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Frequently Asked Arizona DUI Questions

At Gallagher & Kennedy we know that the DUI process can be a confusing and frightening one, and you may be left with a lot of unanswered questions. That is why we’ve provided the following questions that are frequently asked of our Arizona DUI attorneys. We want to take some of the confusion out of the situation by answering several of the biggest questions that we receive about DUI topics as DUI defense attorneys in Phoenix, Chandler, and Scottsdale.

If your questions are not answered here, we would like to hear from you. Our Arizona DUI lawyers know what it takes to provide our clients with personalized, intelligent representation.

To discuss your case with us in more detail, please contact us today by calling one of our three Arizona criminal defense offices in Phoenix: (602) 510-9999, Chandler: (480) 203-8977, or Scottsdale: (602) 327-1179.

How Can I Fight My DUI Charge?
If you have been arrested for DUI in Arizona, you may feel that your conviction is inevitable and that you will have little chance to defend your case. On the contrary, there are many different approaches to fighting an Arizona DUI charge, from pointing out flaws in evidence to reporting any misconduct or illegal procedures that you were subjected to during your arrest and detention. Whatever the circumstances of your DUI arrest may be, our Arizona DUI attorneys will fight to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive a fair trial.

Can I Lose My Job as a Commercial Driver?
DUI offenses are taken very seriously for any job that requires driving. Truckers, bus drivers, and other transportation workers could be at risk of losing their jobs if they are convicted of a DUI. While most employers will not fire a worker solely for a DUI arrest, many will terminate the worker’s position if he or she is found guilty of DUI in court. With so much on the line, anyone arrested for drunk driving should consult with an experienced DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.

A single DUI conviction can have serious implications for your career, so do not hesitate to begin preparing your case.

Will I Lose My Driver’s License?
If you are pulled over for drunk driving, there are many different ways to lose your driver’s license. Your license may be suspended for up to 1 year if you fail a Breathalyzer or blood test, if you fail a sobriety test, or if you refuse to take a Breathalyzer or blood test. Even if you are not charged with drunk driving, you could still temporarily lose your license if you do not request a hearing with the Motor Vehicle Division shortly after your arrest. It is therefore important to consult with an Arizona DUI attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your driving privileges are protected.

Many people consider the loss of driving privileges to be the harshest penalty in a drunk driving case.

Is DUI a Crime?
Yes, DUI is classified as a criminal offense in the state of Arizona. Many people do not realize that DUI qualifies as a crime and results in a criminal record. If you are convicted of DUI, you may be penalized with probation, fines, and possibly even jail time. You will be required to report a conviction when you apply for a job, a home mortgage, other loans, or to a college or university. Having a DUI on your record can hurt your ability to advance in your career and could limit your future options.

What is the Legal Limit?
The “legal limit” refers to the level of blood alcohol content (BAC) that defines a person as legally intoxicated. In Arizona, the legal limit is 0.08% BAC for adult drivers of age 21 or older. For individuals under the age of 21, Arizona has a zero tolerance law and a legal limit of 0.02% BAC. Anyone under the age of 21 who is found to have even a small amount of alcohol in their system can be arrested for drunk driving. Commercial drivers can be charged with a DUI for a BAC of 0.04% or greater. A DUI conviction can have severe consequences on your personal and professional life.

Do I Have to Take a Breathalyzer Test?
No, you can decline to take the test if you wish, but refusing does carry consequences. When you receive your driver’s license in the state of Arizona, you give your “implied consent” that you will submit to a Breathalyzer or blood test if asked by police. While you can refuse to take a Breathalyzer test, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for one year, so it is important to consider whether refusing the test will benefit your case or not.

If you are asked to take a Breathalyzer test after being stopped by police, tell the officer that you first want to consult with a lawyer before submitting a sample.

What is a Breathalyzer?
A Breathalyzer is a device that is used to estimate a person’s blood alcohol content. When a driver is pulled over for suspected drunk driving, he or she may be asked by police to breathe into a Breathalyzer device to determine the level of intoxication. However, since a Breathalyzer measures breath alcohol and not blood alcohol directly, it can be an inaccurate way of determining whether someone is intoxicated above the legal blood alcohol limit.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for drunk driving after taking a Breathalyzer test, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.

What Is BAC?
BAC stands for “blood alcohol content,” and is used to describe the amount of alcohol that is present in the blood. It is a fairly standardized measurement of intoxication, and translates to:

The amount of alcohol in 100 milligrams of blood
The amount of alcohol in 210 liters of breath
The amount of alcohol in 67 milliliters of urine

A BAC of .08 qualifies a driver for driving impaired.

Will I Have to Go to Jail?
If convicted of a DUI offense, there is a chance that you may have to go to jail. Part of the punishment of a first-time conviction includes a minimum of 10 consecutive days in jail, with a maximum of 180 days. It is uncommon for first-time convictions of .08 BAC violations to result in more than 10 days of jail time. Additionally, if you agree to be evaluated for drug or alcohol dependency, you may only have to spend a single day in jail.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI Conviction?
The penalties for a DUI conviction may vary depending on the particular nature of the offense. Generally speaking, the punishments for a first-time conviction for the lowest-level DUI offense are:

Minimum of ten days in jail, nine of which may be waived if you agree to alcohol/drug evaluation and treatment
Up to $1,800 in fines
The revocation of your license for up to 90 days
Up to five years of probation

Because of the severity of the consequences, it may be incredibly beneficial to discuss your case in detail with an experienced Arizona DUI attorney.

How Should I Behave if Pulled Over?
Many drivers are unsure how to behave when a police officer pulls them over for a DUI offense. Some are tempted to angrily protest the charges. However, such an action may come back to haunt the defendant, as it could paint them in a negative light in court. Generally speaking, it is better to behave courteously and politely to an arresting officer, and provide him or her with your license, registration, and insurance.

You should not submit to a portable breath test (PBT), and it is wise to invoke your right to silence. Additionally, it may be beneficial to request a sample of your blood or urine to be analyzed by an independent testing facility.

What Are the Levels of DUI in Arizona?
Arizona state law was recently expanded to include another layer of DUI allegation, making three levels in total. The lowest level is simply “DUI,” and is .08 BAC, which is standard throughout most of the United States. The next level is “Extreme DUI,” and is, as the name implies, more severe. Extreme DUI applies to motorists whose BAC is .15. The final and most severe level of DUI is “Super Extreme”, which occurs when a driver’s BAC is .20 or above.

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