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Top Phoenix DUI Lawyer
If you have been charged with a DUI or extreme DUI Arizona, you need someone who has the necessary experience and qualifications to represent you. It is imperative to work with experienced Phoenix DUI attorneys to protect your rights and freedoms. At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, we work diligently to research facts, investigate your case, and protect your rights while pursuing every legal option available to you. An Arizona traffic lawyer with our firm can help with a wide variety of traffic violations, including DUI charges. To schedule a consultation with us, please call our law firm at 602-910-4040 today, or fill out our online intake form.
Arizona DUI Laws
The legal federal limit for driving in the United States with alcohol in your system is with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%. This applies to all state law regulations aside from Utah, which is 0.05%. In Arizona, if you are caught behind the wheel of a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or above, you will receive a DUI charge. Most often, this will be a misdemeanor charge unless it is a repeated offense or there is an aggravating factor involved. We’ll discuss what an aggravating factor is later.
For a first-offense DUI in Arizona, you face:
- Up to 10 days in jail
- Up to 5 years probation
- Hundred of dollars in fines
- Driver’s license suspension
- Mandatory alcohol screening and education
- Community service hours
This is true for general DUI charges with a BAC between 0.08% and 0.14%. If a driver’s BAC is found to be between 0.15% and .199%, the charge for a first offense becomes an extreme DUI. This includes similar but heavier punishments, including up to 30 days in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.
For a second offense of an extreme DUI or for super extreme DUI’s (BAC over 0.20%), the penalties will increase. The more serious the offense, the harsher the consequences.
What Is a DUI?
If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Phoenix, AZ, it’s important to understand exactly what that means. The definitions of DUIs and DWIs can vary depending on the state in which you are charged. Generally, DUI means “driving under the influence.” DUI cases can arise whether someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving. It’s also important to note that one does not need to be under the influence of illegal drugs. They could be influenced by over-the-counter medications, such as diphenhydramine, which makes people sleepy.
What Is a DWI?
DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. Driving drunk is illegal in all 50 states, and can apply to the operation of anything from a car to a watercraft to even a bicycle.
Depending on where you live, you may have heard this charge called a DWI, DUI, DWAI, or even OUI or OWI. Here is a breakdown of each of these acronyms:
- DUI – Driving Under the Influence
- DWI – Driving While Intoxicated
- DWAI – Driving While Ability Impaired
- OUI – Operating Under the Influence
- OWI – Operating While Intoxicated
Regardless of what it is called, if a law enforcement officer suspects you are too impaired to drive, you will receive one of these five charges. Impairment doesn’t only pertain to having alcohol in your system, though. Impairment can also be caused by drugs, medications, sleepiness, or other factors.
DWI vs DUI
In some states, a DUI might be the same thing as a DWI, while in others, it may possess different meanings. In both cases, however, you are committing a crime and your driving record will be affected.
The significant difference between these two is that a DUI could mean driving under the influence of either drugs OR alcohol, or both. Drugs, in this case, can refer to illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or even over-the-counter medications.
A DWI generally refers to driving while intoxicated (drunk). Though, there are some states that might classify DWI as driving while impaired. In this case, both DWI and DUI entail the same thing. The exact definition of each charge simply depends on which state the incident occurs.
Is a DUI a Felony in Arizona?
In most states, driving under the influence is treated as a misdemeanor, though repeat offenders often end up facing felony charges. Again, in the state of Arizona, the majority of DUI’s result in a misdemeanor. However, there are a few exceptions. Below are some situations of which Arizona considers “aggravating factors.”
If the driver received three or more DUI’s within a period of seven years, this would be considered an aggravating factor and may result in felony charges. Driving under the influence with a minor passenger below the age of 15 is also cause for a felony charge.
If a driver is arrested for a DUI while they have restrictions placed on their license (i.e., suspended, canceled, revoked, or refused), they may also be prosecuted with a felony charge. Finally, a DUI that results in an accident causing injury or death is certainly considered an aggravating factor and is often the most severely penalized in Arizona. In this case, the driver may receive a felony charge and faces multiple years of imprisonment.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Arizona?
In Arizona, receiving a DUI charge can result in two different records, each with their own consequences. The first record will be with the Motor Vehicle Department. The Motor Vehicle Department, or MVD, keeps track of all DUI convictions as well as other driving infractions by use of a point system.
A DUI conviction is equivalent to 8 points. These points will stay on your MVD for 5 years before automatically being relinquished. If you rack up too many points on your record within a certain amount of time, you may lose your license entirely.
The other record that your DUI conviction will appear on is your criminal record. The court system, FBI, Department of Public Safety, and other entities may have access to these records. Not only does it harm your reputation, but it can significantly affect your ability to get things like jobs, housing, or scholarships. Unless you are able to expunge or “set aside” your criminal DUI charge, it will remain on your record forever.
Types of DUIs in Arizona
In the state of Arizona, there are four distinct types of DUI charges that one can face. It also has both felony and misdemeanor DUI charges. From least to most severe, these types are ordinary DUI, extreme DUI, super extreme DUI, and aggravated DUI. We outline the specifics of each area of Arizona DUI law below.
Often called an ordinary DUI, this is the lowest DUI charge that one can receive in Arizona. Ordinary DUI cases can arise if you are either impaired in the slightest degree while driving, or if you have a BAC at or above the legal limit of 0.08%. Even if you refuse a breathalyzer or blood test, you can still be charged with a misdemeanor DUI. These are usually class 1 misdemeanor DUI cases.
You can receive an extreme DUI charge if you have a BAC between 0.15% and 0.19%. Although this type of DUI arrest is also a class 1 misdemeanor, it has much steeper penalties. To avoid these serious penalties, we strongly recommend working with an experienced Phoenix DUI attorney.
You can receive a super extreme DUI charge if you have a BAC of 0.20% or above. This is also a class 1 misdemeanor, but the penalties are even steeper. The fines and jail time associated with the charge will increase drastically if you are convicted. Working with an experienced DUI lawyer may give you the leverage you need to either avoid or reduce these charges.
Aggravated DUIs are considered felony DUI cases. Depending on the specific circumstances, these criminal cases could be either class 4 or class 6 felonies. To face these criminal charges, someone must have done one of the following.
- Drive on a suspended, canceled, or revoked license.
- Get arrested for a DUI while you have an ignition interlock device in your car.
- Receive a third or subsequent DUI charge within an 84-month period.
- Get arrested for a DUI while driving in the wrong direction on a highway.
One can also receive a class 6 felony charge if they are stopped by a police officer while there is a minor under 15 in the car. If you’re in need of DUI defense for an aggravated DUI, speak with a qualified DUI attorney as soon as possible.
Arizona DUI Penalties
The penalties that DUI clients face in Arizona are very steep, especially when compared to the penalties in other states. Arizona is notorious for harsh criminal penalties, and DUI charges are no exception to this notoriety. For this reason, we recommend working with Arizona attorneys who have years of experience in DUI defense law. Without a staunch DUI defense team, you could face the following penalties for a first offense.
- Ordinary DUI: Jail time for no less than 10 consecutive days, a fine of no less than $1,250, required alcohol screening, education, and treatment, community service, and an ignition interlock device.
- Extreme DUI: Jail time for no less than 30 consecutive days, no eligibility for probation or a suspended sentence, a fine of no less than $2,500, mandatory alcohol screening/education/treatment, community service, and an ignition interlock device.
- Super Extreme DUI: Jail time for no less than 45 consecutive days, a fine of no less than $3,200, mandatory alcohol screening/education/treatment, suspended driver’s license, community service, and an ignition interlock device.
- Aggravated DUI: Prison sentence for no more than 2 years, license revocation for one year, mandatory alcohol screening/education/treatment, community service, ignition interlock device, and any other required penalties.
Keep in mind that the penalties and jail time only increase for second and subsequent offenses. The above penalties only apply to first-offense charges for each type of DUI.
When Should I Hire a Phoenix DUI Attorney?
The best time to hire a Phoenix DUI lawyer is as soon as you face a DUI arrest and charges. A criminal conviction of any kind can destroy your personal and professional reputation. Don’t wait to hire an attorney until it’s too late. Contact our law firm as soon as possible to fight the charges against you, protect your reputation, and preserve your freedom.
Why Should I Hire a DUI Attorney?
If you’re already facing steep DUI fines, you might wonder if hiring DUI attorneys is financially worth it. Attorneys spend years in training and education in order to practice law in their state. They have the knowledge and experience necessary to fight for your rights and freedoms against charges in your state. We can also gather all relevant evidence to support your case.
Additionally, a DUI lawyer will be an excellent negotiator. We can attempt to negotiate a plea deal, a suspended sentence, and secure a more favorable outcome in your case. Contact a Phoenix DUI lawyer as soon as possible to combat the charges against you.
Contact the Phoenix DUI Lawyers at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group
Facing a DUI charge can wreak havoc on your life and your future. Protect yourself and your rights with a team of passionate and highly skilled criminal defense attorneys. Some law firms flash fancy titles like “national trial lawyers” to reel you in. However, it’s important to work with a local attorney that understands the laws and statutes where your DUI case originated. Work with an experienced DUI attorney in Phoenix for quality representation and experience you can rely on. Call Ybarra Maldonado Law Group at 602-910-4040 or fill out this form now to schedule your free consultation.