If you have been pulled over for drunk driving in the state of Arizona, it is critical to contact a qualified Glendale DUI/DWI lawyer as soon as possible. You have just 15 days from the date of your drunk driving arrest to request a Motor Vehicle Division hearing to delay or possibly prevent driver’s license suspension. Additionally, by hiring a lawyer right away, you can protect yourself against saying or doing something that may incriminate you.
Effective DUI/DWI Representation
At The Law Offices of John Phebus, our Glendale DUI attorneys are regularly called upon to defend people facing intoxicated driving charges in the greater Phoenix area along Highway 101, Interstates 1-10 and I-17 and other Arizona roadways in Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai and Yuma counties.
Effective representation in your DUI case depends on how quickly you get a defense lawyer on your case to investigate the facts. As experienced DUI defense lawyers, we can explain the sobriety tests and the likely outcome of your case. We can advise you on whether to negotiate a plea agreement for a lesser charge or fight the DUI charge in court. Additionally, we will thoroughly prepare you for your court appearances, and be by your side every step of the way.
Arizona DUI Laws
Arizona law distinguishes four levels of intoxicated driving, with graduated penalties for each. Driving under the influence of drugs carries the same penalties as alcohol DUI except MVD revokes your driver’s license for one year.
- Blood alcohol of 0.01 to .08: Drivers under age 21 can face a DUI conviction if they have any alcohol in their system. They can also be charged with minor in consumption or minor in possession, which can affect their driver’s license for up to two years if under 18 years of age, regardless of whether or not they were driving.
- Blood alcohol of .08 to .149: Driving Under the Influence (DUI), (also called Driving While Impaired (DWI)).
- Blood alcohol of .15 or greater: Is classified in Arizona as an extreme DUI.
- Blood alcohol .2 or greater: Super Extreme DUI.
Federal law (and Arizona law) has a lower allowable blood-alcohol threshold (.04) for commercial truck drivers and those with a commercial driver’s license to be charged with DUI.
What Happens When You Get a DUI?
Arizona levies tough DUI penalties for those convicted of impaired driving. Sentencing depends on the level and circumstances of intoxication, prior DUI convictions and the court where your case is heard.
First-time offenders will serve a minimum of 24 hours and up to 10 days in jail, while a second or third offense may result in substantial prison or jail time. Other criminal penalties include fines, alcohol and substance abuse treatment, traffic survival school and the installation of ignition interlock devices. In addition, the MVD will suspend your driver’s license and driving privileges for a period of time, and your auto insurance rates may skyrocket.
It is wise to have a skilled Glendale DUI lawyer fighting to protect your driving record at all stages through the legal process. Let us help you from start to finish.
Is DUI Considered a Felony in Arizona?
Most forms of driving under the influence are misdemeanors, including driving with between 0.08% and 0.149% blood alcohol concentration levels. Extreme and aggravated DUI charges, however, are felony crimes in Arizona. Driving with a blood level at or above 0.15% can lead to felony charges, as can causing a serious car accident while driving under the influence.
A DUI charge may escalate to an aggravated DUI with felony consequences if a child under 15 years old was in the car at the time, the driver was driving on a suspended/revoked license, the driver was using an ignition interlock device or if the driver had other DUI convictions within seven years. Other circumstances could also lead to an aggravated DUI charge and a felony conviction, but these are the most common.
A felony is the most serious type of criminal charge in Arizona. Receiving a felony DUI over a misdemeanor can mean more severe penalties. Felonies are often punishable by 12 months or more in state prison, on top of hefty fines and other punishments. Having a lawyer negotiate a felony DUI charge in Glendale down to a misdemeanor could make an enormous difference to your case and future. This may be possible if you have a clean record or other extenuating circumstances exist.
Can You Get a DUI Off Your Record in Arizona?
If you receive a conviction for driving under the influence in Arizona, the misdemeanor or felony will go on your permanent record. It may be possible, however, to get it off your record and restore your civil rights (if you received a felony conviction) in some cases. You may have one or more options available to you to clean up your criminal record after a DUI.
- Restoration of civil rights. You could automatically restore the civil rights you lost with a felony conviction, other than the right to possess a firearm, if you pay the victim restitution and it is your first offense. Otherwise, you may file an application to request restoration of your civil rights.
- Undesignated felony to a misdemeanor. You may qualify to have the courts designate a Class 6 undesignated felony as a misdemeanor, which could restore your civil rights. The felony must be undesignated, not involve the use of a deadly weapon and not involve the intentional infliction of serious injury to qualify.
- Set Aside. It may be possible to have the courts Set Aside your misdemeanor or felony if you have completed your sentence. If so, your record will show that the courts set the conviction aside. It is not an expungement, but it can show that you completed your sentence and paid all the necessary fines.
Having your record Set Aside is the closest thing Arizona has to expungement. Many employers view Set Aside records favorably, potentially making it easier for you to get a job after a DUI. You may be eligible for a Set Aside action if your DUI conviction did not involve you causing any serious personal injuries, using a deadly weapon or hurting someone under 15 years old. You can still apply separately to restore your civil rights on cases where you cannot get a Set Aside ruling.
Potential DUI Defenses
Preventing a DUI conviction is always better than trying to clear your record after the fact. It may be possible to avoid a drunk driving conviction with help from an experienced Glendale DUI attorney. Potential defenses include innocence (you were not intoxicated), lack of evidence, unlawful arrest, lack of probable cause for the stop, no Miranda warnings, eyewitness testimony that contradicts the police officer’s story, inadmissible blood level tests and unreliable field sobriety tests. Contact a lawyer to discuss possible defenses to your DUI charges.
Our DUI Lawyers Can Help You Protect Your Rights
If you have questions regarding DUI defense or felony DUI issues, schedule a free consultation at The Law Offices of John Phebus. Our Glendale criminal lawyers can be reached by calling (623) 847-7117 or by completing our online contact form. The office hours at our Glendale office and other office locations are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. We can schedule evening and weekend appointments based on the needs of our clients. Contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your criminal case.