Blog Post

Top 10 Arizona DUI questions

The holidays bring more law enforcement on the roads. Many Arizona agencies work together over select periods on special DUI enforcement efforts. Additional officers, checkpoints and extra patrol are all employed between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. You should know the in and outs of a DUI, and how it affects Arizona drivers. Here are the most common questions we receive at the firm.

What are the consequences of a first-time DUI?

  • Court fines and fees of around $2,000;
  • 10 days in jail (9 of which can be suspended);
  • A possible 90-day license suspension;
  • A requirement to install an interlock device in your car;
  • Probation;
  • Community Service;
  • Alcohol and drug assessments and education classes.

I have an out-of-state prior DUI. Will this prior be used against me if I get convicted for an Arizona DUI?

It depends. In order to assess if your out-of-state DUI conviction constitutes a prior, the court will look at the elements of the out-of-state statute. For instance, if you were convicted of a DUI in California, the Court here would look at the DUI statute in California that you were convicted under. If the statutory elements are the same elements of the Arizona statute, then your prior counts as a penalty enhancing Arizona prior. It is very important to inform your attorney of your out of state priors so he or she can argue against including this prior conviction.

I blew into a portable breath test. Are the results from that test admissible in court?

No. In Arizona, officers can capture your breath on a handheld device, called a preliminary breath test (PBT). You blow into a portable device which then estimates your blood alcohol content. In order to use the device, an officer needs an articulable basis that you are driving while impaired to administer the test upon you.

These PBT test results are not admissible in court, and you are not required to submit to a PBT test under any circumstances. Your refusal cannot be used against you either.

If I get convicted of a DUI, do I need an interlock device?

Yes, if your DUI was alcohol-related. Ignition interlock devices do not apply if you were under the influence of another substance, such as prescription drugs or marijuana.

An interlock requires a driver to blow into a device before the vehicle can start. If the driver blows over a .02, the car will not start. Drivers required to get interlocks may have it for 6 to 18 months. The monthly costs of the device ranges from $40 to $100 and the installation ranges from $70 to $150.

What happens to my car after I get a DUI?

Arizona officers can impound your car for up to 30 days. If the driver did not have a valid driver’s license, had a revoked or suspended license, was under 21 with alcohol in his or her body, or was arrested for an extreme or aggravated DUI, then the police can impound the car.

Of course, Arizona law also allows the driver to request a hearing and argue that the car be released. Besides the hearing, the driver can request that the car be released to a third-party such as a spouse or the other registered owner.

After the 30-day hold, the driver must pay all storage fees to get the car out, which is limited to $15.00 per day. However, there is a $150 admin fee. These fees are separate from the criminal charges against the driver.

How do I challenge a DUI blood draw?

There are many challenges you may consider. Blood contamination, incorrect labeling, a break in the police chain of custody, improper lab procedures, storage issues, the lack of an independent blood test, and an officer’s prior disciplinary record are only some of the challenges.

A common issue with blood draws is the timing: officers have a 2-hour window to draw your blood once you are pulled over. After that, they can still attempt to introduce your blood as evidence, but the State must also testify and estimate backward as to what your blood alcohol content was. This is known as retrograde extrapolation, and the entire process has many admissibility issues that may prevent it from being used as evidence.

Additionally, when officers fail to properly preserve the blood, the test results can be inaccurate. Officers who draw blood must comply with the Department of Public Safety, and if correct procedures are not followed, your blood test results may be inadmissible.

Having your blood drawn does not equate to a DUI. There are solid defenses that can attack a blood draw. An experienced attorney can craft that defense.

Does a DUI charge stay on my record?

Yes, in the State of Arizona. Even if you get acquitted of the DUI, the charge itself will remain on your record. Arizona does not allow expungements, or concealments for DUI convictions either.

Can I refuse to take the sobriety tests?

Yes, but be aware of the consequences for refusing. If you refuse, your refusal can be used against you in court under certain circumstances. For more on DUI stops, click here.

How many MVD points is a DUI worth?

8 points. It does not matter if your DUI was extreme or not. Any DUI in Arizona will result in 8 MVD points.

If I get cited for DUI after a pullover, will I be arrested?

It depends on your situation. Most drivers are released to a friend, Uber, Lyft or taxi as long as they are not charged with a felony, have a valid license, had no children in the car, and did not have multiple DUI convictions.

Still, an arrest depends on the city you are in, and how your interactions with the officers go. If you are polite and respectful, the officer may allow you to call a friend. It’s always best to be polite. However, if you have an outstanding warrant, the officer will likely take you to jail.

Navigating through a DUI can be a very difficult process. If you have questions about a DUI, or if you or your loved one are facing DUI charges, visit Chuck Franklin or call 480-545-0700.

We have been fighting for Arizonans in DUI cases since 1987.

A conceptual image featuring a glass of whiskey, handcuffs, a judge's gavel, and car keys, representing the legal consequences of a DUI charge in Arizona, ideal for content addressing DUI laws and penalties.

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