Many good people are arrested for DUIs – it does not make them a BAD person, but rather someone who made a serious mistake with serious legal consequences. It could happen to you, and it could happen to me, and it can feel hopeless and overwhelming. A DUI charge in Arizona results in harsh penalties on strict DUI laws, including mandatory jail time, even if it is a first offense. So what’s the best course of action when facing drunk driving charges in the state of Arizona?
Read on to learn the top 5 DUI defense strategies.
Table of Contents
As with any case, the importance of knowing your constitutional rights is critical. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that unreasonable searches and seizures are prohibited by the government. This constitutional right does not just apply to private domiciles but also to private vehicles. Many people are unaware of this, reasoning that they can be searched because they are on a public road. This is not always a cut-and-dry case.
The police must have some form of “reasonable suspicion” to stop you. It has to be more than a “gut feeling,” and it is usually having simply a reasonable suspicion = that you have violated a civil or criminal traffic ordinance. A police officer may have many reasons to suspect a driver of being intoxicated, including speeding, failure to use proper turn signals or not fully stopping at a stop sign, making a wide turn, weaving, or even going under the speed limit. The best way to avoid getting a DUI is to not drink while driving. It is against the law for a reason. However, if you feel that you have been unconstitutionally accused of a DUI in Arizona, it is recommended that you discuss the situation with an Arizona defense attorney.
Not Technically Driving
The most common use of this particular DUI defense is known as the “sleeping it off” defense. Essentially, it is still very possible and likely that you could be charged with a DUI even when you are not driving. These instances include but are not limited to being in the passenger seat, being in a vehicle that isn’t turned on/has no key in the ignition, and any other general signs that you did not intend to drive the vehicle. If you are in the vehicle and have the keys to the vehicle in your possession, that along with other circumstances, may allow for DUI charging for “possession and control” of the vehicle.
Through the eyes of a police officer, you can be charged with a DUI in this case, with the assumption that you planned on driving or had driven the vehicle while intoxicated within the last two hours. However, your DUI defense lawyer may be able to prove that there is insufficient evidence you were planning on getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. This DUI defense, like many others, is not fool-proof by any means, though it may seem obvious to some. The fact is that simply being in your vehicle while intoxicated, even if not driving, can result in a DUI charge if possession and control can be proven on charges. If this happens to you, it is recommended that you seek a lawyer to help come up with the best DUI defense strategy.
It’s important to understand that even if a police officer has reasonable suspicion (as described above), that does not equate to probable cause. A police officer may have suspicion to pull you over, but not probable cause to place you under arrest. The best way to avoid this is to know the difference between field sobriety testing and chemical sobriety testing/blood draws.
Many people don’t realize that they can refuse field sobriety tests. These sorts of tests involve walking in a straight line, standing on one foot, or following an object horizontally with your eyes. While these tests may be wise to decline, it is NOT generally advisable to attempt declining a chemical sobriety test (such as a breathalyzer) or, more specifically, a blood draw. Arizona is an implied consent state, and if you refuse a blood draw request, you will be read admonitions (consequences) and told that if you do not consent to a blood draw, the police will then obtain a search warrant for your blood. They will take your blood on warrant search, and then you will be charged with ADOT/MVD Admin Per SE Implied Consent Violation. This may result in you losing your privilege to drive/losing your license for a year.
If you’ve ever watched an episode of Law & Order, you are likely familiar with at least the beginning of Miranda Rights. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law..,” etc. The police are supposed to read these rights when they place anyone under arrest. However, the failure to do so is not a hole-in-one DUI defense, as many assume.
If you are not read your Miranda Rights, your attorney may be able to get any superficial evidence dismissed, like anything you said AFTER you were arrested. It is important to speak with a lawyer if you find yourself in this situation, as many DUI suspects can still be convicted due to chemical testing evidence.
It probably comes as no surprise that if an officer suspects you of driving drunk, you will likely be subjected to blood draw testing. As mentioned above, refusing one will likely result in the revocation of your driver’s license for one year. However, many don’t realize there are some procedures and certifications that must be followed for this test to be valid.
Many don’t know that an officer must draw your blood within 2 hours of conducting the arrest. It may seem surprising, but many occurrences can result in an improperly administered blood test. Though blood testing is perhaps the most commonly used tool to convict a person on a DUI charge, it is important to contact your attorney. Your DUI defense attorney can poke holes in the blood test if the police officer is suspected of violating protocol or not certified to administer the blood draw.
Often with a DUI charge, the evidence that police have is too solid to risk going to trial. No matter what the case may be, with a DUI charge, it is advised you get an Arizona defense attorney. With the right representation, it may be advisable to plead guilty to the charges to avoid harsher penalties. A plea deal may be the best DUI defense option if you want to avoid jail time.
The Importance of Getting an Attorney for DUI Charges
Though there are a few solid DUI defense strategies against a DUI charge, it is always advisable that you seek the help of a defense attorney. A defense attorney will be able to determine the best course of action in your specific circumstance. Whether getting the charges dismissed or negotiating a plea deal, your odds of avoiding substantial jail time for a DUI charge go way up when you have proper legal representation.
Are you facing a DUI charge in Arizona and unsure of what to do?
Contact Jeff GOULD Law, the Attorney In YOUR Corner.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog/site is NOT, nor is it intended to be legal advice. It is for general informational use only. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Further, this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.