Arizona levies tough DUI penalties for those convicted of impaired driving. Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence (DUI), or while intoxicated (DWI), can have a serious impact on your life or the life of a loved one.
If convicted, the consequences for first time offenders include serving a minimum of 24 hours in jail, while a second or third offense may result in substantial jail or prison time. Additional criminal penalties if convicted of a DUI or DWI can range from mandatory counseling, community service and traffic survival school to fines and substantial jail time depending on a variety of circumstances:
- What was the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC)?
- Is there a history of previous DUI/DWI violations?
- Was there was a child in the vehicle at the time of the DUI/DWI violation?
- Did the DUI/DWI violation occur simultaneously with another dangerous moving violation, such as reckless driving?
- Did the DUI/DWI violation involve a car accident in which property damage occurred or in which another person was injured or killed?
- Was the driver was under the legal drinking age at the time of the DUI/DWI violation?
- Was the driver operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the DUI/DWI?
- Was impairment caused by prescription drugs or an illegal substance?
It is important to understand the law, your rights and your legal options when suspected of DUI or DWI.
Do you know what to do when stopped?
While you want to cooperate with law enforcement, it is also critical that you don’t unintentionally waive your rights. Remember, anything you say can, and likely will, be used against you. If asked, you will want to provide your license, registration and proof of insurance, but it might be in your best interest to decline to answer any further questions.
It is important that you know that:
- You do not have to tell the officer how many drinks you’ve had.
- You do not have to submit to roadside tests. There is no consequence in Arizona for refusing field sobriety tests — they are designed to find probable cause for “real” testing.
You should always ask to speak with a lawyer prior to submitting to any chemical test. If requested, you should submit to a test of your blood, breath, or any other bodily substance. The law in Arizona permits testing and your refusal will lead to an automatic one year suspension of your license with no chance for a restricted license assuming this is your first offense. While DUI attorneys generally have more leverage defending their clients in the absence of breathalyzer test results, the act of refusal comes with its own penalties.
Protect your rights! Anything you say can, and likely will, be used against you.
Always remember that you have a right to insist to speak to a lawyer – asking for an attorney will not hurt your case in court!
Not only will an experienced, qualified attorney guide you in responding to policy questions and requests, but if charged, your attorney can help you determine if there is a valid defense to your DUI or DWI charge that can be challenged at trial. Even in situations where no valid defense exists, the right attorney will be an aggressive negotiator who will work towards a plea agreement to drop additional charges or allow you to plead to a lesser offense that carries less severe penalties.
In his more than nine years of practice, Michael Kielsky has handled hundreds of criminal law cases and is ready to serve you with honest, aggressive, and confidential representation.
Contact Michael Kielsky, 24 hours a day, at 480.461.5309.
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