“Always use a designated driver. Call a cab, call an Uber, call a Lyft,” says Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. It’s advice that many in the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and law-enforcement agencies are hoping will stick with drivers considering getting behind the wheel of a car after a few drinks.
Call a Cab
It was this sentiment exactly that is at the center of the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and law-enforcement agencies annual holiday DUI enforcement and sober designated driver campaigns.
Seeing as we’re in the midst of holiday season, law-enforcement officers are out looking for drunken and impaired drivers across the state of Arizona, according to Alberto Gutier, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. The agency aims to increase the awareness of designating a driver during holiday celebrations.
“In the era of Uber and Lyft, this message is even more important,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery, Milstead and police chiefs from across the Valley expressed the importance of creating awareness each year, in hopes of reducing DUI statistics in Arizona.
DUI Stats in Arizona
Still, traffic fatalities remain high.
“In Arizona, our traffic fatalities are at a three-year high,” according to Arizona Department of Transportation Director John Halikowski.
“And all I would ask is something very simple: Let’s make it socially unacceptable to be impaired and operate a motor vehicle,” Halikowski said.
A DUI is not an offense that should be taken lightly. There can be serious consequences, including fines, jail time, and suspension of your license. That’s why it’s advised that you always call a cab, a ride-share, or designate a driver if you are planning on drinking.
Driving under the influence is prohibited by Arizona laws. While a majority of drivers charged with DUI are alleged to be under the influence of alcohol, the truth is there are a variety of substances that can render a person “DUI.” You can be found guilty of DUI if you are:
- Impaired in any manner or to any degree by any combination of alcohol, liquor, drugs, or vapor-releasing substances;
- Found to have a breath or blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within 2 hours of the time you were last seen driving;
- Operating a truck or other commercial motor vehicle and have an breath or blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater;
- Under 21 years old and have any “spirituous liquor” in your body;
- Found with an illegal drug or metabolite an illegal drug in your body.
There are additional facts which can result in enhanced penalties. For example, you can expect to pay a higher fine and be subject to more serious jail / prison sentences if any of the following apply to you:
- Your alcohol concentration is over 0.15 but less than 0.20 (called an “extreme DUI” offense);
- Your alcohol concentration is over 0.20 (called a “super extreme DUI” offense);
- You have previous convictions for DUI offenses;
- You were DUI while your license was suspended because of a DUI offense;
- You had children under the age of 15 in the car while you were DUI.
Penalties for an Arizona DUI Offense
Depending on how many DUI offense convictions you have within the previous seven years and whether any aggravating factors are present. Penalties include fines, mandatory imprisonment, driver’s license suspension, and other costs and fees – just to name a few. Expect to receive:
- First offense (30 day to 1 year license revocation)
- DUI: 24 hours to 10 days in jail, $250 minimum fine
- Extreme DUI: 30 to 90 days (consecutive) in jail, $250 minimum fine
- Super Extreme DUI: 45 to 90 days (consecutive) in jail, $500 minimum fine
- Second offense (1 year license revocation)
- DUI: 10 to 90 days in jail, $500 minimum fine
- Extreme DUI: 120 days in jail (60 days must be served consecutively), $500 minimum fine
- Super Extreme DUI: 180 days in jail (90 days must be served consecutively), $1,000 minimum fine
- Third offense
- 3 year driver’s license revocation
- Four to 45 months in prison
- Minimum fine of $750
If You’ve Been Pulled Over
You have the right to remain silent. This is also true regardless of if you have been temporarily detained (like during a routine traffic stop) or formally arrested (like for a DUI). In instances like a traffic stop, you will need to provide your license, registration, insurance, and name, when asked. Some state laws require that you answer basic identifying questions, such as name and address. Beyond that you are not required to give further statements and are free to respond to a police officer by saying, “I choose not to answer that question.” This saves you from potentially providing incriminating information.
You do not have to consent to a search of your person or your car. Police often casually ask if they can “take a look” in the car. You are legally able to deny them that position. This is not the case if the police have probable cause to search the car, which is where the law gets tricky. Police will seemingly always state they have probable cause. Also if you’ve been placed under arrest, police are able to search you and sometimes your vehicle. This is regardless of if you’ve given consent or not.
You have the right to ask for an attorney from the moment you are arrested.
If you’ve been temporarily detained (and not arrested), you are legally allowed to ask police officers if you are free to go. If they say “yes,” calmly walk or drive away from the scene.
Try to remain calm. Be as polite as you can. Even if you feel like your rights have been violated, no success will come from attempting to argue your way out of the problem. Assume the law is always on the side of the police officer. So if you give him or her any reason to feel unsafe, they are legally able to act accordingly. This means keeping your hands in plain view at all time, avoiding making sudden movements, avoiding interfering with what the police are trying to do, and avoiding giving false statements. Do not give a police officer any reason to mistreat you or add charges.
If you have been accused of committing a crime or arrested, it’s critical that you immediately contact a criminal defense attorney.
Working with a Criminal Defense Attorney
DUI offenses are difficult to defend against, but a skilled and zealous defense counsel may be able to exploit weaknesses in the government’s case against you. This can result in your charges being reduced or even dismissed.
Ferragut Law Firm is a top rated criminal defense law firm based in Phoenix Arizona. We are dedicated exclusively to the practice of criminal law in all state, federal, and city courts throughout the State of Arizona.
Our mission is to achieve the best possible results for our clients through hard work, attention to detail, and aggressive advocacy, while maintaining the highest level of professionalism, integrity, and ethical standards.
We are committed to providing the most aggressive, professional, and effective representation for our clients accused of crimes to ensure that their legal rights are protected and that the best possible results are achieved. Contact us to discuss the details of your case.
One Renaissance Square
2 North Central Avenue, Suite #1125
Phoenix, Arizona 85004