Attempting To Escape Or Flee A DUI In Arizona
If a driver attempts to elude law enforcement while officers are attempting to pull them over for suspicion of driving under the influence, they may face various criminal charges for attempting to escape or flee a DUI in Arizona. These charges can result in penalties in addition to any penalties for the underlying Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offense. Chuck Franklin Law protects the rights of the accused. If you are charged with attempting to escape or flee a DUI in Arizona, contact Chuck Franklin directly at 480-545-0700 to learn more about your legal options.
Potential Charges for Attempting to Escape or Flee a DUI in Arizona
Individuals who attempt to flee a DUI arrest may find themselves facing a myriad of criminal charges, which could include the following:
Unlawful Flight from Pursuing Law Enforcement
The first charge may be unlawful flight, which is described under ARS 28-622.01. This criminal charge can be imposed when a driver willfully flees or attempts to “elude a pursuing official law enforcement vehicle” when one of the following conditions applies:
- The police vehicle is marked in a way that shows it is an official police vehicle
- The driver admits to knowing the vehicle was an official law enforcement vehicle
- The driver knew the vehicle was an official law enforcement vehicle
This offense is classified as a Class 5 felony in Arizona.
You can also be charged with the underlying DUI crime you were attempting to evade. In Arizona, it is prohibited to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of more than 0.08%. The punishment for DUI is actually less severe than that of unlawful flight, since many DUI cases are charged as misdemeanors, while unlawful flight is a felony offense.
Hit and Run
If while evading arrest you hit another vehicle and leave the scene, you may also face charges for hit and run under ARS 28-661.
Failure to Stop
Failure to stop under ARS 28-1595 is a class 2 misdemeanor that can be charged if a person fails to stop promptly when a police officer is signaling them. This offense can also be charged when a police officer ass for identification and the driver refuses to comply with the request.
Under ARS 28-701.02 a person can be charged with excessive speeding if they:
- Exceed the posted speed limit by 20 mph
- Exceed 35 mph when approaching a school zone
Potential Penalties for Attempting to Escape or Flee a DUI in Arizona
The potential penalties a person can face for attempting to escape or flee a DUI in Arizona depends on the crime they are charged with. Some of the most common charges a person can face and their potential punishment include:
- Unlawful flight – Imprisonment up to 2.5 years
- DUI – At least 10 days in jail and a fine of $1,250
- Failing to stop and causing death or severe physical injuries – Imprisonment up to 10 years
- Hit and run – Up to 2.5 years imprisonment
- Criminal speeding – Up to 30 days in jail
Depending on the circumstances and the driver’s previous criminal history, a person charged with these offenses may face additional penalties, including:
- Loss of driving privileges
- Community service
- Requirement to install an ignition interlock device
When you retain the services of Chuck Franklin Law, our experienced Arizona criminal defense attorneys can assess your specific case and the ability to raise various legal defenses to the charges, such as:
Vehicle Was Unmarked
A necessary element to unlawful flight is that the driver knew police officers were attempting to pull them over. If the police vehicle was unmarked and the defendant did not know they were a police officer, they may be able to raise this lack of knowledge as a defense.
Mistake of Fact
Another potential defense is “mistake of fact,” which means that the defendant was mistaken about an essential fact of the case. For example, the driver may have known the vehicle was a police vehicle, but they could have thought the officer was pulling someone else over. Alternatively, the driver might have known they were being pulled over but may have been waiting for a safe location to pull over.
An unlawful flight charge is predicated on the underlying stop being legal. If there was no reasonable suspicion to form the basis of the DUI stop, it may be a bad stop and the underlying charges may be dropped. Reasonable suspicion means that the law enforcement officer has an honest belief that the person they are pursuing has violated a law of some sort.
No Intent to Flee
Another potentially plausible defense is that the driver had no intent to flee. Law enforcement officers may lie on their reports, and information from their body cameras or vehicle camera may show that the driver did not try to flee, accelerate, or otherwise evade police.
Failure to Read Miranda Rights
Once someone is arrested, law enforcement is required to explain some of your constitutional rights, such as your right to be free from self-incrimination and the right to hire a lawyer of your choosing. The law enforcement officer must also explain to the driver why they are being arrested and what crime they are charged with. If the arresting officer fails to observe these formalities, evidence that was gained after the arrest because of something the defendant said may be excluded.
Denial of the Right to Counsel
If a criminal defendant asks for a lawyer and police continue to question them, the defendant may have a claim against the police for the denial of their right to counsel. Law enforcement officers must act within the confines of the law. If they break the law, this can also call into question their credibility and the credibility of reports they prepare.
Contact an Experienced Arizona Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing charges for attempting to escape or flee a DUI in Arizona, consider contacting the experienced criminal defense lawyers from Chuck Franklin Law at 480-545-0700 to learn more and ensure your legal rights are protected. Contact Chuck directly and the phone number above, and learn more about your legal options.
Get in touch today! We are available 24/7 and we're looking forward to hearing from you!
- +1 480-545-0700