Glendale and Peoria, Arizona Criminal Defense FAQS
A DUI is the charge you will receive when arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Arizona has the most severe DUI laws in the country. While most states require a BAC of .08 or more for a DUI charge, in Arizona, a police officer may use their discretion for a BAC of .04 or higher for a DUI arrest. DUI convictions also come with standard penalties like expensive fines, mandatory jail time, driver’s license suspension, and required use of an interlock device. A DUI can also have negative effects on your financial, professional, and social situations.
For the most part, DUI charges are misdemeanors in Arizona. However, it will be a felony charge if one of the following requirements are met:
- The driver has already been convicted of a DUI
- There was someone 15 or under in the car at the time of the arrest
- The driver already has an interlock device or suspended or restricted license.
Felony charges can also result from a misdemeanor DUI arrest, e.g. vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident.
This is one of the results of Arizona’s extremely strict DUI laws. There are multiple levels of DUI you can be charged with, depending on what your BAC was at the time of arrest. Prosecution may charge you with multiple levels of DUI to improve the probability that they will be able to convict you of at least one of them. You would receive the sentencing for the harshest convicted level.
Field sobriety tests are relatively informal measures of intoxication. Police will conduct them as a preliminary test if they suspect you of drinking. A chemical test of your blood or urine is NOT a field sobriety test. You are allowed to decline taking a field sobriety test in Arizona without your license being automatically suspended. Common examples of field sobriety tests are walking in a straight line, standing on one foot, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus, or when a police officer examines your pupils while shining a light in your eyes.
BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Content, which measures someone’s level of intoxication after drinking. The legal limit for a DUI is typically .08 across the country, but laws vary by state. BAC levels can be measured using a breathalyzer or chemical tests like blood and urine.
Some tips for finding a great DUI attorney include:
- The Arizona State Bar website should have an attorney search tool.
- If you are comfortable discussing the charges with any friends or family that have also been arrested for DUI, ask for their attorney’s information
- Google/Yelp search, and reading the reviews to make sure the Glendale DUI attorney has significant DUI experience.
- Read the Glendale Criminal Defense attorney’s website to make sure they are consistently publishing new DUI content
- Some attorneys offer their consultations free of charge, so you have the opportunity to shop around without breaking the bank.
For drivers with extreme and super extreme BAC levels, and drunk drivers under 21, their car may be impounded for up to 30 days. The maximum amount the storage facility can charge you for the impound is $15.00 per day. You will also have to pay administrative and towing fees. If you don’t pick up your vehicle within 10 days of when it becomes available, the impound storage facility may attempt to take over ownership of the vehicle by filing for an abandonment title.
This will all depend on the facts of your case and the prosecution procedures of the jurisdiction you are charged in. You will probably have a better chance of negotiating a plea deal if you are represented by a criminal defense attorney.
The penalties for second, third, etc., DUIs are much stricter than for a strict offense. For example, the minimum jail time increases from 1 day to 30 days for a second DUI. For a four DUI, that minimum increases to 4 months. These increases will be even steeper if you had a high BAC when arrested.
If you retain a criminal defense attorney, they may be able to appear on your behalf depending on the charges and the jurisdiction. If you refuse to take a chemical test, you will need to attend an administrative hearing at the DMV or else your license will be suspended for one year- you may also hire an attorney to represent you at this hearing.
Your license will be suspended for up to one year if you are convicted of a DUI. Your license will also be suspended for one year if you refuse to do a chemical BAC test. You may be able to begin driving after 90 days with a restricted license. A restricted license will typically only allow you to drive for mandatory events like work, medical appointments, and childcare. You may be required to use an interlock device when you get your license back. This is a breathalyzer device that you will have to blow into each time you start your vehicle. Interlock devices come not only with inconvenience and embarrassment, but also with high monthly fees
You should review your employee handbook or employment contract if you have one, because your agreement with your employer can supersede Arizona laws when it comes to disclosing a DUI. Otherwise, you will only have to tell your employer about a DUI conviction if it is relevant to your job. A DUI conviction can be relevant to your employment if it requires a commercial vehicle license or security clearance. You may also need to tell your employer if you need extensive time off work for the case for meetings with attorneys, hearings, jail time, etc.
Some defenses your attorney may raise include:
-Challenging the BAC reading
-Arguing that the police officer did not have probable cause to pull you over
-Providing witnesses who will testify to your sobriety
-Proving that you were intoxicated, but not actually driving your vehicle
The punishments for a DUI conviction in Arizona are harsh. You can face fines, jail time, license suspension, increased insurance costs, damages if you crash the vehicle, community service, and having to use an expensive interlock device in your vehicle. These punishments are inconvenient for some, and can ruin the lives of others. You should have an experienced attorney on your side to minimize the negative impact on your life. An attorney may be able to find a defense for your case or negotiate a plea deal.
You Have Options
In some cases, you may never have to set foot in the courtroom. In fact, a criminal defense attorney has a number of tools that may be used in your defense, such as mediation and submitting a plea bargain. Our lawyers will talk to you about all your options and help you to understand what the best course of action may be to take.
Glendale Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help
If your case does have to go to trial, our skilled DUI lawyers will work with our Criminal Defense attorneys. Together they will work to mount the best case possible for you, including having the charges dismissed or getting a reduced sentence. While no guarantees can be made about the outcome of a case, you can feel confident in knowing that working with Glendale criminal defense lawyers can improve your chances of success significantly.
Lastly, do not leave your case to chance. The stakes are too high in a criminal defense case for you not to work with our team! Our Glendale criminal defense lawyers and Glendale DUI attorneys have the experience and training to represent you. By all means, call (480) 833-8000 My AZ Lawyers today to find out how we may be able to help you.