Attorney Nick Alcock

What Should I Have Done When I Got Stopped For DUI?

What should you do if you get pulled over for DUI? Essentially, you want to limit the damage and reduce the amount of evidence available to the police.

Because of this, you should immediately retrieve your license and registration so you have it ready when the officer approaches the window. As importantly, you should be polite to the officer. If the officer asks you to step outside of the vehicle, step outside of the vehicle.

If you get the impression that the officer is investigating you for DUI, immediately ask to speak with your attorney. Although this experience may be frightening, you do not have to consent to the eye test or any other field sobriety tests (portable breath test, one-leg stand, walking a straight line, counting backwards, etc…).

When you chose not to participate in these tests, politely inform the officer that you wish to speak with your attorney and will not perform any field sobriety tests. Even if the officer continues to question you, insist that you want to speak with your attorney.  Keep in mind that every investigation is different.  Use your best discretion and always obey any lawful command from a police officer.

Did I have to answer the officer’s questions?

Other than providing a driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance, the answer is no. You do not have to respond to potentially incriminating questions. Therefore, if an officer asks you whether you have consumed alcohol or any other substance, you do not have to answer the officer’s questions. Make sure to be polite in your refusal.

Did I have to take a portable breath test?

The answer to this question is no. But keep in mind that we are talking about the hand held portable test. A portable breath test is considered a field sobriety test. Therefore, a portable breath test is considered the same as the eye test, the walk-and-turn test, and one-leg stand test, and any results will be used against you.

It is never recommended to submit to any of the field sobriety tests as they will only be used against you and there is no penalty for not submitting to the tests.

What are the minimum sentences for DUI?

  • First Offense Regular DUI: 1 day
  • Second Time Regular DUI: 30 days (Home detention is available)
  • First Time Extreme DUI: 9 days jail with installation of interlock device (home detention available)
  • Second Time Extreme DUI: 120 days jail (Home detention available)
  • First Time Super Extreme DUI: 14 days jail with installation of interlock device (Home detention available)
  • Second Time Super Extreme DUI: 180 days jail (Home detention available

Generally speaking here is the jail time people typically get for the various DUI offenses. Keep in mind that these sentences are the minimums and judges can impose substantially more time if the defendant fails to complete drug and alcohol classes. Furthermore, the law allows people to serve a portion of their sentences at home. A judge may allow home detention after 20% of the initial sentence is served in jail. Keep in mind that “Second Offense DUIs” are the second act of DUI within 84 months (7 years). Remember that we are just a phone call away if you want to have an attorney assess your actual jail exposure.

What is Felony Aggravated DUI?

First Offense: Minimum 4 Months Prison: Home Detention is possible for part of sentence. You may hear that the maximum sentence for Aggravated DUI is almost four years in prison. A sentence of multiple years for a first offense Aggravated DUI is extremely uncommon.

However, Aggravated DUI offenses are very serious crimes and people do face very severe prison sentences if they have allegable prior felony convictions.  A person who has one prior Aggravated DUI in the past might be facing four and a half years.  A person with two prior felony convictions might be facing ten years.  While plea offers might reduce these prison times, it gives you an idea of just how serious this offense is.

What are the fines for DUI cases?

Keep in mind that these fines are the minimums. They do not include penalties for other civil traffic violations which may be on your ticket. Further, courts may impose fines for the cost of incarceration. Call our DUI attorneys if you have any questions about fines and/or jail costs. Keep in mind that most courts allow payment plans that work with your unique financial situation.

  • First Offense Regular DUI: $1,460
  • Second Time Regular DUI: $2,710
  • First Time Extreme DUI: $2,710
  • Second Time Extreme DUI: $3,700
  • First Time Super Extreme DUI: $3,700
  • Second Time Super Extreme DUI: $4,590
  • Felony Aggravated DUI – Varies

What are the types of misdemeanor DUI?

Believe it or not, there is no legal limit for DUI in Arizona. Most people don’t know that you can be charged and convicted of DUI, even if you are under the legal limit. In Arizona, the legal limit for basic DUI is .08. Usually it takes a few drinks within a relatively short period of time to get above a .08. However, the government can proceed with a DUI case against you with evidence that you were “impaired to the slightest degree.” It is rare for a prosecutor to charge someone who is under a .08, but it is possible. Here are the ranges of Blood or Breath alcohol concentrations.

  • Regular DUI: Impaired to the slightest degree
  • Regular DUI: .08 to .15 Blood Alcohol Concentration
  • Extreme DUI: .15 to .20 Blood Alcohol Concentration
  • Super Extreme DUI: .20 and higher Blood Alcohol Concentration

Are my charges misdemeanors or felonies?

The morning after a DUI arrest can be very stressful. People do not know exactly what they are facing, and this uncertainty can be overwhelming. First of all, you need to ask whether or not you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor. This is an extremely important question because the law treats these categories very differently. Many people think that they are charged with a felony when, in fact, they just have misdemeanor charges. So before you jump to any conclusions, take a deep breath and relax. Most first offenders are charged with a misdemeanor. You can overcome this! Here is a simple test for you to look at.

  • Was your license suspended, canceled, or revoked at the time you were arrested for DUI?
  • Were there children under the age of fifteen in the car at the time you were arrested for DUI?
  • Had you been convicted of two or more misdemeanor DUIs within the last seven years?

If you answered “No” to all of the questions above, you can only be charged with a misdemeanor DUI. If, on the other hand, you answered “Yes” to any of the questions above, you could be charged with a felony DUI.

What will happen to my license?

It is difficult to say exactly without knowing the number of points on your record. Assuming a clean driving record, most people face a 90 day suspension for DUI. People are prohibited from driving for 30 days. Then you can obtain a to/from work/school permit for the remaining 60 days. Remember to pay your reinstatement fee after the suspension period is up to get your license back.

Most other DUI license suspensions for second offense and aggravated DUI offenses are for a period of one year. Furthermore, restricted interlock permits are available for those who install an interlock after 45 or 90 days, depending on the type of DUI. (Please keep in mind that there is not 100% clarity on how the Arizona MVD will handle complex DUI suspensions and revocations) Feel free to call our firm if you have any questions.

What are Alcohol Treatment Programs (SASS)?

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor DUI, you will probably be required to complete a court ordered substance abuse screening program. At the outset you will be tested and based on your performance you will be assessed a number of hours of alcohol counseling, ranging from 16 to more than 60. Among other things, the testing looks at your drinking history, your attempts to obtain counseling in the past, and other specific factors about your case. Many times, the court will impose a higher jail sentence with the condition that successful completion of SASS (substance abuse classes) will reduce your time of incarceration. You would normally be given many months to finish these classes.

What is the Interlock Device?

The interlock device is now generally required for every DUI conviction. It used to be reserved only for multiple offense convictions or extreme DUI offenses. The short story is that it is an enormous pain because you must pay for it to be installed, have it serviced usually every month, and blow into it regularly so that your vehicle can start or continue to operate.

There is no good way to spin this. In order for you to keep your license you have to PROVE that this device has been installed and activated for the required period of time. It used to be that one year would be enough but now the MVD is requiring longer periods for high alcohol level cases. See the section for DUI offenses to learn the length of time required for each given charge.

Call for a free consultation anytime:  602-989-5000

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