The State of Arizona penalizes crimes involving driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) harshly. A DUI conviction can come with a sentence that significantly impacts your life, from forcing you to pay expensive fines to restricting your driving privileges. If you’ve recently been charged with a DUI in Arizona, find out how this criminal conviction could impact your ability to drive, as well as how an attorney may be able to help.
Ignition Interlock Device
In Arizona, anyone who is convicted of driving under the influence is required to install a Certified Ignition Interlock Device in his or her vehicle. This device measures a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level before allowing him or her to drive. The engine will not start unless the driver breathes into the device and it registers 0.00 percent alcohol.
The device also requires a driver to continuously retest during a trip. If a test registers alcohol in the driver’s breath, the device will automatically send the results to a supervisor’s office and the driver may face additional penalties. The length of time the device is required depends on whether this is the driver’s first DUI, but can go up to 24 months. The driver will be responsible for paying for the device’s installation, as well as a monthly fee.
Driver’s License Suspension or Restriction
Another common penalty that could restrict your ability to operate a motor vehicle after a DUI in Arizona is the suspension, restriction or revocation of your driver’s license. Every DUI case in Arizona opens two types of cases: a case with the criminal courts and an administrative hearing with the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD). A criminal conviction can result in a sentence such as paying a fine and spending time in jail, while the MVD can impose penalties against your driver’s license.
If you are charged with driving under the influence in Arizona, you have 15 days to request a hearing with the MVD. If you do not request this hearing, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for 90 days. A suspended license means you legally cannot operate a motor vehicle until you have met all of the MVD’s requirements and paid to reinstate your driver’s license. If you do request a hearing, you and your attorney can head to court to try to argue the DUI charge and negotiate your sentence.
If a DUI conviction involving driver’s license suspension comes on or after February 1, 2006, you may be eligible to obtain a Special Ignition Interlock Restricted Driver’s License (SIIRDL). Unlike a suspended license, a restricted license still allows you to travel to some places, such as to school and work. To qualify for a SIIRDL, you must complete at least 90 days of license suspension, have no outstanding withdrawal actions on your driving record, install a Certified Ignition Interlock Device, comply with a mandatory alcohol treatment program, submit proof of financial responsibility and pay all applicable fees.
Should I Hire an Attorney for My DUI Case?
Driving restrictions are just some of the penalties you could face for a DUI conviction in Arizona. You could also face mandatory jail time, thousands of dollars in fines, probation, community service, mandatory counseling and more. The best way to protect your rights during a DUI case is to hire a DUI defense lawyer in Glendale.
An experienced DUI attorney will know exactly how to navigate the legal system in the most efficient and effective way possible. This can mean less time you have to spend in court and a much more favorable case outcome. A lawyer can create a strong defense on your behalf to argue for case acquittal, a plea deal or a lighter sentence.