If you have been pulled over and charged with DUI, you are facing the possibility of a serious disruption of your life and finances. Having a highly experienced Glendale criminal defense lawyer to advocate for you can improve the outcome, may prevent a criminal conviction on your record, and may help you avoid the loss of your driving privileges.
DUI is a crime that is often committed by people who don’t perceive themselves as criminals. Many people drive home after having a few drinks. When we see a person get behind the wheel after an evening out, how many of us judge that person as a criminal? In 2013, 28.7 million people admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol, according to data provided by M.A.D.D.
We often tend to view such behavior as a lapse in judgment at worst. Most make it to their own garages without incident and never get caught, but the fact that it is a crime that people have often managed to get away with does not take away from the more compelling fact that it is a serious one, with serious consequences. According to MADD (2014), an average drunk driver pulled over and charged with DUI has driven after excessive drinking approximately 80 times before being caught.
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Glendale, contact DUI lawyer Craig Orent to represent your case. A DUI conviction will have both administrative penalties from the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division and criminal penalties if you are convicted. A criminal DUI conviction can result in harsh penalties that can follow you for years.
Arizona has had more than its share of highway deaths stemming from drunk or impaired driving—DUI. Driving under the influence is a factor in nearly a third of all fatal accidents in the state. Of a total of 893 Arizona traffic fatalities in 2015, 292 were alcohol-related, and relative to much of the rest of the country, we are not a state with a sterling record of keeping drunk drivers off the road. The state is ranked number 21 among 50 states in the number of alcohol-related fatalities.
As a result of our state’s poor record and a large number of lives lost due to drunk driving, we now have some of the most stringent DUI laws in the nation. In Arizona, if you are convicted of a DUI, you will spend a minimum of 10 days in jail. If you have had priors, it gets worse. A third DUI offense will automatically be charged as a felony.
Not all DUIs are because of alcohol. It is also against the law to drive under the influence of prescription, street, or over-the-counter drugs if they impair your driving ability. The fact that a drug is legal to take does not excuse you from the consequences if you are caught driving while impaired by that substance.
Arizona has three tiers of DUI charges that reflect your tested alcohol content.
A basic DUI is driving with:
An extreme DUI is defined as driving with a BAC of .15 percent or above.
An aggravated DUI is defined as:
Increasing Penalties for Higher Level DUI Offenses
As the level of DUI goes up, so do the penalties. Your license will be administratively suspended on the spot, without requiring a criminal conviction, for 90 days with a first offense and up to a year for subsequent offenses. Your attorney should appear with you at your administrative hearing and may be able to keep you from losing your driving privileges entirely.
All DUI levels have potential penalties of jail time, with the amount of time increasing as the level increases, along with fines, community service, drug and/or alcohol screening, classes, and treatment; you may even be required to install an ignition interlock system on all of your vehicles, at your expense. Second and subsequent DUIs come with revocation of your driver’s license.
If you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI, you may be asked to perform a field sobriety test. You absolutely do not have to submit to this test, nor should you. It is rigged against you. Many people who are stone-cold sober fail the field sobriety test.
You will also be asked to take a breath, blood, or urine test to determine your blood alcohol level or whether you have recently used a drug that could cause impairment. The test must be given within two hours of your being pulled over. In the case of the breath or chemical BAC test, it is a different story. Unlike refusing the field sobriety test, the consequences of refusing a test of your blood alcohol content require careful consideration.
You may refuse this test. However, a refusal for the first time will mean the loss of your driving privileges for a year. That’s because under Arizona’s Implied Consent law. The fact that you have a license to drive implies your agreement to cooperate with law enforcement when a test is requested, assuming the officer had probable cause, such as a traffic violation, for pulling you over. If you know that you are likely to get an extreme or aggravated DUI as a result, and are in danger of losing your license anyway, you may want to refuse, as it may be in your best interest to deprive law enforcement of evidence that can be used against you, increasing the likelihood of a criminal conviction.
If you are arrested for suspicion of a DUI and you refused to take a blood or breathalyzer test at the time of your arrest, you will also be involved in a motor vehicle division hearing concurrently with your criminal proceedings. If you are facing a motor vehicle division hearing, talk with an experienced motor vehicle division hearing lawyer to handle your license revocation cases.
However, you should know that there are various defenses that a good DUI lawyer can use to avoid your having a DUI conviction, even if you were charged based on a chemical or breath test. For many people, it makes better sense to take the test and have your attorney fight to exclude it, because in our society it is so difficult to function without the ability to drive, and losing your license for a long period of time could impose an unacceptable hardship.
Every case is different. Different facts require different strategies. When you have an attorney with decades of experience like Craig Orent, a top-rated, award-winning Arizona DUI defense attorney, you can be confident that the advice and defense strategy chosen will be specifically geared to the unique facts of your case, as well as your individual needs and desired outcome.
Call Craig Orent immediately if you are picked up and charged with DUI in Glendale, Arizona to protect your rights, your freedom, your reputation, and your future.