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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.

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Arizona DUI Laws, Penalties & Defenses

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.

We will carefully analyze your case and help you to understand your legal options. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation by calling (602) 825-2500.

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What People Say

Client Testimonials

Arizona attorney Darin Colburn

“The calm in the middle of my storm…”

I, recently, consulted with Darin after my wife filed for divorce. He was referred to me by a friend whom I very much trust. Darin was the antithesis of the first two attorneys I consulted (who were matter-of-fact and had very little empathy about the fact that I was struggling emotionally with what was transpiring). From the first few minutes of speaking with Darin, it was obvious that he was very knowledgeable and skilled with divorce and family matters. While that was most important to me, the thing that made the difference was his calming, logical, and empathetic approach. He took the time to listen and empathize with me. He took the time to understand what I wanted to achieve through this process and laid out my options. After the consultation, I knew he would be my attorney if I had to pull the trigger. I, ultimately, didn’t have to engage Darin’s services due to a reconciliation with my wife. I hope I never have to go through that process again, however, if I do, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt who I will be hiring to represent me…Darin R. Colburn. Darin, thank you for caring and being more than an attorney.

Frank - AVVO Review

Divorce / Reconciliation Client
Attorney David Maletta

“There is NOBODY I would rather have defending me than David”

I hired David Maletta and it was the best decision of my life. His knowledge, genuine interest, overall attitude, and ability to connect with people is incomparable. I could talk about all of this at length. I COULD do all of that, but that wouldn’t do David justice. He first and foremost demonstrates his interest and genuine care for his client. Being in uncharted territory with a criminal charge and nowhere to turn, David’s presence and personality put all nerves at ease. I went through a jury trial with David beside me. The trial ran for 3 days and I spent a significant amount of time with David one-on-one. During this stressful time, he wanted to hear my input and thoughts on everything. David was incredible from the first day I met him. Not only is he a great attorney, but he is also a great person who cares about people and finding justice for his clients. He connects to the human side of people. I can’t put into words how much David cares about the individual in a case. When it comes to the courtroom, there is NOBODY I would rather have defending me than David.

Jacob - AVVO Review

DUI Defense Client
Arizona attorney Darin Colburn

“Because of Darin I got my daughter back”

Before I hired Darin I went through a total of 3 different attorneys in two different states fighting a jurisdiction battle, when my daughter was taken to a different state. It was a very difficult decision to switch attorneys at one of the most difficult, time sensitive and important times in my case, but I’m very glad I did. Upon receiving my file from previous attorneys Darin came very familiar with my case quickly. Like other people have explained he took the time to lay everything out and explain how the process was going to proceed and what to expect and continued to do this as new issues arrived. He is also very quick at responding to emails and phone calls. My case was getting close to trial as told by my previous attorneys, I did not want to go to trial as I know this is very costly (most attorneys will convince you that you need to.) Darin knew my situation, fought for what was right and got the results I wanted while avoiding a costly trial. He is extremely knowledgeable in the Child Support Guidelines as well. Because of Darin I got my daughter back. I would highly recommend him and would hire again for any future issues. Thanks Darin!

Chris - AVVO Review

Child Custody & Support Client
Attorney David Maletta

“I was found NOT GUILTY. Dave won the trial for me.”

Dave stayed with me while he pushed back and forth with Covid-19 and the delays with court. Once cited, the state basically decides that you’re guilty through the automatic suspension of your drivers license. Dave immediately took care of that problem and I never lost the privilege of driving. Dave took notes like crazy and was upfront about our uphill battle. I was also well aware that the plea deal that was given to us, was unacceptable and through Dave’s knowledge and experience I had put my trust in him to guide me to make the right decision on how to proceed. With Dave’s guidance I had decided that we needed to fight for something better than what the prosecutor was offering and Dave was 100 percent behind me on that decision. We knew the risks, be we also knew we had very little to lose based on the prosecutions stance. We decided to go to trial… Watching the prosecution and then watching Dave was night and day!! It was clear to the jury that the prosecution didn’t have their facts straight and were not addressing the facts that they could not address…There was a lot at stake for my personal life and my work life. I was found NOT GUILTY. Dave won the trial for me.

Gregory - AVVO Review

Criminal Defense Client
Arizona Attorney Timothy Hintze

“Tim was absolutely amazing and worked diligently”

I had an incident and was Given the catch-all charge. There wasn’t really anything I could do by myself to get out of it. Tim was absolutely amazing and worked diligently to ensure that I would have the best possible outcome from my case. Which he successfully achieved! As of right now I am on the path to having my case fully dismissed. A couple things that really helped me through this process was that Tim did an amazing job at was answering my questions. He was available almost anytime and would respond promptly when he got my emails. He was also very approachable and comforting to be around while we had in person meetings and especially when I was at the court house. I would trust him and the company he works for with any other cases in the future and as of right now they will be my first choice if I need a lawyer in the future.

Dylan - AVVO Review

Criminal Defense Client
Arizona Attorney Timothy Hintze

“Listens to every request that you make on a case”

I honestly just want to let it be known to any and everyone looking for an attorney on a case. Whether it be DUI, possession, or your every day to day traffic violations where you need representation attorney Tim Hintze is your man. You have to respect a man that listens to every request that you make on a case and he gets in there and gets it done. Tim has my respect as an attorney and being a well-rounded representer. From him being honest on the possibility and options for your case to him being easy to work and communicate with via over the phone or face to face Mr. Hintze is working it out.

Ben - AVVO Review

Criminal Defense Client
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