24 Dec Can You Fight a DUI Charge in Arizona?
The Maricopa county attorney’s office shared some sobering facts on their website: two out of three people will be involved in a drunk driving incident in their lifetime. And over the holidays, incidents of driving under the influence always increase. Here’s what you should know if you get pulled over, and when you can fight a DUI charge.
Fighting a DUI in Arizona
Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a crime commonly referred to as a DUI. In Arizona, it is illegal to have a blood alcohol content (or BAC) of 0.08% or higher while operating a motor vehicle. It is also illegal to operate a vehicle if you are under the influence of drugs, whether they are illicit or prescription drugs.
Know Your Rights If You Get Pulled Over
If you get pulled over, whether it’s at a DUI checkpoint or not, you still have rights. Here’s what to do:
- Keep your answers to questions short—in fact, a simple yes or no is usually enough. If you wish, you may invoke your fifth amendment right to stay silent.
- You do NOT need to consent to a search of your vehicle or person without a warrant. Law enforcement may only perform a search if they have probable cause (such as open containers or drug paraphernalia in plain view).
- You may be asked to submit to a breathalyzer, field sobriety, or blood/hair test. You have the right to ask that an attorney be present, but you do not have the right to refuse the tests completely. Keep in mind that Arizona is an ‘implied consent” state. This means that when you got your license from the state, you agreed to submit to alcohol or blood tests if suspected of a DUI.
Consequences of a DUI
- License Suspension: Minimum of 90 days, or a maximum of 1 year
- Jail Time: 1 day to 6 months in jail
- Fines: Minimum of $1,250 for a first offense, or a minimum of $3,000 for subsequent offenses
- Other Consequences: Mandatory classes on overcoming alcohol/drug addiction, and the addition of an interlock device in your vehicle for 1 year
Can You Fight a DUI Charge?
If you have been charged with a DUI and were taken to the police station, you still have the right to fight the charge in court. Hiring a lawyer as soon as possible is the first step in the right direction.
The best time to contact a lawyer is as soon as you are asked to take a sobriety test. However, later is still better than never. Finding an attorney who has experience in DUI cases (like Todd Coolidge) will help you stand the best chance of staying out of jail, and keeping your license.
Getting a consultation with a lawyer right away will help give them time to build a strong defense. Your lawyer will help walk you through the ins and outs of your charge, the consequences you might be facing, and the different ways you can fight the DUI charge.
Common DUI Defenses
- Violation of rights
- No probable cause for arrest
- Refusal to allow an independent test if requested
- Tests that are taken more than two hours after a traffic stop
Oftentimes the key to fighting a DUI is in the details. Writing down exactly what happened before, during, and after your encounter with law enforcement can help your lawyer build a strong case, especially if there were any forms of misconduct by the police, like unwarranted searches or seizures of property. Record any possible witnesses that you think may help your case.
Todd Coolidge Can Help You Fight a DUI
Getting charged with a DUI can impact your whole life, especially if you have a commercial driver’s license. A lawyer who specializes in fighting DUI charges can help you keep your life together. If you need to build a strong defense, contact us for a consultation.