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Phoenix DUI Attorney

Driving under the influence (“DUI”) is treated differently from state to state, but essentially involves the same laws and procedures. Driving under the influence is a crime that encompasses operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are arrested while driving under the influence of drugs, or of alcohol with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, you face potential penalties in the state you are arrested in. However, each state has a different range of penalties, and Arizona is no different. If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, contact an experienced Phoenix DUI attorney who can assist you in forming a defense strategy.

DUIs in Arizona

Arizona has harsh DUI penalties put into place in order to curb the existence of DUIs to prevent further injuries, car accidents, and reckless driving, and there are multiple ways that one can put themselves in a position to get pulled over. If you are swerving between lanes or speeding excessively, a police officer has probable cause to pull you over. Additionally, DUI checkpoints in Arizona are used so officers can patrol traffic; there are many DUI checkpoint mistakes drivers make that can result in a DUI charge.

Arizona breaks down DUI offenses blood alcohol content (BAC) level and whether you have previous DUI convictions. An ordinary DUI will involve ordinary first time DUI offenses. “Extreme” DUI charges involve a defendant who had a BAC above .15%. An “aggravated” DUI is a felony charge with mandatory minimum prison sentences. The Arizona Department of Public Safety states each type of offense has a different structure for punishment ranges, including the following:

First Time DUI with BAC between .08 and .150

Crime ClassificationPunishment RangeCounselingFine
Class 1 MisdemeanorBetween one day in jail and 6 months in jail; up to 5 years probationDrug/alcohol screening$250 plus $500 to State Prison Fund

Second Time DUI within 60 months

Crime ClassificationPunishment RangeCounselingFine
Class 1 MisdemeanorBetween 30 days and 6 months in jail; up to 5 years probationDrug/alcohol screening$500 plus $1,250 to the State Prison Fund

First Time Extreme DUI

Crime ClassificationPunishment RangeCounselingFine
Class 1 MisdeameanorBetween 30 days and 6 months in jail; up to 5 years’ probationDrug/alcohol screening$250 plus $250 assessment to the Arizona DUI abatement Fund; $1,000 to State Prison Fund

Second Time Extreme DUI

Crime ClassificationPunishment RangeCounselingFine
Class 1 MisdeameanorBetween 120 days and 6 months in jail; up to 5 years’ probationDrug/alcohol screening$750 plus $250 assessment to the Arizona DUI Abatement Fund and an additional $1,500 assessment

Aggravated DUI (3rd DUI within 7 years)

Crime ClassificationPunishment RangeCounselingFine
Class 4 FelonyBetween 4 months and 2.5 years in the Department of Correction; up to 10 years’ probationDrug/alcohol screening$750 plus $250 assessment to the Arizona DUI Abatement Fund and an additional $1,500 assessment

Aggravated DUIs can continue to involve heightened punishment ranges if outside circumstances exist, such as child passenger or more than 1 prior Aggravated DUI conviction.

The Process of a DUI Charge

Driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the most dangerous actions any motorist can take, because it puts not only the intoxicated driver at risk, but also endangers everyone else on the road around. Unfortunately, many people still choose to drive drunk, and law enforcement has developed several methods for curbing the rising number of DUI incidents and related injuries and fatalities.

DUI checkpoints are commonly seen in high-risk areas, heavily populated areas during holiday weekends and events where alcohol is served, and other areas with high numbers of DUI incidents. At a checkpoint, law enforcement officers will conduct a brief inspection of every driver to ensure no drivers are intoxicated.

Detection

The first step in DUI detection is an officer pulling a suspect over for an inspection. This may be due to erratic driving, swerving, or other indicators. Once stopped, the officer will assess whether there is probable cause to test the driver for blood-alcohol content (BAC). The legal limit for BAC is .08%. Any amount over .08% will result in a DUI charge, but a slightly lower reading may lead to a DUI charge in some situations, as well.

Law enforcement officers perform field sobriety tests on suspected intoxicated drivers. The officer will ask the driver to leave the vehicle. This also presents the officer with the opportunity to evaluate the driver’s coordination and movement. Once the driver has left the vehicle, the officer will ask him to perform a few psychophysical tests to evaluate the driver’s state. These tests typically involve walking a straight line heel-to-toe, or following the officer’s instructions while performing other basic tasks.

If the field sobriety test causes the officer to remain suspicious of the driver, she may administer a preliminary breathalyzer test. Law enforcement officers also carry handheld BAC-detection devices featuring removable, disposable plastic tips. The driver will blow into the plastic tip until a reading is taken, usually no more than a few seconds. A Breathalyzer offers a quick and reliable way to ascertain whether a driver is under the influence.

Booking and Charges

If the officer establishes probable cause to administer these tests and the driver tests positive for a BAC over the legal .08% limit, the officer will arrest the driver for DUI. The driver will be read their rights and placed in the police vehicle for transport to a booking station, where he will remain until charges are processed and the driver is sober enough to leave. In some cases, the driver’s vehicle is impounded for a time, and his license is temporarily suspended.

The driver’s level of cooperation and the circumstances of the arrest typically determine the harshness of the initial penalties. If the driver was stopped during a checkpoint, complied with officers’ directions and caused no property damage or injuries to anyone, he may be allowed to leave the police station once the DUI charge has been processed and he has been given further instructions. If a DUI driver refuses to perform field sobriety tests, was involved in any other criminal action at the time of arrest, or injured anyone prior to the arrest, she may face additional criminal charges and remain in jail until the case reaches the court system.

Trial and Punishment

First-time DUI offenders can face fines, jail time, license suspension, points on their driver’s licenses, or a combination of these. Multiple DUIs usually result in much harsher punishments. Some states require convicted DUI offenders to attend drug- and alcohol-safety classes.

DUI penalties vary widely from state to state, but anyone charged with a DUI will fare much better in court by hiring a reputable defense attorney. It’s important to remember that DUI laws are set in stone and punishments are non-negotiable. It’s highly unlikely that a lawyer will be able to argue for a lighter sentence or leniency, but a good lawyer will be able to ensure the punishment fits the offense.

Phoenix DUI Offenses

DUI offenses in Phoenix already have strict penalties tied to them, but once you begin to accumulate multiple DUI convictions, you may face harsh penalties, even turning misdemeanor offenses into felony offenses.

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, s second DUI offense within 7 years of a prior “ordinary” DUI conviction (meaning a BAC level between .08 and .15 without any outside circumstances) will lead to mandatory minimum penalties of at least 90 days in jail which can be suspended upon completion of mandatory alcohol screening classes. A third offense leads to even more severe penalties. The state has the option of charging a third misdemeanor DUI offense as a felony offense, or Aggravated DUI. Felony offenses involve prison time and if you are convicted, you will face a number of issues later in life.

A second offense extreme DUI (meaning a BAC level above .15%) requires a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 120 days, required alcohol classes, a mandatory IID attached to your steering wheel, and one year of license revocation. A second offense of a super extreme DUI (meaning a BAC level above .20%) holds a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days in jail, and two years of an IID attached to your steering wheel. Both forms of extreme DUI offenses involve costly fines above $3,000, which does not include court costs. Upon a third offense for extreme or super extreme DUI, the state can decide to pursue felony charges in the form of Aggravated DUI. In some circumstances you may be charged with a 3rd offense extreme DUI which will still be a felony, but involves sharply heightened fines.

Aggravated DUI Offenses

Arizona lists an aggravated DUI as a felony charge which means you will face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of four months for your conviction. Aggravated DUI offenses are typically what state attorneys turn to when prosecuting a multiple DUI offender. Aggravated DUIs are classified as Class 4 felony crimes which have lengthy prison sentences and heightened fines. Felony convictions additionally stay on your record to haunt you the rest of your life and can impact your ability to seek employment, gain custody of your children, or even vote.

DUI Defense

Despite the harsh laws on the books for DUI offenses, a Phoenix DUI attorney will work tirelessly to prove the law enforcement officer and prosecutor are both incorrect in prosecuting your DUI claim. The State must prove the following elements in order to convict you for a DUI arrest:

  • The State must prove that you were in fact driving, operating, or in physical control of a motor vehicle
  • The State must prove that you were under the influence and impaired only to the slightest degree, meaning that you could have a BAC of less than .08 and be convicted of DUI
  • The State must prove DUI within 2 hours of driving

It is clear that there is plenty of room for error, and unfortunately many people are arrested for DUI offenses who may not have a BAC level of .08. It is a waste of resources to try and convict those individuals who were under the legal limit for DUI when they were simply abiding by traffic laws.

Orent Law Offices | Phoenix DUI Lawyer

DUI charges are often very upsetting and usually involve a night spent in jail for an offense you did not intend to commit. Phoenix DUI attorney Craig Orent at the Orent Law Offices understands the confusion and uncertainty you face after a DUI arrest and are here to walk you through the procedure. We know that the legal system involving DUI defense can be overwhelming at times, and rest assured that you are in safe and capable hands for your Phoenix DUI lawyer.

The number of DUI convictions you have in a certain span of years will dictate charge outcome if you have just been pulled over on suspicion of DUI in Phoenix. While aggressive law enforcement officers help protect citizens on the road from fatal accidents as the result of drivers operating under the influence, DUI convictions have the ability to drastically impact your life. If you recently received a second or third DUI, don’t hesitate to call a Phoenix multiple DUI attorney immediately.

If you have been arrested for more than one DUI in the last 7 years, contact Orent Law Offices as soon as possible. Multiple DUI offenses have severe repercussions on your daily life, and the sooner Phoenix multiple DUI attorney Craig Orent can begin analyzing your case, the sooner a defense plan can be put into play. A DUI arrest does not always lead to a conviction, and an experienced DUI attorney understands how to present a case to the court in order to see the case favorably in Arizona. You do not want to sit around and wait for a conviction to roll in. Take action today and call Orent Law Offices, PLC for your initial free consultation.


  • Client Review

    Great experience. Craig was honest and upfront from the get go. Always easy to get a hold of and professional. I would highly recommend Craig Orent as your choice for representation."
    D.H.