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Author Archives: James Nesci

James Nesci often defends cases well into the .30 blood-alcohol range. He has caught more than one police officer lying during cross-examination and some police officers have even refused to grant pretrial interviews to him without a prosecutor or their own counsel present. He was one of the lead attorneys on the Intoximeters® RBT-IV breath-testing issue in Southern Arizona which resulted in the suppression of breath tests in over 7,000 cases and the removal of the RBT-IV from the streets of Arizona. He also spear-headed the effort to obtain the manufacturer’s source code and software for the CMI Intoxilyzer 8000. Although the source code was never obtained, he almost single-handedly ground 90% of all DUI prosecutions within the City of Tucson to a halt for nearly three years and obtained breath test suppressions and dismissals in hundreds of DUI cases. In addition to “traditional” DUI cases which involve alcohol, Mr. Nesci is a recognized expert on the defense of DUI/Drugs cases. Whether they be legal-over-the-counter-medications, prescription medications or illicit drugs, such DUI cases are far more complex and present cutting-edge issues for the courts. He is qualified to administer Standardized Field Sobriety Tests under National Highway Traffic Safety Administration & International Association of Chiefs of Police Guidelines. In 2006, he was appointed Regent of the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He was formerly the chair of the Curriculum Committee for the NCDD. Currently, he is the State Delegate Coordinator, a member of the Amicus Committee, Treasurer of the NCDD, Member of the Executive Committee and served as an oral argument judge for the Board Certification Committee. Mr. Nesci is the author of Arizona DUI Defense: The Law & Practice, a legal treatise written for DUI defense attorneys and published by Lawyers and Judges Publishing Company (now in its third edition) [www.lawyersandjudges.com]. In 1999 Mr. Nesci became a Sustaining Member of the National College for DUI Defense [www.NCDD.com]. In 2001, he was Board Certified by the National College for DUI Defense, Inc., which is a is recognized by the American Bar Association. He is one of only three Board Certified attorneys in the State of Arizona, and one of less than fifty Board Certified attorneys in the nation (as of January, 2012). Mr. Nesci has lectured from coast-to-coast for such organizations as The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, Arizona State University College of Law Alumni Association, University of Mississippi CLE Department, South Texas College of Law CLE Department, Arkansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Arizona Public Defenders Association, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, City of Phoenix Public Defender's Office, Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Indiana Public Defender’s Council, Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Maricopa County Bar Association, Maricopa County Public Defender's Office, Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys Association, the Mexican-American Bar Association at Loyola, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National College for DUI Defense, the Nebraska Criminal Defense Attorney’s Association, the Nevada State Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Pima County Bar Association, the Pima County Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division, the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, the Tucson City Public Defender’s Office, the Tulare County (California) Public Defender’s Association, the Utah Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and the Washington Foundation for Criminal Justice. He has taught seminars on the subjects of Ethics, 4th Amendment Law, Drug Recognition Evaluations (DUI-Drugs/DRE), Cross-Examination, Trial Tactics, Jury Selection, Field Sobriety Testing, Driving Behavior, Blood Alcohol Calculations, Opening & Closing Arguments, Source Code Litigation, Frye & Daubert Challenges, Intoxilyzer 8000 Operator’s Course, Headspace Gas Chromatography, Blood and Breath Testing. He has represented former Supremes lead singer Diana Ross and Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Tight-End Jerramy Stevens on Extreme DUI charges and fitness guru Richard Simmons on an assault charge. Mr. Nesci lives in Tucson with his wife and twin daughters. He is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Navy where he spent much of his time working as an electrician in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyards. His interests are traveling, fine wines, vintage port and fast cars. He is an amateur race car driver, an accomplished mechanic, and a Corvette fanatic.

Do I have to do Roadside Field Sobriety Tests?

Do I have to do Roadside Field Sobriety Tests?  The answer varies from state-to-state, but in Arizona, the answer could be “yes” or “no” and you’ll have to decide which is right for you. In order to understand this, we need to explore what Field Sobriety Tests are and why the police use them. Field Sobriety Tests or “FSTs” are a series of roadside coordination tests. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, they were tested for efficacy and three ... Read More »

Can I sleep in my car if I’m too drunk to drive? (Actual Physical Control of a Vehicle in Arizona)

Can I sleep in my car if I’m too drunk to drive? (Actual Physical Control of a Vehicle in Arizona) If you move your car, whether it be five inches, five feet, or five miles, it is defined as “driving.” I have had plenty of people walk into my office and tell me that they were arrested for driving under the influence, but they “didn’t drive”– they just “moved” the car into a parking spot, or out of a driveway. Bad ... Read More »

Phantom Checkpoints Are Real

Phantom Checkpoints Are Real  The police are allowed to lie to the public about their operations, but if a member of the public lies to a police officer, that person may be in for a costly and time-consuming prosecution that could end with a term behind bars. While it might be hard for some people to believe, defense attorneys know that the police lie to the public every now and then. Take, for example, the “Phantom Checkpoints” set up by ... Read More »

Why is Arizona the Leader in DUI-Drugs Arrests? Follow the Money.

Why is Arizona the Leader in DUI-Drugs Arrests? Follow the Money. Money. It drives everything. And, if you think that it plays no part in DUI enforcement, you must be living under a rock. Police want money. Prosecutors want money. Courts want money. And, yes–even DUI defense attorneys want money. The difference is, DUI defense attorneys don’t get millions of dollars in government grants. In order to get a share of the government grant money, an agency has to provide ... Read More »

US Supreme Court Deals Another Blow to the 4th Amendment

U.S. Supreme Court Building

The United States Supreme Court dealt another blow to the 4th Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizures when it delivered a deeply divided opinion, declaring that a vehicle may be stopped based on an anonymous 911 tip. Justice Clarence Thomas delivered the opinion of the Court in which Justices Kennedy, Breyer and Alito joined. Justice Scalia, with a keen perspective on reality wrote a well-reasoned and scathing dissent. He was joined by the Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan. An ... Read More »

Driving with Marijuana Metabolite No Longer Illegal in Arizona

“Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” is the new word from Arizona Supreme Court (State v. Harris (Shilgevorkyan, Real Party in Interest,) No. CV-13-0056-PR). Arizona was one of but a handful of “metabolite states” where it is illegal to drive with the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana “Tetrahydrocannabinol” (THC) in your system, or any of its metabolites. While it is still illegal to drive with THC in your system, it is no longer illegal to drive with any of pot’s inactive metabolites. ... Read More »

Blood Draws in the Wild, Wild, West.

Texas is following Arizona on what appears to be a slippery-slope which will be affecting more states as time goes on. A new law went into effect on September 1st, 2013 which was passed by the 83rd Texas Legislature. The new law allows Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) paramedics to take a blood specimen to test for alcohol concentration at the request of a police officer. The law allows paramedics to test for alcohol concentration or other intoxicating substances.A paramedic may ... Read More »

Will I lose my license if I am arrested for DUI in Arizona?

By simply driving in the State of Arizona, you impliedly agree that if you are stopped and arrested for DUI, you will submit to chemical testing. This is why it is called the “Implied Consent Law” and the requirements vary from state-to-state, so what may be good advice in Arizona regarding the Implied Consent Law, may be bad advice in any other state. In Arizona, if you are arrested for DUI, the police will choose either a breath, blood or ... Read More »

AZ Governor Jan Brewer (not) Arrested for DUI

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “Hypocrisy” as “a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion.” Hypocrisy is the subject of today’s blog. On May 4th, 1988 Arizona DPS Officer Alley (Badge No. 2854) responded to a minor traffic accident on Interstate 17 near milepost 211.7. There, he found a woman with a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage, flushed face, watery and ... Read More »

AZ Supreme Court Shoots Down Attack on Breath Testing Defenses

Arizona Supreme Court Unanimously Shoots Down Prosecution’s Attack on Breath Testing Defenses What started as a seemingly routine motion to prevent the defense from telling the truth about breath testing in the Tucson City Court, grew into a two-and-a-half year battle which was played out in the Arizona Supreme Court on May 21st and affects the defenses of every DUI prosecution with a breath test in Arizona. In order to understand the ruling, one must first understand the defenses. Estimated ... Read More »