Spring is upon us and arguably it is the best time of year in Arizona with cool mornings and warm (but not too hot) days. Many of us enjoy the start of Spring Training, food and fun poolside, or getting outdoors for a hike or on a boat at one of the local lakes. Often, these fun activities also include the consumption of alcohol with family and friends. Here at Owens & Perkins, we ask that everyone enjoy this beautiful spring weather by making sure to drink responsibly and never operate a vehicle after drinking.
However, if you find yourself in a situation in which you have been stopped by police or other law enforcement officials and are suspected of DUI, here are some things 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 involved with your ability to drive. 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) is at least one (1) 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.
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 constitutional right to remain silent. You also have the right to decline to perform field sobriety or coordination tests which includes the eye/penlight test. Refusal of the blood and/or breath testing will automatically cause you to lose your driver's license or driving privileges (if an out-of-state resident) for up to a year, so you will likely need to comply with the officer's request in this regard. But, you 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 the 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 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 possible result.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for DUI, please contact us at (480) 630-2464 to schedule a free, 30-minute consultation with one of our experienced criminal DUI attorneys.