Tucson attorney James Nesci

James Nesci is Dean of the National College for DUI Defense, Inc., a 2,300-member non-profit organization dedicated to the education of DUI Defense Attorneys across the country and in Canada.  He is a 1994 graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law and was a solo practitioner for ten years in Tucson, Arizona before becoming the managing partner in the firm Nesci, St. Louis & West, P.L.L.C. in January, 2005. On January 1st, 2010, he and Joseph P. St. Louis created the premier law firm in Arizona for DUI Defense: Nesci & St. Louis, P.L.L.C. In addition to writing books on DUI Defense, he works on large-scale challenges to DUI laws and investigatory techniques. Mr. Nesci is AV® PreeminentTM Peer Review Rated® by Martindale-Hubbell. He was named one of The Best Lawyers in America® by Woodward/White  and was also named as one of only four of Tucson’s Top DUI Lawyers by Tucson Lifestyles Magazine. U.S. News and World Report has named his firm as a Tier One Best Law Firm. Mr. Nesci was selected for Best Lawyers in America for DUI/DWI defense since 2010.

In 1999 Mr. Nesci became a Sustaining Member of the National College for DUI Defense. In 2001, he was Board Certified by the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. and is one of  only two Board Certified attorney in the State of Arizona and one of less than 50 in the nation (as of January, 2013). Board Certification is recognized by the American Bar Association. 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 Dean of the National College for DUI Defense (2016-2017). He often served as an oral argument judge for the Board Certification Committee. He was admitted to practice before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1995 and the United States Supreme Court in 2010.

Mr. Nesci is the author of "Arizona DUI Defense: The Law & Practice, (1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th Editions)" a legal treatise written for DUI defense attorneys and published by Lawyers and Judges Publishing Company [www.lawyersandjudges.com].  He is co-author of DUI Defense books for Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. He is a contributing author to the 5th Edition of the treatise "MedicoLegal Aspects of Alcohol," which is a text used by forensic toxicologists across the world and serves as the text for the Borkenstein School at Indiana University. He also authored a consumer book titled "How to Beat a DUI," which is also available at www.lawyersandjudges.com .

2016-09-21 10_24_51-nesci book - Windows Photo Viewer

His practice is devoted primarily to defense of vehicular crimes. At any one time, he typically defends up to twenty-five DUI cases in several jurisdictions.

Mr. 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.

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 is a team player within the Southern Arizona DUI Defense Community. He is often involved in large-scale challenges to DUI investigative methods and chemical testing. His opinion is sought by DUI Attorneys across the nation on various issues. He is one of only a handful of attorneys in the country who have ever held a DOT-Compliant Permit to operate an Intoxilyzer® 8000. He owns both an Intoxilyzer® 5000 & 8000 which are used for in-court demonstrations and for research purposes. He is qualified to administer Standardized Field Sobriety Tests under National Highway Traffic Safety Administration & International Association of Chiefs of Police Guidelines.

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, 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 National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National College for DUI Defense, the Nevada State Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Pima County Bar Association, Pima County Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division, the State Bar of Arizona, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Tucson City Public Defender’s Office 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, Blood Alcohol Calculations, Opening & Closing Arguments, Source Code Litigation, Frye & Daubert Challenges, Intoxilyzer 8000 Operator’s Course, Headspace Gas Chromatography and Blood and Breath Testing. He is a frequent guest of the John C. Scott radio program in Tucson. The Tucson Weekly named Mr. Nesci "King of the DUI Defense" (December 19, 2002). He has appeared on CNN, Inside Edition, Celebrity Justice, Fox News, Access Hollywood, Court TV and National Public Radio.

Mr. Nesci is married with 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, a mechanic and a Corvette fanatic.

Supreme Court of the United States, 2010
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1995
United States District Court for the District of Arizona, 1994
State of Arizona, 1994

Professional Associations

  • National College for DUI Defense, Inc. [www.NCDD.com]

Regent, 2006
Sustaining Member, 2001
Member, 1998

  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Member, 1995 [www.NACDL.org]
  • Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Member, 1995 [www.AACJ.org]
  • Arizona State Bar Association, Member, 1994.
  • Pima County Bar Association, Member, 1995.

BA, cum laude, University of Arizona, 1991
Major: Creative Writing
Minor: Communication

JD, University of Arizona College of Law, 1994