By: Max Nicholas Hanson, Esq.
During the holiday season, many of us enjoy getting together with co-workers, friends, and family for food and fun at parties and other holiday events which, often, include the consumption of alcohol.
At Owens & Perkins, we would ask that everyone enjoy the holidays by making sure to drink responsibility and never operate a car or other vehicle after drinking. Utilize a designated driver, Uber, Lyft, or even take the old fashioned route - call for a cab instead.
However, if you find yourself in a situation in which you have been stopped by police and are suspected of operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, here are some important considerations to keep in mind.
What are the penalties for a DUI in Arizona? Driving under the influence of alcohol in Arizona is a Class One Misdemeanor, with a maximum possible sentence of six (6) months in jail, up to $2,500 in fines, not including surcharges or assessments, and up to three (3) years of supervised probation as well as associated penalties from the Motor Vehicles Department. The minimum penalty for a first offense non-extreme DUI (i.e., having a Blood Alcohol Content “BAC” of 0.08 to 0.149 within two hours of driving) in Arizona is at least one day in jail, between $1,500 to 1,800 in fines, surcharges, and assessments, a ninety (90) day suspension of your driver’s license, and a requirement to install and utilize an interlock ignition device, at your expense, on your car for at least six months to a year. Arizona will require jail time with any conviction of a DUI and suspend your driver’s license even if it is your first offense.
What are your rights if you are stopped for a DUI? You have certain inalienable Constitutional rights anytime you are confronted by law enforcement. You have the right to remain silent – beyond identifying yourself to officers with name, address, and driver’s license, etc., you have the right to refuse to answer any other questions and to invoke your right to remain silent. You also have the right to decline to perform field sobriety or coordination tests as well as any eye or penlight tests. IMPORTANT NOTE: Refusal of the blood and/or breath testing will automatically cause you to lose your driver’s license for up to a year, so you may need to comply with the officer’s request in this regard. You also have the right to consult with your attorney prior to any questioning by police or any blood, breath, or urine testing, unless it would cause undue delay in the testing. Finally, you have a right to request that a sample of any blood, breath, or urine taken by law enforcement be preserved for an independent test and evaluation and/or have your own independent test done at your own expense.
What should I do if I have been stopped or charged with DUI? As set forth above, we would encourage you to exercise your Constitutional rights if you are stopped on suspicion of DUI and would strongly suggest and encourage you to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Based on the severe ramifications to your life from a DUI, an experienced attorney can make all the difference in navigating through the process and helping you to obtain the best result possible.
If you or a loved one are arrested for a DUI this holiday season, or just wish to obtain more information about DUIs, please call OWENS & PERKINS at
(480) 630-2464 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.