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What Is The Shelter Rule Defense In Arizona?

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What Is The Shelter Rule In Arizona?

The shelter rule basically says that if someone has alcohol or drugs in their system, the legislature does not want to discourage them from realizing while they are driving, “Hey, you know what? I probably shouldn’t be driving right now.” They do not want to discourage people from stopping and pulling over to the side of the road and being safe.

The shelter rule says that if you are using your car because you are stranded and impaired and you do not have a safe way to get home, you are allowed to use your car for shelter while you sober up. The State does not want to give an incentive for people to say, “Well, I can’t stay here and sleep my buzz off in my car because if I do, I will get a DUI.” What the shelter rule says, is that if you can establish that you were using the car just to sleep off your buzz until you are safe to drive, that can be a defense in DUI cases. It is not a black and white rule, however. Prosecutors honestly hate this rule. They will try everything in their power to still get a conviction against an individual who was sleeping off a buzz in their car, but it is an available defense for a defense attorney who is skilled in that area.

Talking about how a DUI is defined and bringing the shelter rule into this discussion brings about a good point that criminal litigation, including DUI, is fact based litigation. What that means is you really must align the specific facts up to the elements of the defense. If they fit, then it meets the statute. With something like the shelter rule, that is going to be a very fact specific case. The prosecutors and police officers that investigate this case are oftentimes going to ignore this defense. It is only with the help of an aggressive and skilled defense attorney that this defense can effectively be used.

If someone finds them in a situation where they are driving and they realize, “I shouldn’t be driving,” it is recommended that they pull to a safe place, ideally a parking lot or somewhere that you have the right to be. You should pull into a safe location, turn off your car and put the keys away from you, like somewhere in the trunk. Obviously, you want to make sure you can still access them and they do not get stuck in there, but put the keys somewhere that would indicate to a police officer that you really have no intention of driving. If you pull over and you leave your car running, it makes it difficult to use the shelter rule. In Arizona, you can imagine that sometimes it can be over one hundred degrees outside, so it makes sense to have the air conditioner running. Just know that the more you can do to show that you do not intend to drive, the easier it is going to be to establish that defense.

If you need information about the Shelter Rule Defense in Arizona DUI Cases, call the law office of Tait & Hall for a FREE Initial Consultation at (480) 405-6767 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

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