ARIZONA DUI FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

DUI attorney answers Frequently asked questions

ANSWER: A DUI, or driving under the influence, is also commonly referred to as a DWI in Arizona. In Arizona, if your BAC (blood alcohol content) is above .08%, you will presumed to be intoxicated. For a BAC between .04% and .079%, the officer can use their discretion to decide if the driver was intoxicated. The BAC limit for commercial drivers is .04%, and drivers under the age of 21 can be arrested for any BAC above 0.

ANSWER: There are three types of DUI: DUI, Extreme DUI, and Aggravated DUI. A DUI is categorized as extreme if the driver’s BAC was 0.15% or higher. The minimum penalties for an Extreme DUI are much higher than a normal DUI- for example, the base fine for a normal DUI is $1,250 while the base fine for an Extreme DUI is $2,500.

There are four situations in which you can be charged with Aggravated DUI: (1) You are arrested for DUI while driving on a suspended, revoked, etc. license; (2) There is someone under the age of 15 in the vehicle with you; (3) it is your 3rd DUI in 84 months; and (4) if you refuse to submit to blood testing while driving with an interlock device. The penalties for an Aggravated DUI are even stricter than those for an Extreme DUI.

ANSWER: Going with a court-appointed public defender works for some people. If you are worried about how a DUI will affect your job, jail time, the fines, or restrictions on your driver’s license, hiring an attorney is the best way to ensure that your case goes as smoothly as possible.

ANSWER: While you are driving, officers may look for signs of intoxication such as swerving, speeding or driving too slow, failing to use turn signals or headlights, sudden braking, etc. If you are pulled over, the police offer will likely be eyeing you for slurred words, red eyes, and alcoholic odor. At this point, the officer will likely ask you to take a field sobriety test.

ANSWER: Be sure that you understand the difference between a field sobriety test and a blood/urine test. Field sobriety tests include standing on one leg, walking in a line, saying the alphabet backwards, etc. You can politely refuse to take one of these tests with no consequences. However, refusing to take a blood test can result in serious consequences. Even if you are acquitted at trial, the DMV can suspend your license for one year if you refuse to take a blood test.

ANSWER: The cost of hiring an attorney will vary on the jurisdiction, the severity of your charges, and other factors that apply on a case-by-case basis. If you want to hire a private attorney while remaining on a budget, you should seek out attorneys that offer free consultations, affordable retainers, and payment plan options. Don’t let the cost of hiring an attorney deter you- you may save the cost of the attorney or more if they are able to negotiate down your fines.

ANSWER: When you are arrested, the police are supposed to read you your Miranda Rights (“You have the right to remain silent…”). Your case will not automatically be dismissed if the arresting officers fail to read you your Miranda Rights. However, evidence such as statements made to police after your arrest may be excluded from trial.

ANSWER: You can choose to represent yourself, use a court-appointed public defender, or hire a private attorney. If you choose to represent yourself, you will save money on a retainer but may not be able to negotiate down your charges as an attorney would. Attorneys may also find defenses based on procedural errors in your case of which you might not have been aware. You should schedule a consultation to discuss your case with an attorney and learn the variety of options available to you.

ANSWER: Arizona has the strictest DUI penalties in the nation. Arizona is one of the only states that has mandatory jail time for all, even first time, DUI arrests. Your license will be suspended, there are mandatory base fines that increase based on circumstances, and you will have to have an interlock installed on your vehicle’s ignition.

ANSWER: Your license will be suspended for at least 90 days, and up to a year, after your first DUI offense. Subsequent arrests carry a mandatory one year license suspension.

ANSWER: If the police determine that you have intent to drive, you can be arrested for DUI even in a parked car. This doesn’t just apply to someone sitting in the car outside the bar deciding if they should drive or call an Uber. You can also be arrested for sleeping in your car if you are intoxicated.

ANSWER: Yes. The DUI laws in Arizona are written to include any intoxicating substance, not just alcohol. This means you can be arrested for non-alcoholic drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines. You can also be arrested for DUI for prescription medications, even if you are prescribed by a doctor, if they affect your ability to drive.

ANSWER: Driving a vehicle is a privilege, not a right. When you applied for a received your driver’s license, you gave implied consent to be tested to prove your sobriety while on the road. While there are constitutional restrictions on what a police officer can and can’t do during a DUI checkpoint, they aren’t unconstitutional by nature.

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