Facing a DUI charge can be challenging. You may feel uncertain about what’s going to happen and concerned about the impacts it could have on your day-to-day life, finances, and personal freedom. A DUI charge in Arizona can come with some stiff penalties — including jail time. Understanding the different categories of DUI in Arizona and what penalties someone who is found guilty is likely to face can shed some light on your next move and help you determine what legal options you have in the face of the charges. Seeking an Arizona DUI defense may help you avoid some of the harshest penalties so that you can get back on track as quickly as possible.
Arizona DUI Defense
Most of the evidence against a DUI defendant in Arizona is collected during the time of the arrest, which most frequently happens during a traffic stop. If someone is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will likely be subject to a blood alcohol concentration or drug content (BADC) test. As a driver in Arizona, you automatically give consent for the administration of this test simply by being behind the wheel of a vehicle. The BADC test will be administered using breath, blood, or urine samples, and the results will determine whether the party will be charged with a DUI and — if so — what type.
In Arizona, an alcohol concentration level above 0.08% will trigger a DUI charge. For those driving commercial vehicles requiring a commercial driving license, the threshold is even lower at 0.04%. In addition, Arizona has a zero-tolerance policy for those who are under the age of 21. In this case, the presence of any alcohol at all is grounds for a DUI arrest.
The penalties for a DUI are quite steep in Arizona. First, a DUI conviction comes with an automatic suspension of the driver’s license. First offenses will receive a 3-month driver’s license suspension, and a second offense within 84 months (7 years) will result in a license revocation.
Another feature that makes Arizona’s DUI penalties particularly steep is that even first offenses involve jail time and hefty fines. A first offense comes with a minimum 10-day jail sentence, substance abuse counseling, and a $1,250 fine. Second or subsequent offenses face even harsher penalties. These offenses are accompanied by a minimum 90-day jail sentence, substance abuse counseling, community service requirements, and a $3,000 fine. For all offenders, reinstatement of the driver’s license will likely require alcohol education program enrollment and an ignition interlock device installed on the vehicle.
Should I Hire an Arizona DUI Defense Lawyer?
While it may seem like a fairly straightforward charge, there are some complexities to the Arizona DUI law that make having an Arizona DUI defense lawyer an advantage. In addition to the regular DUI charge (for those with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.08%), there is also an “Extreme DUI” charge. This charge is reserved for those who have a BAC above 0.15%. The penalties for these Extreme DUI charges are even stiffer with first offenders facing a minimum of 90 days in jail and $2,500 in fines while subsequent offenses result in 120-day jail sentences and $3,250 in fines.
Finally, Arizona has a third DUI category called “Aggravated DUI.” These charges apply to someone who receives a DUI while their license is suspended or revoked, receives a third DUI within 84 months, receives a DUI charge with a person under the age of 15 in the vehicle, or refuses a BADC test while driving with a required interlock ignition device. This penalty comes with two years of prison time in addition to the other penalties that would extend to the offense.
As you can see, the complexities of the Arizona DUI law mean that there are many layers to the charge and the subsequent penalties. Having an experienced lawyer can make navigating these layers much easier.
Here is What You Need to Know About Possible Arizona DUI Defenses
Most of the evidence for a DUI charge is collected at the scene of the traffic stop, but there are several ways that an experienced attorney can mount an Arizona DUI defense.
The clearest defense is to question the accuracy of the BADC test and the legitimacy of its administration. Successful defenses against DUI charges have included proving that the BADC test was contaminated, that the officer administering the test waited too long to do so (which could have caused BAC to rise in the interim), or that the test sample was inaccurately labeled or handled.
There are also extenuating circumstances involving the person facing the DUI charge. Some medications impact BADC tests and the conditions under which a person takes a field sobriety test might impact their performance.
Additional possible defenses against a DUI include arguing that the arresting officer did not have probable cause to make the traffic stop in the first place or demonstrating that the arrested party did not actually have control of the vehicle at the time of the arrest. This latter argument most often occurs when the arrested party was physically in a vehicle but not actively driving it at the time.
All of these details can be used to bring a defense against a DUI charge.
Arizona DUI Defense Attorney Near You
If you have been charged with a DUI in Arizona, you are likely facing some stiff penalties that will cause a serious disruption to your life. An experienced DUI defense attorney can help you determine your potential Arizona DUI defense and help you decide what to do next.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a good lawyer beat a DUI?
There are many ways that an experienced DUI attorney can beat DUI charges. They will look for any mistakes the arresting officer may have made, or if your rights were violated in any way. They can also review the circumstances of your arrest and maybe prove that there is not enough evidence to convict you of the DUI charges.
Can you get DUI dismissed?
Yes, there are many situations where a DUI could get dismissed. If the police did not follow proper protocols, or if your rights were violated during the arrest, the case may get dismissed before trial.
Is it worth getting an attorney for a DUI?
Yes, it is always worth speaking with an experienced DUI attorney if you have been charged with DUI. An attorney will be able to review the details of your case and advise you on the best defense strategy for your particular situation.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA CRIMINAL & DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEY NEAR YOU
Future First Criminal Law is a top-rated Phoenix, Arizona law firm with a practice dedicated to Criminal and DUI Defense. We represent clients all throughout the Phoenix area.
If you need help with a DUI defense or defending any other criminal charges, you need an attorney who will fight for your rights.
It’s understandable that you want to get this behind you, but don’t make the mistake of defending yourself or even pleading guilty to the charges. A DUI conviction will have long-lasting consequences, and you need to be aware of what they will be before making any decisions. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and to discuss your case.