Wayne HowellCall NowYay, Blog!Send EmailHome
 
 
November 4, 2020 - Sadly, You Are Guilty
Arizona DUI law doesn’t give you much wiggle room. Here are relevant excerpts from ARS § 28-1381:

A. It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state under any of the following circumstances:

1. While under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug . . . if the person is impaired to the slightest degree.

3. While there is any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person's body.

[4]B. It is not a defense to a charge of a violation of subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section that the person is or has been entitled to use the drug under the laws of this state.

The actual physical control language in paragraph A governs a broad set of circumstances. Generally, if you are in or next to a vehicle and have the ability to start and drive it, you can be as guilty as if you were caught driving. No sleeping it off in the car in Arizona.

Looking at paragraph 1, if you are impaired and there is anything in your body, you are guilty. Per 4B, even if you are taking a legally-prescribed medication, you are still responsible. So if you take medication for chronic pain or mental illness, you put yourself at risk just by getting behind the wheel. The medication shows up in any blood test – so picture the scene if you are stopped or have an accident – will your agitation, fatigue or constricted pupils convince the officer that you are impaired?

And of course, per paragraph 3, any illegal drug in your system makes you automatically guilty.
 
October 30, 2020 - Bankruptcy Tip
Did you know . . . ?  Filing bankruptcy does not mean that you lose everything; you are allowed to keep the property and money that state and federal laws define as exempt.  The Bankruptcy Court publishes a booklet outlining the exemptions that apply to you.  The most recent edition, published in 2013 but still fairly current, can be found here.  The current Arizona exemptions, starting with your home, can be found here.

Whenever the term equity is used, remember that equity is the value of the property less whatever is owed.  If your home is worth $250,000 and you still owe $100,000, your equity is $150,000 -- which, by the way, your equity in your home up to $150,000 is exempt.

Each person has up to $6,000 of equity in one vehicle that is exempt.  If you are disabled, your exemption is doubled.  A married couple gets a total of two vehicles and up to $12,000 of equity that is exempt, or up to $24,000 if both are disabled.  The exemption can be spread disproportionately between vehicles, so you can have a junker and a nice car or handicapped-modified van, with both being exempt.

One big highlight is that the money in your IRA or other retirement account, no matter how much is in there, is exempt.  What this means to you is that you should never consider draining your retirement accounts to try to pay your bills.  If you file bankruptcy, most or all of your bills will go away -- and even if you don't file and creditors sue you, they can't get the money in your retirement accounts.

The other Big Time exemption(not really an exemption, but close enough) involves Social Security benefits.  They are exempt.  So no creditor can ever garnish your Social Security benefit.  But more importantly, your Social Security money is still protected even after it goes in your bank -- provided you can show that the only money in the account is from Social Security.  What this means is that if you are in debt and considering bankruptcy or are in fear of collection lawsuits, you want to open a new bank account for your Social Security direct deposit.  Spend money from this account last, because it is protected with no limit, and spend money in other accounts first.

Reading the exemption booklet will help you understand how to keep all of the property to which you are entitled.  For example, prepaid rent and security deposits, up to $2,000 per person, is exempt.  So is six months' worth of  "food, fuel and provisions".  What exactly does this entail and what is the limit?  The law doesn't say specifically, but it leaves a lot of room for interpretation -- can you say Costco?
 
December 1, 2009 - Intro
Wayne Howell is a personal injury attorney representing accident victims throughout the Metro Phoenix Valley. Wayne is a graduate of the Rutgers University School of Law and is licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey, Arizona and the Federal District Court for the District of Arizona.

Wayne handles claims involving all types of motor vehicle collisions/accidents – from motorcycles and golf carts to automobiles and SUVs, and trucks from pickups to 18 wheelers. He also represents pedestrians and bicycle riders struck by moving vehicles, as well as victims of dog bites and falls in commercial establishments.

In addition to personal injury, Wayne offers a full complement of consumer legal services: Bankruptcy, DUI, Wills, Trusts and Probate Estates, Guardianship and Conservatorship.

Wayne's "interesting lifetime" of trades worked and skills learned, businesses run smoothly and otherwise, experiences with foreign adoption, a catastrophically and chronically ill child and the life-altering injury of a spouse have left him with an ability to quickly spot problems and work through mitigation and survival tactics.  As a Counsellor, Wayne is an astute listener, and a "tough love" dispenser of real world, practical advice.

Wayne's "pro bono" policy is to take every phone call possible, listen and guide the caller to detail his or her specific issue, and offer any help or advice possible -- regardless whether the call is likely to result in a paying client.  In Wayne's view, referring a caller to another attorney or other professional better suited to help is part of his ethical duty as a caring member of the community in general and as an "Old-School Lawyer" in particular.

Wayne has worked out of offices in South Phoenix, West Phoenix and Surprise. He has served clients from Baseline Road to Black Canyon City and from Tonopah to Fountain Hills. In order to serve all of his potential clients, Wayne offers free initial consultations in your home or other convenient location. In-office appointments are available at 3 locations -- Bell & Reems, Scottsdale & McDonald and Dysart & Indian School. For even more convenience, home appointments are available in the evening and on weekends, as well as during usual daytime work ours.

If you have been injured or need other legal services, call today at 623-328-8567.