It might be obvious that St. Patrick’s Day – a day built around Guinness and binge-drinking – is a big day for DUI’s, but if you find yourself ringing in the celebration with those police lights behind you, you’re going to want to hire a DUI attorney as soon as possible.
St. Patrick’s Day DUI
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.
The Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal law covers a wide variety of topics, including DUI defense, petty theft, drug crimes, grand theft, and sex crimes just to name a few. If you have been accused of any form of crime, it is always advised that you work with a criminal law attorney like the ones at Ferragut Law Firm.
Because the average person does not have an understanding of the criminal justice process, which comprises a number of complex state and federal laws, it’s always advised that you work with a criminal defense lawyer.
Criminal defense lawyers assist clients as their case moves through the criminal justice process, from pre-trial and through the conclusion of the trial proceedings. In some cases, when a client suspects that they might be charged with a crime a client will make the decision to retain a lawyer before they have even been charged. If you have been involved in a criminal incident and have suspicions that you might need a lawyer, it’s best to hire one as quickly as possible as they will be able to provide you with guidance on how to proceed. The earlier an attorney is involved in a case, the more protection they can offer, and even in times ensure that a suspect does not divulge any potentially incriminating information.
A criminal defense lawyer will also be able to advise a client on if a case can even be brought against their client. In cases where there is insufficient evidence, a lawyer’s main objective will be to have the court drop the charges against a client. There are many avenues of defense that a lawyer can apply, including challenging probable cause, persuading a court to reduce or waive bail, and negotiating a plea bargain to reduce charges to a lesser crime or reduce sentencing.
The role of a criminal defense lawyer will be entirely based on the case that is presented and the type of defense that a client needs. Obtaining the help of a criminal defense lawyer early on in your case can mean the difference between guilty and not guilty.
Working with Ferragut Law Firm
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.
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2 North Central Avenue, Suite #1125
Phoenix, Arizona 85004