Holiday DUI In Arizona? Here’s What to Do
The winter holidays can be a time for celebration and togetherness, but that also often involves drinking alcohol. Holidays are often the biggest days of the year for arrests stemming from impaired driving. Arizona has notoriously strict DUI laws, so anyone arrested for DUI in Arizona during the holidays should take the charges very seriously. One simple mistake during the holidays could lead to years or even a lifetime of negative consequences. An Arizona DUI defendant has the right to choose their own criminal defense attorney. For your free consultation with one of our experienced DUI defense attorneys, call our firm at 480-448-9800.
Because of A.R.S. § 28-3511, someone who is arrested for DUI in Arizona can also have their vehicle impounded, or taken and held at a tow lot. There are several DUI-related reasons that someone may have their vehicle impounded under A.R.S. § 28-3511, including:
- Driving with a revoked license
- No valid driver’s license
- Violation of court order to have an ignition interlock device installed
- Transportation of an illegal immigrant
- Driving in a way that would expose other drivers to serious injury or death
- Obstructing a highway or thoroughfare in a way that a police officer reasonably believes could result in serious injury or death
- Vehicle listed as for sale with a hidden, defaced, falsified, etc. VIN number
- The driver is in an accident and doesn’t have insurance
- Extreme or Super Extreme DUI- BAC of 0.15+
A vehicle impound is always inconvenient, but it can be even more so if your vehicle is impounded while you are visiting Arizona from out-of-state. The standard impound period for someone facing an Extreme of Aggravated DUI is 30 days.
A vehicle impound isn’t just a hassle- it can be embarrassing and outrageously expensive. The administrative fee for a vehicle impound is $150. The fee for most tow lots is $15 per day. There may also be an additional towing fee imposed upon the vehicle owner. The defendant may have a window of as little as 10 days (starting from 30 days after the arrest) to pick up the vehicle or risk the tow lot filing for an abandoned title. That means the driver needs to have a minimum of $600 ready when their vehicle is available to pick up or lose their vehicle altogether.
Was Your Vehicle Impounded While Borrowed by a Relative?
The driver can request a hearing to get the vehicle back within 10 days of the arrest, but there need to be special circumstances present- for example, the vehicle was stolen, the driver got their license reinstated, etc. Clearly, these won’t apply in a DUI situation. So a DUI defendant who was visiting from another state will need to come back to Arizona later to collect their vehicle or find some other arrangement. However, if you hosted guests and let any of them drive your vehicle, you could find yourself in a situation where your vehicle is impounded and the driver has no incentive to deal with the consequences, at least as far as the vehicle impoundment goes. If you find yourself in this situation or under similar circumstances, call our firm for your free consultation at 480-448-9800.
Recount Events As Soon As Possible
After a DUI arrest, there’s a solid chance that the defendant doesn’t have a crystal clear memory of how the arrest occurred. An already hazy memory will only get weaker over time. It’s important to get the facts straight as you remember them, preferably in writing, as soon as possible after the arrest. There could be details that you may not realize are legally relevant. Writing them down can help you recount them more clearly to your defense attorney. Let your attorney decide what is legally relevant to your defense.
Proactively Seeking Treatment and Education
A defendant convicted of DUI will be required to complete drug and alcohol screening, testing, and education as part of their penalties. The driver will also need to complete a defensive driving school to reinstate their driver’s license. It doesn’t hurt to get a head start on drug and alcohol dependency treatment after a DUI arrest. The prosecution may consider your proactive treatment when negotiating a plea bargain, as it shows that you are taking the charges seriously and don’t want to re-offend. Talk to a DUI attorney for more information about relevant courses by calling 480-448-9800.
Look For Evidence Supporting Your Claims
Once you determine your legal defense strategy, it will determine which types of evidence you will need to obtain to fend off the prosecution. There may be surveillance footage from any public places you attended that night, or from the scene of the arrest or accident. If you were arrested after a gathering at a private household, the homeowner may have a Ring camera or other evidence that you weren’t inebriated when you left. You can request the results of your chemical test and have them independently tested as well. The specific items you may need will be different on a case-to-case basis. Your attorney should be able to provide you with ideas about what can support your claims after a thorough consultation.
Public Defender, Pro Se, Or Private Attorney?
A defendant facing DUI charges has 3 options in legal representation: self-representation, a court-appointed attorney, and a private defense attorney. Because of the severity of DUI charges and the complexity of the justice system, we don’t recommend self-representation when jail time is on the line. While many assume the default route of using the public defender, hiring a private defender can come with several advantages. Private defenders often have more time and resources to devote to their clients than court-appointed attorneys. They may be more experienced, including more in-depth relationships with prosecutors. A fully-staffed firm offers the benefit of additional hands on your case, including staff to deal with questions and issues when your attorney is in court.
Cost may be the main concern that tips the scales in favor of a public defender for many. However, defendants with financial ability may be required to reimburse the county for the costs of a public DUI defender. This is in addition to any other fees and penalties imposed by the court as part of the conviction. Additionally, some private defenders offer affordable payment plan options that make the high-quality defense more budget-friendly. A private defender who achieves a better plea deal or outcome than a court-appointed attorney could end up saving the defendant money in the long run.
Experienced Arizona DUI Defenders At Competitive Rates
Don’t let a DUI arrest ruin your holiday cheer. If you’re facing DUI charges in the state of Arizona, you should know that even a first-time conviction comes with mandatory jail time, fines, driver’s license penalties, community service, and more. The severe penalties for DUI in Arizona could damage your station in life for years to come. But at Arizona Zero Down DUI, our experienced Arizona DUI defense attorneys can help defendants facing DUI charges achieve positive outcomes and move on with their lives. Our rates are competitive, and we offer installment options for affordability. To learn more with your free phone consultation, call our office to schedule at 480-448-9800.
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