Everything You Need to Know about Being Stopped for a DUI
A conviction of driving under the influence can follow you for years. You will pay increased insurance rates, you may have restrictions on your driving, and you may even have trouble getting a job. If you have an accident while driving under the influence and you are injured, you can sustain long-term or permanent problems.
If you are stopped on suspicion of DUI, everything you do or say during that encounter can influence the outcome, including whether or not you are convicted and what kind of sentencing you get. Here’s what you need to know about being stopped for a DUI, including what might happen and the appropriate actions you should take:
Before you are ever stopped on suspicion of DUI, you need to know what the laws are about how much you can drink and still drive. The law isn’t based on the number of drinks you have or the type of alcohol you drink, such as beer, wine, or liquor. The law is based on how much alcohol you have in your body. People who are larger or who have different metabolisms may be able to drink more without surpassing the legal threshold for blood-alcohol content (BAC).
In Arizona, the limit for BAC is .08 percent for regular drivers age 21 and older. It is .04 percent for those driving commercial vehicles. Arizona has a zero tolerance policy for those under age 21. Therefore, if you have had anything alcoholic to drink, you can be charged with DUI.
The average person weighing about 160 pounds can only have about three drinks without going over the legal limit. A drink is equal to 3 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or one ounce of liquor. Knowing the legal limits can help you plan your evening out to reduce your risk of being caught driving under the influence.
Behavior during the Stop
When an officer stops you on suspicion of DUI, it’s important that you cooperate and that you are polite. Becoming rude or yelling at the officer will be highlighted in court, and it could be used as evidence of your impairment.
Know also that you can face charges even if your blood-alcohol content is under the legal limit. If you are weaving in and out of traffic, showing signs of delayed response time, or exhibiting other unsafe behaviors, you can still be charged, either with DUI or with another charge.
Know Your Rights
In Arizona, you are legally allowed to refuse to take a breathalyzer test, which can determine if you are under the influence. However, if the officer arrests you for DUI and you refuse to take the test, your license can be immediately revoked for a period of one year. You don’t even have to be convicted for the license suspension to remain in place.
When you apply for your driver’s license, you are agreeing to submit to a breathalyzer test during a suspected DUI stop under Arizona’s “implied consent” law. Refusing to take the breathalyzer will result in a license suspension, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to a DUI conviction.
You also have the right not to say anything during your stop that could incriminate you, and you have the right to call your attorney. Just make sure that you are remaining polite when you are invoking these rights. You shouldn’t do anything during the stop that will escalate the situation.
Get an Attorney
The best thing you can do if you’ve been charged with a DUI is to get an experienced attorney to represent you. Legally, you are allowed to represent yourself, but you are not an expert in the law, and you will overlook legal strategies or options that could reduce your charges or get them dismissed. You may even make mistakes that will result in more severe penalties.
An experienced DUI attorney can help you recover from the charges as quickly as possible, either by getting them dismissed or by reducing the charge or the penalties. Since a DUI can follow you for so long, working with the right attorney can have a long-term impact on your life.
My AZ Lawyers can help you if you’ve been charged with a DUI. Our experienced DUI attorneys will advise you on the best way to move forward to get the optimal outcome. They will explore all legal strategies for have your charges dismissed or for getting them reduced. Our goal is to help you come back from these charges with as little repercussion as possible. Call us in Arizona today to talk with a DUI lawyer about your options.
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