April 22, 2010
What are the penalties for an Arizona DUI conviction?
Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country. In Arizona, some of the possible consequences for a DUI conviction are: (1) a mandatory jail or prison term; (2) probation or parole; (3) loss of your driver’s license; (4) mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device; (5) loss of automobile insurance or SR22 insurance; (6) court-mandated driving school; and (7) fines.
What should you do if you are an out-of-state visitor and you are arrested for DUI?
It is extremely common that someone who is visiting Arizona from another state is arrested for DUI. Our firm handles many such cases. On a client’s request, we make every effort to have you appear telephonically with both the court and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
An Arizona DUI may affect your driving privileges in the state you reside in. Consequences vary by state. In addition, depending on the court in which your DUI is being prosecuted and the facts of the case, you may be able to resolve your DUI without retuning to Arizona.
What happens in Arizona if you refuse to take a blood or breath test?
If you refuse any type of chemical test that would determine your blood-alcohol concentration, your driver’s license will be taken away for at least one year. Moreover, most officers, after your refusal, will then obtain a search warrant and take your blood.
If you are asked to take a field sobriety test by a police officer, can you refuse?
Yes. In Arizona, field sobriety tests (such as eye tests, one-leg stand, walk and turn, finger-to-nose tests, etc.) are voluntary.
Do you have the right to an attorney before a police officer asks you to take a field sobriety test?
No. Arizona Courts have ruled that you have no right to counsel until you are placed under arrest. The officer is asking you to perform field sobriety tests in order to gather more evidence against you. In most circumstances, we recommend that you refuse the test and ask to speak with an attorney.
If a police officer asks me if I have been drinking alcohol, do I have to answer him?
No. The answer to this question could be used as evidence against you which is the reason the officer is asking the question. You have a right against self-incrimination. We recommend that you politely decline to answer the question and ask for an attorney.
Can I choose the type of chemical test the officer will perform on me?
No. You cannot choose which test the officer will perform on you. In Arizona the three most common tests are blood, breath and urine.
While you cannot choose the test the officer performs, you may obtain your own independent sample. Depending on the facts of the case, we will recommend the appropriate type of sample for you to obtain.
What is implied consent, and how does it affect me?
Arizona law provides that any person who operates a motor vehicle and is arrested for an offense related to drinking and driving is presumed to have given consent to a chemical test (blood, breath or urine). Consequently, if you refuse to take a chemical test of the officer’s choice, the officer may obtain a search warrant and forcibly take your blood.
Why should I hire an experienced DUI/DWI attorney?
Arizona DUI law is extremely complicated and has severe consequences. DUI law is commonly referred to as a minefield. An attorney must be competent in the Arizona Rules of “Criminal” Procedure, the Arizona Rules of Evidence, the United States and Arizona Constitutions, and the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles Rules and Regulations.
An attorney cannot do anything for you unless he or she has extensive experience in these areas. Police officers are only human and do commit legal errors. However, only an experienced DUI attorney will be able to find these errors and use them to help his or her client.
You should choose an experienced DUI attorney for the same reason you should choose a qualified doctor. If you break your wrist, you go to a doctor that specializes in wrist injuries. When you are charged with a DUI, you should hire a qualified DUI attorney.
An experienced Arizona DUI attorney can analyze your case for legal errors and defenses. He or she can have blood samples independently analyzed, look for suppression issues, review calibration / COBRA records of breath machines, find the right expert witnesses for your trial, and assist you with your driver’s license issues.