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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – According to police reports, state representative David Burnell Smith was accused of driving under the influence of alcohol in north Scottsdale on October 21. He faces two counts of driving under the influence and one of making an unsafe lane change.
Smith, a personal-injury attorney at Smith Law Firm in Scottsdale, who is an Arizona legislature, is a Republican who represents northeast Phoenix, Carefree, Cave Creek and northwest Scottsdale. He also specializes in DUI and DWI arrest defenses, as mentioned on his company website.
Police reports confirm that a motorist driving on Pima Road reported an erratic driver on the road at 6:57 p.m. driving a late-model Chrysler 300. The officer responded to it, found a car matching the description and asked him to pull over about 7:30 p.m. in the area of Pima and Lone Mountain roads. The vehicle was swerving in and out of its lane, moving into oncoming traffic on a two-lane stretch of Pima Road. However, when asked to pull over, the driver stopped the car abruptly, 2 to 3 feet of the roadway, almost in the middle of Pima Road, just north of Westland Road.
When the police officer approached him, Smith identified himself as a state representative and appeared to invoke legislative immunity. He stumbled out of the car and denied drinking alcohol and said that he “only had mouthwash” two hours earlier. When the officer asked him to submit to a breathalyzer, he asked the officer, “Do you know who I am?”
According to records, Smith could not have claimed legislative immunity legally as the Legislature is not in session. He ran for re-election to the House this year, but lost.
The officer also tried to administer a field sobriety test, which Smith refused. The officer then called another officer to assist him with the arrest. When he was handcuffed, Smith agreed to a breath test but still refused the standard field sobriety tests. However, when the officers tried to administer a breathalyzer, Smith inhaled several times initially, rather than exhaling, causing error readings on the breathalyzer.
Smith was arrested on suspicion of DUI and was transported to Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center for a blood test. His blood alcohol level came out to be 0.137 percent, almost twice of Arizona’s legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Smith faces arraignment Wednesday in Scottsdale Municipal Court. However, neither Smith, nor Arizona House Speaker, Andy Tobin, could be reached immediately for comment.