You've been stopped, arrested and charged with a DWI, OUI or DUI in Arizona. Arizona has some of the harshest DUI laws in the country, and these cases are among the most aggressively prosecuted in this State. You are likely facing mandatory jail time, the loss of your driver's license, substantial fines, and installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
Now what? First, you need an experienced Phoenix and Scottsdale DUI Attorney at your side to guide you through the maze of legal issues, court hearings, scientific analysis, and legal documents related to being charged with a DUI in Arizona. As a well-established law firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, we will carefully analyze the legal and factual issues surrounding your DUI and will be there to protect you every step of the way.
Our experienced Arizona DUI Lawyers can answer all of your questions, assist you in evaluating your options, and create a strong defense to your DUI charge. Below are some of our most frequently asked questions about receiving a DUI in Arizona:
What's a BAC and why is it important? Your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is evidence of how impaired you were at the time you were driving (or in "actual physical control" of the vehicle). Even if your BAC is less than 0.08, you can still receive a DUI if the police officer believes you are impaired to the slightest degree. If your BAC is 0.08 to 0.15 within two hours of driving, you'll be charged with a regular DUI.
If your BAC is greater than 0.15 within two hours of driving, you'll probably be charged with an extreme DUI in AZ. If this happens and you are convicted, it will result in more jail time, increased and higher fines and other more severe penalties.
If your BAC is 0.20 or higher, you'll almost certainly be charged with a super-extreme DUI and face even harsher penalties.
Our experienced DUI Defense Attorneys in Scottsdale and Phoenix will help confirm whether the BAC equipment used was properly calibrated and whether the officer giving the BAC test was adequately trained. All of these factors have an impact on the outcome of your case.
- What does "actual physical control of a motor vehicle" mean? The State can charge you with DUI in Arizona even if you are merely sitting in the driver's seat, whether it's running or not. If you're able to possibly reach the steering wheel and control the pedals, or even just have the keys and could possibly engage the ignition of the car, you can be charged with "actual physical control." Whether you were in actual physical control is a question of fact best answered by an Attorney.
- Do I have to answer any questions when I'm stopped? No, you're not required to answer any questions, beyond the basic identification questions concerning your name, address, date of birth, etc. and production of your license, registration and insurance information. The most important Constitutional rights you have are the right to remain silent and the right to speak with an attorney. But, if you've already answered any questions, be aware that your answers can be used against you by the prosecution.
- What questions can an officer ask me when I'm stopped? You might be asked: the current status of your driver's license; whether you're ill or hurt; whether you've taken any medication within the last 24 hours; when and what you last ate; how much sleep you've had recently; how long you were driving before being stopped; where you were coming from and going to; what and how much you've had to drink, and when. You may also be asked additional questions about your drinking and whether you think you are fit to drive safely.
- What if I refused to give a blood, breath, or urine sample when I was stopped? If you refuse the tests, you may be subjected to additional penalties from the Department of Motor Vehicles, including the loss of your driving privileges for one year. You should consult an Attorney to assist you in addressing and minimizing these additional consequences. Your Scottsdale DUI lawyer may engage an expert to review tests results to make a determination as to your actual blood alcohol content at the time you were operating the motor vehicle, which can result in a strong defense for your case.
- . What are FSTs and HGNs? FSTs are Field Sobriety Tests. They include various coordination tests (standing on one foot and balancing, reciting the alphabet, walking and turning in a straight line). Horizontal Gaze Nistagmus (HGN) is a test which tracks how well you are able to follow an object with your eyes from side to side without turning your head. Be aware that you are NOT required to take these tests, and the real purpose of these tests is for the police to obtain additional evidence to show your level of impairment.
- Can I be charged with DUI if the officer stopped me but did not give me a citation other than the DUI charges? Yes. Usually a DUI arrest arises out of a traffic violation (speeding, running a stop sign, illegal turns, or even a broken taillight), but officers can stop vehicles for other reasons. The Courts do require, however, that the officer have a "particular suspicion" that you were engaged in criminal activity. Officers can't stop you just based on a hunch. The question of whether the officer had the required cause to pull you over is best addressed by your Attorney.
- Can I be charged with a DUI even if I'm on private property? Yes, you can be charged with a DUI whether you're on the highway, on a street, or on private property. All that's required is that you be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol or other drugs (see above). Even if you are parked, as long as you have the keys and can reach the steering wheel, you can also be charged with a DUI.
- If the officer didn't read me my rights, will my case be dismissed? Even if the officer fails to read you your Miranda rights, the case will not be automatically dismissed. However, your Attorney may be able to suppress any statements you made following your arrest if you were not properly advised of your rights at the time of arrest.
- If I plan to plead guilty, will I still need an Attorney? Absolutely. An experienced DUI Attorney may be able to help minimize the legal and practical consequences of your conviction even if you decide to enter a guilty plea.
If you have received any type of a DUI/DWI or OUI in Arizona, you need to call the experienced, aggressive DUI attorneys at Owens & Perkins. We will fight for you and will work to protect your Constitutional rights.