic substance, or any combination of these substances. The main issue with the element of “control” is that the state of Arizona has had some difficulty in defining exactly what “controlling” a vehicle means.

In a recent Arizona Supreme Court decision in State v. Zaragoza, the court attempted to clarify the statute. In the decision, the court identified that a person’s intent in regard to driving the vehicle is irrelevant. The relevant element is whether there is actual and imminent danger to the driver or to others while the person is in control of the vehicle. Other important considerations are whether the car was running, the radio was on, the keys were in the ignition, the heater or air conditioner was running, and if the driver’s seat was reclined. Overall, the court will typically examine all of the facts to determine whether you were in control of the vehicle.

The Legal Risks of a DUI

Those accused of a standard DUI often face severe legal consequences if found guilty. You face penalties from both the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles and Arizona’s criminal court. The most likely immediate consequences are license suspension and hefty fines. In terms of legal consequences in criminal court, standard DUIs can lead to 10 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,250, required alcohol screening, community service, and an ignition interlock device.

The legal risks of a DUI increase if you are found guilty of an extreme DUI. According to Arizona Revised Statute 28-1381, an extreme DUI is when you have a blood alcohol level above .15. The penalties for this type of DUI include at least 90 days in jail, a fine of $3,000, driver’s license revocation for 12 months, completion of a drug and alcohol screening program, community service, and an ignition interlock. Another significant factor in terms of legal risk is whether the DUI is your first or second offense. If the DUI is a second offense, the legal risks increase.

Summary

If you have been accused of a DUI, getting the right legal support is crucial to your case. A Flagstaff DUI attorney will be able to analyze your case and help you avoid the severe legal consequences involved in being found guilty of a DUI. If you are looking for a DUI lawyer in the Flagstaff or Northern Arizona area, then the law firm of Gonzales & Poirier can provide you with the legal support you need. With our

medical-malpractice

The Dangers of Misdiagnosis

medical-malpractice

Receiving medical care from a medical professional is meant to be a safe and positive experience. However, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis, an estimated 10 to 20 percent of cases are misdiagnosed, and a large percentage of these diagnostic errors are life-threatening. Another common problem is delayed diagnosis. Each of these categories is characterized as medical negligence. In and around Flagstaff, medical malpractice occurs when medical professionals fail to apply a standard of care in handling a client’s health needs, and they can be held legally liable for their actions. To help you better understand these issues, below is an overview of such failure to diagnose and delayed diagnosis.

Failure to Diagnose

When you visit your medical care professional, you are entrusting him or her with the responsibility to diagnose any medical issues you may have and provide you with adequate care. While there are some cases where a failure to diagnose is trivial, there are other cases where a medical care professional can be held liable. More serious instances include those that involve diabetes, cancer, and other commonly understood medical problems. The risks involved with misdiagnosis can include serious health implications and emotional distress.

Claims involving a failure to diagnose require the patient to prove three elements. The patient must prove the existence of a doctor-patient relationship, that the medical professional was negligent, and the negligence directly caused the patient harm. To help satisfy the burden of proof, expert witnesses are a highly valuable resource that may be used.

Delayed Diagnosis

Delayed diagnosis also accounts for a number of medical negligence claims. This type of issue occurs when a medical professional fails to correctly diagnose a serious medical condition. Typically, delayed diagnosis occurs due to negligence on behalf of the medical professional. The risks involved with delayed diagnosis are similar to a failure to diagnose. For instance, victims of delayed diagnosis can experience an injury or a stage of disease that would not have occurred had the medical professional diagnosed the disease in a timely manner. The most devastating consequences of a delayed diagnosis are severe physical consequences or even death. Similar to a failure to diagnose, the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff. The plaintiff must provide sufficient evidence that the medical professional’s negligence in delaying diagnosis caused a loss of chance or further injury.

Statute of Limitations in Arizona

Medical negligence claims are most effective when they are filed immediately after the injury or as early as possible because evidence of injury is often still clear. To help protect the interests of the parties and to curtail the need for expert testimony, Arizona Revised Statute 12-206 requires malpractice actions to be filed less than two years after the date of injury.

If you are the victim of medical negligence or a wrongful death, seeking the help of a legal professional at the onset of your injury is to your benefit. The Law Offices of Gonzales & Poirier are dedicated to providing you with the legal support you need, and our trustworthy Flagstaff malpractice lawyers serve the Northern Arizona area. Reaching out today can help you gain a better tomorrow.

assault

When Intimacy Gets Complicated

assault

Victims of sexual assault face devastating consequences for their ordeal. Oftentimes, victims struggle to regain a sense of physical and emotional security, and they can develop a range of disorders and depression. If you or someone you love has been the victim of sexual assault, then understanding how your state treats the crime against you can help when it comes to seeking legal recourse. Every state tends to treat sexual assault differently by providing its own guidelines as to what constitutes sexual assault and what does not. If you have been the victim of sexual assault in the state of Arizona, below is an overview of what conditions constitute sexual assault.

Perpetrators of Sexual Assault

According to Arizona’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Program, the state has seen a rise in the total number of sexual assault arrest charges. In the past 10 years, there has been a 24 percent increase in sexual assault charges, which means that victims are gaining the empowerment and support they need to take the necessary legal recourse against their assailants. Current statistics also indicate that, unfortunately, two-thirds of assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. Furthermore, 44 percent of victims are under the age of 18, and 80 percent are under age 30.

In the state of Arizona, sexual assault is treated as a criminal offense. Under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1406, sexual assault is a class 2 felony. First-time offenders can face a minimum of 5.25 years in prison and a maximum of 14 years in prison. Prior convictions warrant much more severe penalties, which typically lead to an increased prison sentence.

Intimacy or Sexual Assault

Differentiating between intimacy and sexual assault can be very difficult. However, there are two significant factors that affect whether an encounter is intimate or sexual assault. These factors are the victim’s consent and his or her age. First, an individual is a victim of sexual assault if the assailant knowingly engages in sexual intercourse or oral sexual conduct with them without their consent. The second instance, which involves age, is characterized as statutory rape if the victim is a minor under the age of 15 and the assailant is an adult.

The Burden of Proof

When it comes to cases of sexual assault, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. The prosecution must provide evidence and witnesses to prove that the defendant committed a crime. One major difficulty that most courts and victims face is navigating this dilemma when alcohol is involved. Alcohol makes satisfying the burden of proof more difficult, because intoxication tends to cloud judgment and prevents parties from recounting the exact course of events that led to the assault.

Legal Recourse

If you or someone you love has been accused of or is the victim of sexual assault in the state of Arizona, the Law Offices of Gonzales and Poirier can provide you with the legal support you need. Our Flagstaff criminal law firm caters to clients throughout our community and the Northern Arizona area. We can help you navigate through this difficult period to help you get the justice you deserve.

Speeding Infractions in Arizona FAQs

Woman Receiving Speeding Ticket in Arizona

If you’ve received a speeding ticket in Arizona, you may also have questions regarding the charges. If so, continue reading our collection of FAQs in regards to traffic fines and penalties.


The Law Office of Gonzales & Poirier is located in beautiful Flagstaff, Arizona. Flagstaff is the crossroads for two major interstates, I-17 and I-40. It also is a travel destination for millions of people around the world who stop for a visit on their way to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, or Las Vegas. If your coming to visit Flagstaff you most likely will arrive by car. If you arrive by car you need to make sure you follow all applicable traffic laws. If you do obtain a traffic ticket, the Law Office of Gonzales & Poirier can help you. Call 928-774-5400 and ask to speak to Tony, Matt, or Daniel. Remember traffic infractions could have serious consequences towards your right to drive.

Q&A – Arizona Traffic Offenses

Below are commonly asked questions related to traffic offenses.

Q. Do I need an attorney for a civil traffic or criminal traffic offense?

A. Traffic offense can be simple or extremely complicated and you may need an attorney to protect your rights and driving privileges. After reading this FAQ, if you feel you need an attorney immediately contact the Law Offices of Gonzales and Poirier L.L.C. to speak to one of our three experienced criminal/traffic attorney’s.

 

Q. I received a civil traffic citation, what can I do?

A. You can do the following:

  • Attend defensive driving school
  • Admit responsibility and pay the civil penalty
  • Deny responsibility and request a hearing

 

Q. What happens if I attend defensive driving school?

A. If you eligible to attend defensive driving school, you will not have to make a court appearance if you attend the class before your scheduled court date. If you fail to attend defensive driving school before your court date you must appear in court and request permission to attend driving school.

 

Q. Am I eligible to take defensive driving school for my traffic ticket?

A. In order to be eligible for defensive driving course you must meet certain requirements:

  • You have not attended a defensive driving course for a traffic citation within the past 24 months
  • Your citation must be eligible for defensive driving course
  • You may only attend for one violation only
  • You must complete the course at least 7 days prior to your court date
  • If you have a commercial driver’s license you are not eligible to attend Defensive Driving School

 

Q. I am from out of state are there additional requirements I must fulfill?

A. The above factors apply and you must also:

  • Contact an Arizona Certified Defensive Driving School
  • You may take an internet class
  • You may return to Arizona to take the class
  • You can attend a class in your home state only if it is coordinated through an Arizona Certified School

 

Q. Where can I attend defensive driving school for Coconino County?

A. This is a list of certified defensive driving schools accepted in Coconino County:

  • Verde Valley Defensive Driving School 928-284-2190 (English)
  • Roadrunner Traffic School 623-398-6590 602-441-3866 (English)
  • 2 Go 2 Defensive Driving 520-449-8788 (English), 855-218-2007 (Spanish)
  • U-Save…Easy 4U…Fun 2 Arizona Defensive Driving Online 888-554-7659, 877-347-5178 (English)
  • TrafficSchoolOnline.com 877-805-0005, 800-800-3579 (English)
  • Arizona Traffic Schools, LLC 480-857-4000 (English), 520-792-0400 (Spanish)
  • EZ AZ Traffic School 877-303-3929 (English), 520-207-3200 (Spanish)
  • National Traffic Safety Institute 520-547-2500 (English), 800-726-6874 (Spanish)
  • Arizona-Express In-N-Out Defensive Driving Online 800-554-2718, 888-554-2718 (English)

 

Q. What if I have a civil traffic violation and I deny responsibility and request a hearing?

A. You will have a civil traffic trial in front of a judge. The officer who issued you a ticket will be subpoenaed to testify and give evidence against you and you may present evidence. The judge will either find you responsible or not responsible. If found responsible you will be assessed a fine and MVD will be notified of the offense.

 

Q. What if I admit responsibility and pay the civil penalty?

A. You can pay the listed fine and mail the payment to the court before your court date or appear on your court date and pay the fine.

 

Q. What laws apply to traffic offenses?

A. Arizona has special Rules of Procedure in Traffic Cases and Boating Cases.

 

Q. What happens if I have a criminal traffic violation?

A. You must appear before a judge for your initial appearance at which time you can:

  • Plead guilty, meaning you admit that you committed the crime on the ticket
  • Plead not guilty, meaning you deny you committed the crime

 

Q. I just plead guilty for a criminal traffic violation, what are the consequences?

A. The court can impose:

  • A fine
  • Suspension or restriction of your driving privileges
  • Jail
  • Community service
  • Court-ordered education classes
  • Notify MVD that you plead guilty to a traffic offense, which could result in points on your driving record

 

Q. I just plead not guilty for a criminal traffic violation, what happens next?

A. The court can either set:

  • A pre-trial conference where you meet with the prosecutor and a plea may be given
  • Set it for trial where the State will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the offense

 

Q. What happens at a criminal traffic trial?

A. A trial is held before a judge and the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt with evidence that you committed the crime. After the prosecutor “rests” his case the defendant has the opportunity to present evidence. After the trial the judge will find you either guilty or not guilty.

 

Q. What rights do I have in a criminal traffic trial?

A. You have the following rights guaranteed under the US Constitution:

  • The right to a trial before a judge
  • The right to be represented by an attorney at all stages of your case
  • The right to confront and cross-examine witnesses as to the truthfulness of their testimony
  • Right to subpoena witnesses
  • The right to remain silent
  • The right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt
  • The right to an appeal

 

Q. What if I fail to appear at court or fail to pay my fine?

A. If you fail to appear or fail to pay a fine a judgment can be entered against you, a warrant for you arrest may be issues and the court will report your failure to appear/pay to MVD and direct your license be suspended.

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