Driving Under the Influence2018-10-07T23:24:19+00:00

Arizona DUI Defense Lawyers

What are the different levels of DUI?

Arizona has four different types of alcohol misdemeanor DUI charges and this is how they work:

The first level of DUI is known as being impaired to the slightest degree. This means that it does not matter what your blood alcohol content was if an officer believes that you were impaired even to the very slightest most minimal degree they can charge you with this offense.

The next level DUI is known as the legal limit DUI this is when your blood-alcohol content is at a point zero eight or above.

If the government can prove that level then they can presume that you were impaired.

If your blood alcohol content was at 0.15 or above, this is known as an extreme DUI and with the extreme DUI come increased penalties.

The very highest level misdemeanor alcohol DUI that we have in Arizona is known as the super extreme DUI.

This is when your blood-alcohol content is at a 0.20 or above.

Now if you’ve been charged with a DUI It’s not unusual for the police to stack these charges on top of one another, meaning if you’ve been charged with a super extreme DUI you are going to see charges for all the other DUIs on the same citation.

What are the penalties for a first time DUI in Arizona?

Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws in the entire country. These are the penalties for a first-time regular DUI conviction.

A person can be convicted of a regular DUI when their blood alcohol content is between a point zero eight and a point one four nine

By statute under the law the fines and fees for this type of conviction are roughly right around $1,600 there is mandatory jail the law says ten days of jail nine days of those can be suspended or deleted so long as a substance abuse treatment program is completed.

If it’s not completed those nine days of jail come back and they must be served the judge may also impose jail costs. This could be up to $1,000.

The court may also impose a term of probation lasting all the way up to five years now the motor vehicle department will also impose their own separate penalties.

Upon receiving a conviction they will impose a requirement that you must have an interlock device installed on your vehicle.

This is supposed to last up to twelve months, but you might be eligible to have it removed after only six.

They will also impose a mandatory license suspension this can range anywhere from 90 days all the way up to one year depending on the facts of your case.

These are the penalties that are written in the law they don’t take into account anything else that impacts your life such as your insurance rates, your reputation your career, or your livelihood.

These penalties are some of the harshest in the entire country.

What are the penalties for a first time Extreme DUI in Arizona?

A person can be convicted of an extreme DUI when their blood alcohol content is 0.15 or above the penalties for this charge are severe.

The fines and fees for an extreme DUI conviction total right around $2,800 there is also mandatory jail the law says 30 days of jail must be served however, 21 days of that sentence can be deleted so long as you agree to install an interlock device on your vehicle for an extended period of time.

The judge may also impose jail cost this can total right around $2,700 the court may also impose a term of probation lasting all the way up to five years.

The motor vehicle department or the MVD will impose a separate set of penalties. They will require that an interlock device be installed on your vehicle for at least twelve months, but this may be longer.

They will also impose a mandatory license suspension this normally will last 90 days, but can be extended up to one year if there was a refusal to provide a blood or a breath sample.

The court may also impose other penalties they can require that community restitution be paid or that you attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim impact panel.

What are the penalties for a first time Super Extreme DUI in Arizona?

A person can be convicted of a super extreme DUI when their blood-alcohol content is a 0.20 or above.

This is the highest level misdemeanor DUI that we have in Arizona and the consequences are severe.

The fines and fees for a super extreme DUI total around $3,300 there was also mandatory jail the law says 45 days of jail must be served however 31 days of those can be suspended or deleted if there is an agreement to install an interlock device on your vehicle for an extended period of time.

This turns the 45 day sentence down into 14 days.

The judge may also impose fines and fees which can total around $4,000.

The court may impose a term of probation which can last all the way up to five years.

The motor vehicle department will impose their own separate set of penalties, they will require that an interlock device be installed on your vehicle or any vehicle that you drive for at least 18 months, but this can be longer.

There will also be a mandatory license suspension. Normally, this is 90 days, but it can be extended all the way up to one year if there was a refusal to provide a blood or a breath test.

The super extreme DUI conviction is the most serious and harshest misdemeanor DUI that we have the penalties are very severe.

But the law provides a number of different provisions that allow us to mitigate or minimize these effects.

We ultimately want these charges gone.

What are the penalties for a second time regular DUI in Arizona?

Penalties for a second offense DUI are severe. If you have a conviction for any type of DUI that happened within the last seven years and you face a new DUI charge, these are the consequences you may be looking at.

The fines and fees for a second offense regular DUI are mandatory and they total around $3,500. There is also mandatory jail – the law says that 90 days of jail must be served – however 60 of those days of jail can be suspended or deleted if a substance abuse screening and follow-up treatment program is completed.

If so, that would leave only 30 days of jail. Some jurisdictions also will allow work release or home detention but this depends on the specifics of your case.

The judge may also impose jail costs this can total almost $8,000. The court can impose a term of probation lasting up to five years, and they may require 30 hours of community service.

When the MVD finds out about the conviction they will issue a one-year revocation of your license. This means you cannot drive at all.

An important part when defending against second offense DUI charges is to challenge and attack the prior.

If the prior offense can be thrown out because of bad paperwork, a bad fingerprint, ,or differences between state laws then the current new case can no longer be treated as a second offense and the penalties can be reduced significantly.

What are the penalties for a second time extreme DUI in Arizona?

Penalties for a second offense extreme are severe. If you have a conviction for any type of DUI within the last seven years and you are facing new charges for an extreme DUI, these are the consequences that you may be looking at.

The fines and fees for a second offense extreme DUI are mandatory and they total around $3,800.

There is also mandatory jail. The law says that 120 days of jail must be served – however 60 days of that sentence can be suspended or deleted if a substance abuse screening and follow-up treatment program are completed.

This would leave only 60 days of jail left to be served.

Some jurisdictions allow home detention or work release, but this depends upon the specifics of your, case.

The judge may also impose jail costs. This can amount to over $10,000.

The court can impose a term of probation lasting all the way up to five years and require thirty hours of community service be served.

The motor vehicle department, when they receive notice of this conviction, will impose their own penalties and they will issue a total revocation of your license for one year this means no driving whatsoever.

An important part when it comes to defending against second offense DUI charges is to challenge the prior.

If the prior offense can be thrown out, whether it’s because of bad paperwork bad fingerprints or changes in state laws, the current case can no longer be considered a second offense and the penalties can be reduced significantly.

What are the penalties for a second time super extreme DUI in Arizona?

Penalties for a second offense “super” extreme DUI are severe. If you have a conviction for any type of DUI within the past seven years and you receive a new charge for a super extreme DUI these are the consequences that you may face.

The fines and fees for a second offense super extreme DUI are mandatory and total around $4,300.

There is also mandatory jail the law says 180 days of jail must be served – however 90 of these days can be suspended or deleted if a substance abuse and follow-up treatment program are completed.

This would leave only 90 days of jail left to be served. Some jurisdictions will allow for home detention or work release but this will depend upon the specifics of your case.

The judge may impose jail cost this could amount to over $15,000.

The court can impose a term of probation lasting all the way up to five years and will require 30 hours of community service be served.

The motor vehicle department, when they receive notice of this conviction, will impose their own penalties and issue a one-year total revocation of your license – meaning no driving whatsoever.

An important part when it comes to defending against second offense DUI charges is to challenge the prior.

If the prior offense can be thrown out whether it’s because of bad paperwork, bad fingerprinting, or because there are differences in state law, the current case can no longer be treated as a second offense and the penalties can be reduced significantly.

Contact our office schedule a free case evaluation so together we can develop the best strategy for you and your case moving forward.

Arizona DUI Field Sobriety Tests

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test or the “Pen” Test

If you were stopped for DUI, chances are you probably were given the pen test. This is how we as defense attorneys show this little eye exam is absolute nonsense.

The pen test is formally called the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.

When the police look into your eyes they are looking for nystagmus., they are watching for your pupil to jerk back towards the center as they move the pen around.

A good analogy for this phenomena is the windshield on your car.

When is raining outside, the windshield wipers move smoothly, back, and forth but when it’s dry and you turn your wipers on they will jerk across your windshield.

This jerkiness is what the police are looking for.

Here’s the problem – in most DUI situations the pen test is administered in very poor conditions. There are headlights, street signs, there are cars whizzing around.

The officer will hold the pen too high or too low or too high.

Too close or too far or they’ll hold it out to the side for far too long causing fatigue in your eyes.

This is a scientific test being administered in a non scientific environment. The fact is the police are not trained, they are not qualified to use this test to determine whether you are impaired under the influence of alcohol.

This test was designed by medical professionals to be used by doctors to diagnose head trauma, not the impairment of alcohol.

There are literally 86 other types of nystagmus and other causes for the jerkiness in your eyes.

The police have no training on identifying any other type of nystagmus and why should they – they’re not medical doctors.

DUI Investigation Walk & Turn Test

If you were stopped for DUI and given tests on the side of the road, the officer probably asked you to walk a straight line, turn around
and walk back.

Not surprisingly, this is called the Walk and Turn test, and this is how it fails.

The walk and turn test is what is known as a “divided attention” test.

This means a person is asked to concentrate on more than one thing at a time.

The officer will ask the individual to walk a straight line, keeping their feet heel-to-toe for 9 steps the entire way.

Then, when they reach the end, they are asked to turn around and walk back.

The officer is looking for different “clues” of impairment, this includes things like stepping off of the line, using hands or arms for balance, or not following instructions.

In reality, this is a hard test for many people to complete regardless of alcohol or drugs.

Walking heel to toe on a straight line is just not a natural way to walk.

Officers make this test more complicated and inaccurate by asking people to walk imaginary lines instead of real lines or administering the test on uneven, poorly lit or slopped ground.

They also almost never consider whether you have ADD or ADHD, inner ear, vertigo or balance problems, and whether you have foot, knee
or back problems.

Any of the variables can greatly impact the accuracy of your case and have a significant impact on the result.

DUI Investigation One-Leg Stand

One of the most common “tests” the police administer on the side of the road during a DUI stop is called the “One-Leg Stand test” – it is not an easy to test to complete.

Let’s review the instructions and take a look at how it works together.

To begin the test, you are supposed to be a on a reasonably dry, hard, level, non-slippery surface.

The environment around you needs to be relatively safe.

The instructions sound simple: stand on one leg, raise your other leg forward straight in front you 6 inches above the ground.

Keep your arms straight to your sides, and count out loud until you’re told to stop.

Starting with one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand three – and so on.

The officer is supposed to wait until you get to one-thousand-thirty before stopping you.

If you have never tried this test, pause this video and give it a shot.

Most people will notice around 25 to 30 seconds in, the muscles in your calf and leg will start to feel strained from maintaining your
balance.

While the officer is watching, they are looking for 4 different clues – putting your foot down, hoping on one-leg, swaying – either
front to back or side to side, or raising your arms from your sides 6 inches or more.

Two or more of these “clues” constitute a failure of this test.

Having tried the test yourself, you’ll know it is very easy to sway, raise your arms for balance feel the need to put your foot down so you don’t fall over.

Add in an uneven sidewalk, flashing police lights, officers walking around, cars whizzing by, any physical ailments you may have, inner ear problems, coordination issues not to mention extreme anxiety and fear from being questioned by an officer, you’ll see this so-called test is extremely easy to “fail”.

DUI Blood Testing in Arizona

DUI Investigation One-Leg Stand