Possible DUI Defenses in Arizona

Defending Your Rights When Arrested For Driving Under The Influence In AZ

Arrested for DUI in Arizona? Have no doubt that the consequences for conviction will make your life much more difficult. But a DUI arrest doesn’t always result in a guilty verdict. Depending on the specifics of your situation, there may be one or more defenses available in your case. With the right evidence to back it up, your defense could help you get reduced charges and penalties, or even get the charges against you dropped. Your lawyer will review your case for possible defenses under state law and help you determine how to best proceed after an Arizona DUI arrest. To consult with one of our experienced Zero Down Arizona defense attorneys, call 480-833-8000.

Arrested for driving under the influence in Arizona

Lack of Reasonable Suspicion

Constitutionally, a police officer is not allowed to pull you over at random and accuse you of driving under the influence. To justify pulling you over and questioning you for suspicion of DUI, the officer must have reasonable suspicion that you were driving while impaired. However, there are a wide variety of driving mistakes that could give a police officer reasonable suspicion to believe that you’re under the influence. Just about anything that can get you pulled over under regular circumstances can give an officer adequate reasonable suspicion- speeding, failing to use turn signals and headlights, rolling stops, running red lights, and so on. More passively negligent behaviors like drifting inside (or outside) your lane and driving too slow can also give a police officer reasonable suspicion that you’re under the influence. However, if you are pulled over completely at random, there may be a defense against your Arizona DUI charges. Keep in mind that DUI checkpoints are constitutional and commonly used to arrest people for DUI in Arizona.

Lack of Probable Cause

While things like speeding and rolling through stop signs might be enough to give a police officer reasonable suspicion to pull you over, that may not necessarily be enough for the officer to arrest you for DUI. The standard here is that the officer must have probable cause that you were driving under the influence. Certain aspects of your appearance and demeanor can give the officer probable cause that you are intoxicated, like the strong scent of alcohol or marijuana, or slurred and delayed speech. If you submit to field sobriety testing, health and weather conditions could cause you to appear impaired when you actually aren’t.

No Actual Physical Control of a Motor Vehicle

To be convicted of DUI in Arizona, the prosecution must prove that you were in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence. This defense most often comes into play when someone is arrested for DUI while “sleeping it off” in their vehicle. Here, someone sleeping in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition to heat or cool the vehicle would be more likely to be convicted than someone sleeping in their backseat with the keys to their car in the trunk. Arizona DUI law also requires that the vehicle you be arrested for driving be motorized, or have an engine.

Failure to Read Your Miranda Rights

Television police dramas have familiarized many people with at least some of their Miranda rights. And while common knowledge to some, the police’s failure to remind of your “right to remain silent,” along with the rest of the Miranda warnings, could help your DUI case. You should be read your Miranda rights once the police take you into custody. Failure by the police to do so could result in some of the evidence in your case being ruled inadmissible, or thrown out. Without this evidence, the prosecution’s case against you might not be strong enough to proceed. However, the scope of evidence this defense can apply to is limited. It only applies to statements made after the police have placed you under arrest and failed to read you your Miranda rights.

Inaccurate or Unreliable Breath or Chemical Test Results

Most of the time, the most crucial evidence in a DUI case is the results of a blood or urine test after arrest. While a breathalyzer test will give a police officer probable cause to place you under arrest for DUI, its results aren’t as reliable as chemical testing and can’t detect other substances like cocaine and prescription medications. There can be issues with either type of testing that could be defenses in your DUI case.

When a police officer administers a breathalyzer test, there are certain standards they should uphold to preserve the evidence’s accuracy. First of all, breath testing can’t occur too soon after you’ve finished drinking. A breathalyzer could report mistakenly elevated BAC levels if the officer doesn’t wait long enough since your last drink to administer the test. You might have a health condition, such as acid reflux disease, that can cause faulty positive breathalyzer results. Your sample could even be contaminated by substances like cleaning fluids. The police or prosecution could make mistakes while transferring custody of evidence, or could even accidentally ferment your sample.

What’s At Stake When Arrested for a DUI in Arizona

Many people believe that getting a DUI in Arizona is no big deal. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Even if this is your first time receiving so much as a speeding ticket, you will need to spend at least one day in jail if convicted of DUI in Arizona. The fines and other tangential costs of a DUI conviction could affect your financial situation for years to come. And a DUI could keep you back in your career, and other aspects of your life, because it will remain on your record for life. You will face several months, up to years, of your driver’s license being suspended, revoked, or restricted. You will need to keep an embarrassing and inconvenient interlock device installed in your vehicle for a significant amount of time. You will also need to complete several hours’ worth of community service, driving school, and drug and alcohol screening and treatment.

If you don’t want to face the full force of all the consequences described above, you’ll either need to get your charges dropped, negotiate a plea deal, or receive a not guilty verdict at trial. If you can get enough evidence excluded from your case, prosecution may have no option but to dismiss the charges. A plea deal could allow you to plead guilty to lesser charges that come with lesser penalties. For example, if you are charged with Extreme DUI, you might work out a deal with prosecution to plead guilty to a standard DUI. If you were arrested with a lower BAC, you might be able to work out a deal where you can plead guilty to reckless driving rather than DUI charges in general. If your case proceeds to trial, you will need an experienced defense attorney to help you achieve a “not guilty” verdict.

Experienced DUI Lawyers to Take Your Case at an Affordable Price

With all that’s on the line with an Arizona DUI conviction, you shouldn’t leave your case in the hands of just anybody. And top notch legal representation can actually come with flexible payment options that work for you, especially if your budget is tighter after a DUI arrest. If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Arizona, don’t hesitate to seek out Zero Down DUI, the best defense team with affordable payment plans- call our office for your free consultation at 480-833-8000.


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