Wrong license plate leads to arrest on DUI, other charges

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A man is accused of driving under the influence early Saturday morning after his car’s license plate came back registered to another vehicle, police said. 

Zion U. Stuart, 20, was arrested on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia, aggravated DUI, extreme DUI, displaying a fictitious plate, possession of an open container of alcohol and driving with a suspended driver’s license, according to Maricopa police. 

At about 4 a.m., a Maricopa Police officer reported seeing a black Nissan Altima enter the QuikTrip parking lot, 20530 N. John Wayne Pkwy. A records check returned the plate as registered to a Honda CR-V. 

The driver, Stuart, entered the store, and the officer went to the vehicle to check for other occupants, but found none. The officer observed two open containers of beer in the vehicle’s center console, police said. 

The officer returned to their police vehicle to run the VIN number of the Nissan, when Stuart left the store and entered the Nissan. 

According to Maricopa police, Stuart said the license plate belonged to his sister, and he did not know that he had it. 

A police records check showed Stuart had a suspended license as of Aug. 15, 2022, reference administrative per se with no blood alcohol concentration. Admin per se is a document that warns drivers that by driving a vehicle in Arizona, they have given implied consent to provide a breath, blood or urine sample or face loss of driver’s license for a year.   

Stuart provided officers with a preliminary breath test, which returned a sample of .144 BAC, beyond the .08 at which a driver is presumed impaired in Arizona. Stuart later consented to another breath test, which returned .159 and .149, police said. 

According to Maricopa police, a small baggie containing a white powdery substance, which later tested positive for cocaine, was found in Stuart’s wallet. 

Stuart was booked into Pinal County Jail, where he remained as of Tuesday afternoon. 

A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 6 in Pinal County Superior Court, according to online jail records.