An arrest for drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs can have devastating impacts. Even if you have a clean driving record, the financial penalties alone can be overwhelming. Add to that the loss of license and possible jail time, and the effects could make a huge impact on your life. If you are facing an Arizona DUI, make sure you choose the right Phoenix DUI lawyer. Call Feldman & Royle today and find out what our firm can do for you.
Arizona DUI Laws Explained
Arizona DUI laws are some of the harshest in the nation. The type of DUI charges that the State will normally charge a person with depend on things like a suspect’s BAC, prior criminal history and status of the person’s license. All Arizona DUI charges carry significant penalties, but those penalties may be greater based upon a number of factors. Here are some of the more common variations:
Under A.R.S. § 28-1381, an Arizona DUI consists of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle:
- While impaired to the slightest degree as a result of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two.
- While having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
- While certain drugs are present in your system (including marijuana).
- In the case of driving a commercial vehicle, having a BAC of 0.04 or higher.
The law prescribes jail time of 10 days (minimum), all but one of which may be suspended; the suspension of your driver’s license for at least 90 days, although you may be eligible for a restricted license; fines, assessments, costs, and insurance increases that could reach thousands of dollars; and installation, at your cost, of an ignition interlock device (IID). Read more
If your BAC is 0.15 or more, you could be convicted of extreme DUI. Increased penalties include more jail time and higher fines and assessments. The penalties will be even greater if your BAC is 0.20 or greater, known as “super extreme DUI.” Read more
For a second DUI within 84 months, increased jail time, increased fines and assessments, a minimum period of community restitution, and a one-year license suspension. Read more
The DUI charges listed above are generally misdemeanors. Under some circumstances, however, drunk driving or drugged driving could be charged as a felony. Those circumstances include:
- DUI while your license is suspended for a prior DUI;
- Getting a third or subsequent DUI within an 84-month period;
- DUI with a minor passenger under the age of 15;
- DUI while driving the wrong way;
- DUI while under a court order to equip your vehicle with an IID. Read more
Under current Arizona DUI statutes, a person can be charged with a DUI when operating a motor vehicle while certain drugs (or their metabolites are in their system. Prosecutions for Arizona DUI are commonplace for both illicit and prescription drugs. Defenses and penalties vary drastically depending on the circumstances of the specific case. Read more
Increasingly, Arizona law enforcement have been charging people with marijuana related DUIs even if the person has their Medical Card. Recent decisions have had an impact on prosecutions for driving under the influence of marijuana based solely on the presence of a metabolite of the drug in a person’s system. However, in some cases, Arizona DUI drug cases can lead to a conviction even where there is no impairment. Read more
The average person faces a DUI charge in Arizona if that person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or greater. If you are driving a commercial vehicle, the operation of which requires commercial driver’s license (CDL), the threshold is half that amount, or a BAC of 0.04. If your BAC exceeds that amount, you can be charged with CDL DUI. In addition to the lower standard of alcohol concentration, commercial drivers are also subject to penalties specifically related to their status as holders of a CDL. Read more
Under Arizona DUI laws a person can be charged with DUI while operating watercraft. Pursuant to Title 5 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, boating under the influence is charged when a person is operating watercraft:
- While impaired to the slightest degree;
- With a BAC above .08;
- With a BAC above .15;
- With a BAC above .20;
- While operating a commercial watercraft. Read more
Defenses to DUI Charges
While an Arizona DUI carries serious potential penalties, a percentage of those charged with the offense are not convicted. Some cases are dismissed, others are downgraded to lesser charges (for example, reckless driving), and some result in not guilty verdicts. So being charged does not necessarily spell doom. Of course, your chances of being among those who are not convicted is a function in large part of finding the right attorney for your defense.
An experienced Arizona DUI attorney will examine the case from the outset, conduct any additional investigation required, in some cases hire an expert witness on your behalf, and take all the necessary steps to insure that your rights are protected. Possible defenses could be established by:
- Challenging the BAC reading. Breath and blood samples are not always accurate. Tests are performed improperly, and they are sometimes conducted by people without the necessary training, and the evidence may not be properly preserved.
- Challenge the Field Sobriety Tests (FST). Certain roadside tests have been accepted by the NHTSA as demonstrating the likelihood that a person is impaired. The interpretation of the tests is subjective, and the tests are often performed improperly.
- Challenge the Traffic Stop. DUI’s frequently begin with a traffic stop, either a single vehicle stop or a stop at a checkpoint. Illegal stops can lead to the inadmissibility of evidence of a DUI, as can an improperly administered checkpoint.
These are just a few of the possible defenses that may apply in your case.
Choosing the Right Phoenix DUI Lawyer
Past results do not guarantee success in the future, but a proven track record is the best indication of the performance of an attorney. At Feldman & Royle, we have years of experience successfully defending clients charged with DUI. Take advantage of our free consultation and talk to us about how we would approach your case.