MONTICELLO, AZ — Erick H Yazzie, a resident of Phoenix, Arizona was drunk and driving a stolen car when he killed another driver in a head-on crash south of Moab in April, according to San Juan County prosecutors.
The thirty two year old left a restaurant on April 21 on the roadside without paying for his meal, stole a car and was “fleeing from Moab” when he slammed into a sport-utility vehicle about 15 miles south of town on state Route 191, according to charging documents.
The driver of the SUV, 57-year-old Filemon “Phil” Montoya of Sweetwater, Texas, was killed in the crash, while Yazzie sustained critical injuries. According to reports, Yazzie was given a sobriety test, the results of which indicated that he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.21, which is nearly three times the legal limit in Utah of 0.08, the charges state.
The Phoenix drunk driver was charged earlier this month in 7th District Court with automobile homicide, a second-degree felony, DUI, a third-degree felony, theft by receiving stolen property, a class A misdemeanor, and improper lane travel, a class C misdemeanor.
Yazzie remained hospitalized in Salt Lake City Wednesday. Prosecutors have obtained a $15,000 warrant for his arrest, telling Judge Lyle Anderson in court papers that they fear Yazzie will flee the state when he’s released from the hospital.
He faces up to 15 years in prison if he is convicted of automobile homicide.
Arizona law has set up a zero tolerance policy when it comes to teens drinking; with the law prohibiting alcohol consumption for anyone under the age 18 years old. For those 21 years or older, a DUI can be issued for a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08%. On the other hand, the legal BAC limit rate for commercial drivers is more stringent as it drops to a BAC level of .04%.
When the BAC is .15 or higher within two hours of driving, the crime is elevated to Extreme DUI. Fines and jail times are greatly increased.
Refusal to take a chemical test, under Arizona’s implied consent law, will subject you to a fine and automatic one-year suspension of your license. A DUI charge in the State of Arizona is considered a serious offense, and is wrought with penalties that has damaging repercussions on one’s family, social, and professional life.
A person convicted for driving under influence faces jail time, license suspension, serve hours in attending DUI schooling or community service, pay expensive legal fees and hefty fines, in addition to a compulsory requirement to attach an ignition interlock device to the vehicle mandated at the DUI offender’s expense. These penalties not only entail the person to suffer from time and monetary loss, but also face public humiliation and embarrassment as a result of a criminal record. Penalties for second offenses are twice as harsh and tough, and third convictions are three times those for the first offense, with additional requirements added for community restitution.
Several other factors affect the magnitude of penalties, such as: person’s size, weight, intake of medications and food consumption, etc. A sobriety test indicating a BAC level of legal drunkenness could be achieved in only one drink (one beer, one glass of wine-three ounces or one ounce of hard liquor).
Therefore, to tackle the challenges present in your DUI case, it is recommended that you hire or at least consult a well-trained and qualified lawyer to pursue your case. This may save you not just a lot of money and valuable time, but also get away with your DUI charge altogether. An experienced attorney understands the loopholes in the law, tackles complicated courtroom proceedings and procedures, and helps you through your case by reducing the magnitude and number of penalties in case you face a DUI charge.
The best route however is to not drink if you are planning to drive. If in any case, you come across or see any suspicious activity involving reckless drunken drivers on the road, please immediately report it by calling 911. You may save lives by reporting the danger associated with drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs.