What To Do After a DUI Arrest In Arizona
Steps To Take When You’re Released From a DUI Arrest
In some states, a DUI conviction may simply be a slap on the wrist. This isn’t the case in Arizona. Arizona is notorious for having the strictest DUI laws in the nation. Besides the severe penalties, you will also have a DUI on your record. This can affect your employment opportunities, future rental applications, and more. Some factors can even cause you to be charged with an Aggravated DUI, which is a felony in Arizona. That’s why it’s important that you take your DUI charges seriously.
Arizona DMV Administrative Hearing
After a DUI arrest in Arizona, you won’t just have a criminal hearing to attend. You will also need to attend an administrative hearing with the DMV, or risk losing your license for a significant period of time, usually 12 months. You will also need to attend this hearing if you refuse a breathalyzer test on the road, regardless of whether you are charged with DUI. You will need to present evidence and argue for why your driver’s license shouldn’t be suspended or restricted. This hearing is generally held 14 days after your arrest (or refusal to take a breathalyzer test), but you can also request a continuance. If you disagree with the results of the administrative hearing, you can request an appeal. Another option would be to request a rehearing with the Executive Hearing Office. This hearing will be audio recorded, and you can purchase a copy of the recording.
Learn About The Potential Penalties You Will Receive If Convicted
After a DUI arrest, you should learn about the mandatory Arizona penalties so that you understand the severity of the charges against you, and aren’t taken by surprise if convicted. One thing in particular that you should know about Arizona DUI laws is that a conviction means mandatory jail time, even for a first, low BAC arrest. The minimum jail sentence is 10 days, but 9 of them can be commuted. If you have a higher BAC, have been arrested multiple times, or other factors are present, you will receive a higher jail sentence. You will have your driver’s license suspended, restricted, or revoked. You will also need to use an ignition interlock device, or IID, in your vehicle for several months or even years. Furthermore, you can expect court fines and ancillary costs of at least a few thousand dollars. You will also need to obtain SR-22 high risk auto insurance if you want to drive again after getting your license back, which will likely at least double your insurance costs.
Prepare Yourself For Arraignment
An arraignment is the hearing in which you enter a plea to the charges against you. You can choose to respond with a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest, also known as nolo contendere. If you want to avoid the harsh penalties of a DUI in Arizona, you will need to plead not guilty. The other pleas mean that you are accepting the state’s charges against you. If you retain an Arizona DUI attorney, they should be present to help guide you through this hearing.
Document What Happened During The Arrest
If you end up going to trial to fight the charges against you, you will need to recount your version of events to the court. You should create a written or taped memo for yourself to help you remember what happened.
Some things you may want to record include:
- What you did and where you were going the night of the arrest
- What made the police pull you over.
- Anything that you said to the police.
- Whether you agreed to breathalyzer testing.
- Did you submit to field sobriety testing.
- If there were any witnesses.
- Discuss your case as early as possible with a DUI defense attorney for more information about what you should record based on your specific circumstances.
- Assemble Evidence To Defend Yourself
Gathering evidence in your favor can give you leverage during plea agreement negotiations, and protect you if your case proceeds to trial. You should obtain the police report and review it for all details concerning your arrest. If you spent the evening at a public establishment, you should reach out for the receipt, as well as any surveillance footage they may have. If any witnesses were present, your Arizona DUI attorney may want to interview them to prove your innocence.
Hire An Experienced Arizona DUI Defense Attorney
After a DUI arrest, you will have the choice between hiring a public defender or hiring a private attorney (you can also represent yourself in court). Public defenders are often competent, but have an overwhelming caseload and may not be able to give your case the attention it needs. Should you opt for a private attorney, you should begin contacting Arizona DUI defense attorneys in your area as soon as possible. Your attorney will only be able to attend your arraignment if you retain before the hearing. Your attorney may even be able to attend some of your hearings entirely on your behalf, so you don’t have to worry about getting time off from work and other considerations. The sooner you hire your attorney, the sooner your attorney can begin gathering evidence. Look for attorneys who offer free consultations if you are worried about funds during this time. This gives you the chance to speak to DUI lawyers yourself to see if you feel comfortable with them without spending up money that could be vital to your defense. Your attorney may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed, or negotiate for the lowest possible penalties in the mandatory penalty ranges.
Arizona Zero Down DUI Attorneys Can Assist
The consequences of a DUI conviction in Arizona are serious, so you should take every possible step to protect yourself from the charges against you. Our Arizona DUI defense team has years of experience representing those arrested for DUI in Arizona, and offer competitive rates with payment plans to fit your budget. Don’t wait after a DUI arrest- call to speak with one of our Arizona DUI defense attorneys as soon as you can. Call (602) 609-7000 or use our online form to schedule today.
20325 N 51st Avenue Suite #134, Building 5
Glendale, AZ 85308
Office: (602) 509-0955
2 East Congress St., Suite #900-6A
Tucson, AZ 85701
Office: (520) 441-1450
12725 W. Indian School Rd., Ste E, #101
Avondale, AZ 85392
Office: (623) 399-4222