Misdemeanor DUI Defense and Arizona DUI Laws
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Misdemeanor DUI Defense in Arizona – Our Goal is to Get Your DUI Dismissed
Seeing flashing lights in your rearview mirror after going out for a couple of drinks can be frightening. Because Arizona is known for being a “zero-tolerance state,” you do not have to drink very much alcohol to be charged and arrested for a DUI.
According to Arizona DUI laws, the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration is 0.08%, which can equal the amount of alcohol you might get in one or two beverages, depending on your gender, weight, the food you consumed, and the time during which you were drinking.
Even if your BAC is lower than 0.08%, you can also face DUI charges for driving while impaired by alcohol. DUI charges are very common in Phoenix and can carry severe penalties.
If you are facing misdemeanor DUI charges, you should reach out to the experienced DUI defense attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta. We have helped thousands of individuals defend against driving under the influence offenses at both the misdemeanor and felony levels, and we can help you to understand the options available to you.
Driving Under the Influence in Arizona – ARS 28-1381 (A1) and (A2)
Regular DUI offenses are codified in ARS 28-1381. Under this statute, you can be charged with a DUI in a couple of different ways. If your blood alcohol concentration tests at 0.08% or higher within two hours of your arrest, the police can charge you with a DUI per se.
You can also be charged with a DUI offense if you are caught driving or being in actual physical control of a car when you are impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol or drugs.
This means that it is possible to be charged with a DUI when the police do not have a BAC or when your BAC tests lower than 0.08% as long as you are impaired.
Simply being arrested and charged with a DUI does not mean that you will be convicted. It is important for you to talk to a Phoenix DUI lawyer to get help with your DUI defense. The state’s DUI penalties are severe, even for misdemeanors. With proper representation from an attorney at Colburn Hintze Maletta, you might secure a favorable plea to reduced charges or penalties or win an outright dismissal of your case.
Penalties for a First Time DUI Conviction in Arizona
Even for a first DUI conviction in Arizona, you can face serious DUI penalties. If you are convicted of a DUI with a BAC of 0.08% to 0.149%, you can face the following penalties for a first offense:
- From 24 hours up to six months in jail
- Fine from $250 up to $2,500
- Driver’s license suspension from 90 days up to 365 days
- Ignition interlock device installed on any vehicles you drive
- Probation up to five years
- Community service hours if ordered by the judge
- Drug and alcohol assessment
- Alcohol education classes
- 8 points added to your Arizona MVD record
- Traffic Survival School
- SR-22 Insurance, significantly increasing costs of premiums
For a better chance of avoiding these penalties and fines, you should work with an experienced Phoenix DUI attorney who knows the Arizona DUI laws and can evaluate your case to try to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
First Offense Extreme or Super-Extreme DUI – ARS 28-1382
If your blood alcohol concentration tests at 0.15% up to 0.199% within two hours of your arrest, you can be charged with an extreme DUI offense under ARS 28-1382. While this offense is still a misdemeanor, it carries more serious penalties than a standard DUI.
If you are convicted of a first extreme DUI offense, you will face the following penalties:
- Jail from a minimum of 30 days up to six months
- Traffic Survival School
- Fines and assessments of more than $2,700, plus additional fees and jail costs
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device at your expense
- Alcohol and drug assessment and attendance at any recommended classes
- Probation for up to 5 years
- 8 points added to your driving record
- 30 hours of Community Service
A super-extreme DUI is also a misdemeanor as a first offense. It is charged when your BAC tests at 0.20% or higher within two hours of your arrest.
If you are convicted of this offense, the minimum mandatory jail time is 45 consecutive days and you will face fines and fees of over $3,200 plus the other penalties.
Second DUI and Third DUI within 7 Years
Receiving multiple convictions within seven years can expose you to greater criminal liability. While a second DUI conviction within seven years is still a misdemeanor, you can expect to face much harsher penalties, including a longer mandatory jail sentence.
You potentially face a minimum of 120 days in jail for a second Extreme DUI within seven years and a minimum of 180 days in jail for a second Super-Extreme DUI within seven years. If you are convicted of a third DUI offense within seven years, it is a class 4 felony carrying a minimum prison sentence of 4 months and other harsh penalties.
When you are facing charges of a second DUI or a subsequent offense, you should retain an experienced DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. With the help of an attorney from Colburn Hintze Maletta, you might secure a much more favorable resolution to your case than you otherwise may receive.
Effective Defenses to Misdemeanor DUI Charges in Arizona
When you are arrested for a DUI, you might think that there is little you can do to defend against your charges. However, simply being arrested for a DUI does not mean that you will be convicted. Instead, it is a good idea for you to have an experienced DUI defense lawyer at Colburn Hintze Maletta review your case to identify the defenses that might be available to you.
There are many different types of DUI defenses that you might raise to dismiss a DUI charge. The defense strategy your attorney might take will depend on the facts of your case.
Some of the potential defenses to a DUI charge include the following:
- Improper stop
- Improperly administered SFSTs (standardized field sobriety tests)
- Lack of probable cause
- Improper breath test administration
- Improper handling or storage of blood samples
- Medical problems
When police stop vehicles other than at sobriety checkpoints, they must have a reasonable suspicion that the drivers have committed a traffic violation or criminal offense. Police cannot arbitrarily pull people over based on a hunch.
If the officer in your case did not appear to have reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle, your attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence against you based on an unconstitutional stop.
If this type of motion is successful, all of the evidence gathered against you will be inadmissible, forcing the prosecutor to dismiss your case.
Police officers are trained to administer the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in a specific way. While you do not have to agree to perform SFSTs during a DUI stop, most people do. Your attorney may review the police officer’s reports and video of your stop to determine whether the SFSTs were administered properly. If they were not, your attorney can challenge how they were administered on cross-examination and might be able to get the court to declare that testimony about your performance is inadmissible.
Before you can be arrested, the officer must have probable cause to believe that you committed a crime. Probable cause is a higher standard than reasonable suspicion. The officer must believe that you are more likely than not to have committed a crime to place you under arrest.
If the officer appears to not have had probable cause to arrest you for a DUI, your attorney may challenge your arrest and any evidence subsequently gathered by filing an evidentiary motion. If this motion is successful, your breath or blood test results and any statements you may have given after your arrest might be inadmissible as evidence against you.
Breath and blood testing are not infallible, and both can be challenged by a skilled attorney. Police officers must follow specific protocols when they administer breath tests, including waiting for a specific time after you belch before administering the test, not allowing you to take the test with anything in your mouth, and other guidelines. The machine must also be calibrated correctly and certified.
Your attorney will look at the records of your breath test administration and the machine’s maintenance and certification records to see if anything was wrong. Similarly, if there were any issues in how your blood sample was drawn, stored, transported, or tested, your attorney might be able to secure suppression of your blood test results.
If you know that your BAC levels were much higher than they should have been, another potential defense might be a medical condition you have. For example, if you have diabetes or are on a ketogenic diet, your breath test may show artificially high results.
Other defenses might also be available. If you are facing DUI charges, the first thing you should do is retain an experienced defense attorney.
Aggressive Help from a Phoenix DUI lawyer at Colburn Hintze Maletta
Being charged with a first-time DUI can be frightening. You might be concerned about your future and the potential for spending time in jail. If you have been arrested for a DUI, you should contact the law firm of Colburn Hintze Maletta.
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