Arizona takes driving under the influence very seriously – no matter who you are, so it is important to hire a DUI attorney in Phoenix. That was proven recently when Mesa City Councilman Ryan Winkle was arrested for DUI and subsequently served time in jail and was dealt other penalties.
Not only has Winkle had to pay for his mistakes – both in terms of actual fines paid and in other penalties – but the city has also had to pay out a lot of money for legal fees and more in penalizing Winkle.
Winkle was arrested for DUI in May. An officer pulled him over after he was spotted weaving near Mill Avenue and Baseline Road. Officers said he also stopped abruptly at a red light and nearly hit three pedestrians. When he was tested, Winkle had a blood-alcohol content of 0.22 percent, which is nearly three times the legal cutoff of 0.08 percent.
Winkle pleaded guilty to the extreme DUI charge, and he was sentenced to 110 days in jail. The judge suspended 55 days of the sentence, and Winkle has to serve six days in jail, which he began at the start of September. He had to serve the other 49 days in home detention and pay nearly $4,000 in fines.
Police camera footage of the arrest also shows Winkle’s wife attempting to convince officers not to arrest him because of his position on the council. As things progress, she threatens the officers with reprisals if they continue with the arrest. The footage also shows Winkle denying that he had been drinking.
This is not the first time that Winkle was arrested for DUI. He had his first conviction back in 2009 in Scottsdale. He said that he changed his life and adopted healthier habits after that arrest. He then went on to be elected to the Mesa City Council in 2016, and he took office in January. He also worked as a community economic development consultant and was a co-founder of the Mesa Urban Garden.
After his arrest, Winkle said that he voluntarily attended addiction counseling and attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
The Mesa City Council held a hearing to determine whether to discipline Winkle or to allow him to remain on the council. He asked to continue in his role as councilman, and he offered to pay $2,000 that could go toward the city’s general fund or to a charity of its choice.
At the time that Winkle made his offer, the city had already racked up quite a bit in legal fees — $36,000 to outside counsel to represent it during the disciplinary process. Winkle’s Phoenix DUI attorney was publicly critical of the city’s legal counsel, saying that it had tried to smear Winkle.
The city has had to spend extensive time and resources to examine the case, to consult with attorneys, and eventually to remove Winkle. Now, the city will have to expend more time and resources to find a replacement for Winkle. His absence from the council has also put a burden on other members to do the city’s work.
Residents who are interested in serving in a temporary role on the council have been invited to apply through the city’s website. The person selected will serve a term through fall 2018 and will then be subjected to re-election like other council members. The City Council will select Winkle’s replacement in a vote on Sept. 18.
Fortunately, most people don’t have as high a profile as this councilman, so they don’t have to worry about the whole public weighing in on what should happen or being publicly embarrassed. However, the consequences for a DUI conviction are steep, and they can have long-lasting repercussions including losing your job or your ability to get new work. It is essential that you work with an experienced DUI attorney in Phoenix who can help you fight the charges and protect your rights.
If you have been charged with DUI, call Phoenix DUI Lawyer to work with a DUI lawyer in Arizona. A DUI defense lawyer from our team will explore all the legal options for getting your charges dropped or having the penalties reduced so that your mistake does not follow you forever. Everyone deserves a strong legal defense, no matter their mistakes. Call us today to work with an Arizona DUI attorney who will fight for your rights.
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