Being arrested for DUI in Phoenix AZ means you are no longer in control of your life

You may be ordered to:

  • Stop driving
  • Attend numerous court and counseling sessions, thus jeopardizing your job
  • Serve jail time
  • Drive only a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device for years.

Since 1979 I have helped over 5000 clients take back control of their lives

  • I prevent the immediate suspension of my client’s driver’s license
  • I limit their appearances for court and counseling
  • I use my 40 years of experience to try to get the Best Result possible: a dismissal, a reduced charge or trial verdict of not guilty  
  • If there is a conviction, I help my client avoid or lessen the many adverse consequences of a conviction.

My job is to see the case through my client’s eyes

Each client’s life is unique and affected differently by an arrest.  My job is to anticipate and minimize the consequences for each client and their family.

I have designed my practice as if I were the client

If I were the client, I would expect my lawyer to keep me fully informed as the case progresses, anticipate problems I might not be aware of and help me do whatever I would be required to do.  Because that is what I expect, this is what I provide to my clients.  Personalized Service is solely my responsibility.

E-Service

  • Encrypted email with HIPPA level security used to send all reports & information to clients
  • Text messaging for notices & reminders
  • Secure online client access to dash or body camera videos
  • One-click secure & convenient video conferencing available.

My fee agreement contains no hidden fees or costs or trial fees.  All-Inclusive Reasonable Flat Fee with affordable payment plans.

A better outcome than you think may be possible.

Call Now For Your Free Consultation

What is a Misdemeanor DUI in Arizona; An informational guide through an Arizona DUI case, step by step with Phoenix, Arizona DUI & Criminal Attorney Gordon Thompson. 1. Why Stopped: Accident, Erratic Driving, Sitting in Vehicle. 2. Field Sobriety Tests: Eye Test, Walk & Turn, 1 Leg Stand, Portable Breath Test. 3. Chemical Testing: Intoxilyzer Breath Test, Blood Draw for Alcohol & Drugs. 4. Arrest: Vehicle Impound, Booked Into Jail, License Suspension. 5. What Charges Can be Filed: DUI Impaired Drugs or Alcohol, .08% DUI, .15% Extreme DUI, .20% Super Extreme DUI, DUI Drugs. 6. Defenses in Court: No Basis for Stop, No probable Cause for Arrest, Not Impaired, Chemical Tests Invalid. 7. Possible Outcomes: Dismissed, Reckless Driving, Not Guilty Verdicts, Guilty DUI. 8. DUI Sentencing Consequences: Probation, Jail, Home Detention, Counseling, Fines, Restitution, License Suspension, Interlock Device, Traffic School, SR-22 Insurance.

A Step By Step Informational & Educational Guide to an Arizona Misdemeanor DUI

 

Gordon Thompson
Phoenix Arizona DUI & Criminal Attorney

 

Important Questions and Answers for Arizona DUIs 

1. Arizona DUI Alcohol Levels

The 3 alcohol levels which violate Arizona state law are as follows;

The State must prove the defendant’s alcohol level was at or above these levels within 2 hours of driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.  If the breath tests were administered or the blood sample obtained more than 2 hours after the defendant was driving then the State can use a scientific principle known as Retrograde Analysis, to prove what the level was within 2 hours. If these levels can be proven then the defendant is guilty regardless of whether they were impaired or not and so for these charges it is all the more important to challenge the accuracy of the tests. For more see, dui-alcohol-levels-in-arizona.

2. Arizona Misdemeanor DUI Sentencing Penalties

Arizona First Offense Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Regular DUI, and/ or Drugs

28 A.R.S. § 1381.A.1, Driving Under the Influence, 28 A.R.S. § 1381.A.2, and Driving With An Alcohol Level of .08% Within 2 Hours and 28 A.R.S. § 1381.A.3, Driving with a Controlled Substance in the Defendant’s Body1.

  • Attend a Substance Abuse screening session and successfully complete any treatment and/or counseling ordered as a result of that screening session
  • Serve 10 consecutive days in jail, 9 of which may be to be suspended by the court provided upon completion of the Substance Abuse screening and counseling
  • Pay a $250 fine plus surcharges
  • Pay a State Prison Construction assessment of $500
  • Pay a State General Fund assessment of $500
  • Pay jail costs
Extreme DUI, Alcohol Level of .15% or More

28 A.R.S. § 1382.A.1, Extreme Driving Under the Influence, Alcohol Level of .15 Within 2 Hours%2

  • Serve 30 consecutive days in jail, 21 of which may be suspended by the court provided the defendant installs and maintains a certified ignition interlock device in a motor vehicle for 12 months
  • Pay a $250 fine plus surcharges
  • Pay a Driving Under the Influence assessment of $250
  • Pay a State Prison Construction assessment of $1,000
  • Pay a State General Fund assessment of $1,000
  • Pay jail costs
Super Extreme DUI,  Alcohol Level of .20% or More

28 A.R.S. § 1382.A.2, Extreme Driving Under the Influence With An Alcohol Level of .20 Within 2 Hours%3

  • Serve 45 consecutive days in jail, 31 of which will be suspended by the court provided the defendant installs and maintains a certified ignition interlock device in a motor vehicle for 12 months
  • Pay a $500 fine plus surcharges
  • Pay a Driving Under the Influence assessment of $250
  • Pay a State Prison Construction assessment of $1,000
  • Pay a State General Fund assessment of $1,000
  • Pay jail costs
Arizona Second Offense Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Regular DUI, Alcohol  and/ or DUI Drugs

28 A.R.S. § 1381.A.1, Driving Under the Influence, 28 A.R.S. § 1381.A.2, and Driving With An Alcohol Level of .08% Within 2 Hours and 28 A.R.S. § 1381.A.3, Driving with a Controlled Substance in the Defendant’s Body4

  • Attend a Substance Abuse screening session and successfully complete any treatment and/or counseling ordered as a result of the screening session
  • Serve 90 consecutive days in jail, 60 days of which may be suspended upon completion of the Substance Abuse screening and counseling
  • Pay a $500 fine plus surcharges
  • Pay a State Prison Construction assessment of $1,250
  • Pay a State General Fund assessment of $1,250
  • Pay jail costs
  • Surrender driver’s license, if any, to the court
  • Perform thirty (30) hours of community service restitution (community service)
Extreme DUI, Alcohol Level of .15% or More

28 A.R.S. § 1382.A.1, Extreme Driving Under the Influence With An Alcohol Level of .15% Within 2 Hours5

  • Serve 120 consecutive days in jail
  • Pay a $500 fine plus surcharges
  • Pay a Driving Under the Influence assessment of $250
  • Pay a State Prison Construction assessment of $1,250
  • Pay a State General Fund assessment of $1,250
  • Pay jail costs
  • Surrender driver’s license, if any, to the court
  • Perform thirty (30) hours of community service restitution (community service)
Super Extreme DUI, Alcohol Level of .20% or More

28 A.R.S. § 1382.A.2, Extreme Driving Under the Influence With An Alcohol Level of .20% Within 2 Hours6

  • Serve 180 consecutive days in jail
  • Pay a $1000 fine plus surcharges
  • Pay a Driving Under the Influence assessment of $250
  • Pay a State Prison Construction assessment of $1,250
  • Pay a State General Fund assessment of $1,250
  • Pay jail costs
  • Surrender driver’s license, if any, to the court
  • Perform thirty (30) hours of community service restitution (community service)

Driver’s Licensing Consequences of an Arizona DUI

Admin Per Se Suspensions
  • That the officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs
  • That the person was placed under arrest for an alleged violation of A.R.S. §28-1381(A)(1), Driving Under The Influence
  • That a test or tests were taken, the results of which indicated the alcohol concentration in the person’s blood or breath at the time of the test to be 0.08% or more or there was any drug as defined in 28 A.R.S. § 3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body without a valid prescription for the drug or metabolite
  • That the testing method used was valid and reliable, and;
  • That the test results were accurately evaluated.

Restricted Permit1 is available after the first 30 days of no driving and requires:

  1. Complete Substance Abuse Screening.

The permitted driving is:

  1. to travel between the person’s place of employment and residence and during specified periods of time while at employment,
  2. to travel between the person’s place of residence and the person’s secondary or postsecondary school, according to the person’s employment or educational schedule,
  3. to travel between the person’s place of residence and the office of the person’s probation officer for scheduled appointments
  4. to travel between the person’s place of residence and a screening, education or treatment facility for scheduled appointments.2

To reinstate the license or privilege to drive after the suspension period is over the person must:

  • Complete a Substance Abuse Screening Session
  • Pay a reinstatement fee.
Implied Consent Suspensions

All persons who operate a motor vehicle in Arizona impliedly consent to submit to chemical testing after being arrested for DUI.  If the person does not expressly consent to the testing or fails to successfully complete the testing then their Arizona driver’s license or privilege to drive will be suspended for 12 months or 24 months if they have been found to have refused similar tests within the past 84 months.

The proceeding to initiate this suspension, known as an Implied Consent Suspension, is usually begun by the arresting officer serving the person an Implied Consent Suspension Order.  The person then has 15 days to file a request for a hearing with the MVD in which the person seeks to contest the proposed suspension.  This time limit is strictly construed and if the person does not file a request within 15 days then the suspension automatically goes into effect.

If the person timely files a request for a hearing then the MVD’s Executive Hearing Office will schedule a hearing in front of a judge.  At the hearing the issues are limited to:

  • That the officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs
  • That the person was arrested for DUI
  • That the person refused to submit to a test or tests to determine the alcohol concentration or the presence of drugs
  • That the person was informed of the consequences of refusal
  • That the person refused to submit to the test or tests as requested by the police officer(s).

If the suspension goes into effect either because the person does not request a hearing or because the judge, after listening to the evidence, orders the suspension to go into effect, the suspension will be for 12 months unless the person has had a prior refusal suspension within the past 84 months, in which case it is for 24 months.

Special Ignition Interlock Restricted License is available after the first 90 days of the suspension 3 and requires:

  1. Complete Substance Abuse Screening
  2. The posting of an SR-22 Certificate
  3. Install a Certified ignition Interlock Device.

The permitted driving is:

  1. Between the person’s place of employment and residence during specified periods of time while at employment.
  2. Between the person’s place of residence, the person’s place of employment and the person’s secondary or postsecondary school according to the person’s employment or educational schedule.
  3. Between the person’s place of residence and a screening, education or treatment facility for scheduled appointments.
  4. Between the person’s place of residence and the office of the person’s probation officer for scheduled appointments.
  5. Between the person’s place of residence and the office of a physician or other health care professional.
  6. Between the person’s place of residence and a certified ignition interlock device service facility.4

To reinstate the license or privilege to drive after the suspension period is over the person must:

  • Complete a Substance Abuse Screening Session
  • Post an SR-22 with the MVD
  • Pay a reinstatement fee.
 License Revocations

Arizona Misdemeanor DUI convictions can result in a revocation of the defendant’s Arizona Driver’s License or Privilege to Drive under two circumstances.

  • First, If the defendant has one or more convictions for a violation 28 A.R.S. §§ 1381, 1382 or 1383 [Felony DUI] or an act in another jurisdiction that if committed in this state would be a violation of 28 A.R.S. §§ 1381, 1382 or 1383, within 84 months prior to the commission of the current DUI violation.  The dates of the commission of the offenses and not the dates of convictions govern.  If the revocation is, for this reason, the defendant is may be entitled to a restricted driving permit during a portion of the period of the revocation.
  • Second, If the defendant has one or more convictions for a violation 28 A.R.S. § 693, Reckless Driving or 28 A.R.S. § 708, Racing on Highways, within 84 months prior to the commission of the current DUI violation.  The dates of the commission of the offenses and not the dates of convictions govern.  If the revocation is, for this reason, the defendant is not entitled to a restricted driving permit during the period of the revocation.
Restricted Permits & Special Ignition Interlock Licenses

Arizona Restricted Driver’s Permits, Licenses, and Special Ignition Interlock Restricted Licenses are available during several types of license or privilege to drive suspensions or revocations.  A driver who holds an otherwise valid license from another state who is subject to an Arizona suspension or revocation has a legal privilege to drive in Arizona with the same restrictions as apply to an Arizona licensee except that the Arizona MVD will not give the driver an actual Restricted Permit or License or Special Ignition Restricted License.  An out of state licensee must also comply with the same requirements as an Arizona licensee must do before they can drive as if they had an Arizona Restricted Permit or License or Special Ignition Interlock Restricted License.  In 2018 the Arizona legislature changed some of the terms of the Restricted Permits and Licenses and Special Ignition Interlock Restricted Licenses, effective January 1, 20195.  The information below is current to January 1, 2019.

First Offense Felony DUI with Child in the Vehicle

Special Ignition Interlock Restricted License is available after the first 90 days of the suspension6 and requires:

  1. Complete Substance Abuse Screening
  2. The posting of an SR-22 Certificate
  3. Install a Certified ignition Interlock Device

The permitted driving is:

  1. Between the person’s place of employment and residence during specified periods of time while at employment.
  2. Between the person’s place of residence, the person’s place of employment and the person’s secondary or postsecondary school according to the person’s employment or educational schedule.
  3. Between the person’s place of residence and a screening, education or treatment facility for scheduled appointments.
  4. Between the person’s place of residence and the office of the person’s probation officer for scheduled appointments.
  5. Between the person’s place of residence and the office of a physician or other health care professional.
  6. Between the person’s place of residence and a certified ignition interlock device service facility.7
 Second DUI Within the Past 7 years

Special Ignition Interlock Restricted License for a Regular 8 and an Extreme DUI 9is available after the first 90 days of the Admin Per Se suspension and the first 45 days of the Revocation and requires:

  1. Complete Substance Abuse Screening
  2. the posing of an SR-22 Certificate
  3. Install a Certified ignition Interlock Device.

The permitted driving is:

  1. Between the person’s place of employment and residence during specified periods of time while at employment.
  2. Between the person’s place of residence, the person’s place of employment and the person’s secondary or postsecondary school according to the person’s employment or educational schedule.
  3. Between the person’s place of residence and a screening, education or treatment facility for scheduled appointments.
  4. Between the person’s place of residence and the office of the person’s probation officer for scheduled appointments.
  5. Between the person’s place of residence and the office of a physician or other health care professional.
  6. Between the person’s place of residence and a certified ignition interlock device service facility.10
Points Consequences

A conviction for a violation of 28 A.R.S. § 1382, Extreme Driving Under the Influence, or 28 A.R.S. § 1381.A, Driving Under the Influence, results in 8 points being assessed against a person’s Arizona driver’s license or privilege to drive.  A finding of “Responsible” for a violation of 28 A.R.S. § 701, Speeding, results in the assessment of 3 points.  Most other moving violations result in the assessment of 2 points per violation.  Charges such as 28 A.R.S. § 2532, No Current Registration and 28 A.R.S. § 4135(C), No Proof of Insurance, are not moving violations, therefore, no points are assessed.  The assessment of 13 to 17 points within a 12-month time period will result in the Arizona Department of Transportation suspending the person’s Arizona driver’s license or privilege to drive in Arizona for a period of 3 months, 18-23 points, 6 months and 24 or more points within 36 months, 12 months.11  Restricted driver’s licenses are not available for points suspensions.

A request for a hearing to contest a points suspension does not stay or prevent the suspension of the points from going into effect. 12

Underage Drinking and Driving

A separate offense is Underage Drinking and Driving13.  This offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor.  Unlike DUI there is no mandatory minimum sentence however if the defendant is convicted of the offense their Arizona driver’s license or privilege to drive is suspended 2 years.  If the court orders it, the defendant may drive with a restricted license, to and from work and school during specified hours however they must equip and drive only a vehicle with an ignition interlock device14.  The charge is decided by a judge and not a jury.  Evidence that there is any alcohol in the defendant’s body is sufficient for a conviction.

SR-22 Certificate of Insurance

An SR-22 Certificate of Insurance is proof of financial responsibility.  An SR-22 is an agreement by an insurance company that the company will issue liability coverage to a driver for a period of 3 years and to notify the MVD if there is a lapse in the liability coverage (most common cause is a failure to pay the premiums).

An SR-22 is required for all license or privilege to drive reinstatements, after all, DUI related suspensions except Admin Per Se Suspensions.

Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs )  Consequences

An Admin Per Se or Implied Consent suspension or a conviction in court for a DUI or Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle With an Alcohol Concentration of 0.04%, will result in a Commercial Driver’s license (CDL) disqualification for 1 year.

The disqualification will be for 3 years if the violation occurred while the defendant was driving commercially and transporting hazardous material.

The disqualification will be for life if the defendant also has another An Admin Per Se or Implied Consent suspension or a conviction in court for a DUI or Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle With an Alcohol Concentration of 0.04%, on or after December 31, 1989.  A driver disqualified for life may reapply for a CDL after 10 years. 15

Arizona MVD Corrective Actions for Out of State DUIs

The Arizona MVD may take corrective action against an Arizona Driver’s License as a result of a DUI incident in another state or even another Country.  28 A.R.S. § 3306.A.7 16, authorizes the MVD to suspension or revoke an Arizona Driver’s License if the driver has committed an act in another state which would be the basis for a suspension or revocation if committed in Arizona.  The statute does not require a conviction to trigger the corrective action.  As of January 5, 2018, I learned of a corrective action being taken against an Arizona License for a DUI arrest in Germany, which was prosecuted civilly in German courts which in turn lead to a suspension of the driver’s United States Military driving privileges. That Arizona MVD corrective action was based solely on civil administrative proceedings (either German or U.S. Military) conducted outside the United States and with no criminal conviction.

The corrective action taken by the MVD pursuant to 28 A.R.S. § 3306.A.7, maybe a suspension or revocation.  In contrast to corrective actions for DUIs committed in Arizona, there is no provision for restricted licenses during this suspension or revocation.  There is also no interlock requirement nor substance abuse screening requirement for license reinstatement

A driver may request an administrative hearing to contest the proposed corrective action issued pursuant to 28 A.R.S. § 3306. A.7.  Upon timely receipt from the driver for a hearing to contest the corrective action, the MVD Executive Hearing Office issues a Stay of the corrective action (which prevents the corrective action from going into effect) until the hearing is held although the legal authority for the Stay is questionable.  A corrective action pursuant to 28 A.R.S. § 3306.A.7, is discretionary and not mandatory and the MVD Judge is has the authority to void the suspension or revocation or order Traffic Survival School instead of a suspension or revocation.

What do I need to know when hiring a DUI Lawyer? 

How can I find the top/best/most experienced lawyer to defend me, or my friend or family member, for an Arizona DUI case? 

You might try to get a referral from someone you trust, but otherwise, you must choose one among hundreds of practicing lawyers in the Valley alone.  If so you should carefully and thoroughly review the attorney websites, reviews, blogs, etc. to decide which attorney is best for you.  Be sure to also decide in advance what type of fee agreement you need as well.

 Can I get a Free Consultation with an Attorney for my Criminal or DUI case?

Some attorneys, including me, offer a free consultation for criminal and DUI cases.  Because not all attorneys offer free consultations it is important to first ask if the consultation is free.  Also, many law firms offer consultations, but not with attorneys; rather, with what they describe as “legal Administrators” or “Legal Consultants”, or various other titles and who are basically salespeople.  It is therefore important to make sure you are actually consulting with an attorney because they can best tell you what is possible for your case.  For more please go to my podcast, dui-attorney-free-consultation.

Are there attorneys who offer payment plans for a DUI case? 

Many lawyers refuse to take payments or may require a big down payment in order to offer a payment agreement, however, there are some lawyers who do offer payments and do not insist on a big advance payment.  You should be able to easily find out what a prospective lawyer offers by visiting their website; if not, keep looking.

What is an Attorney Flat Fee for Misdemeanor Criminal & DUI cases?

There are 2 basic types of attorney fee agreements.  The first is an hourly agreement under which the client agrees to pay the attorney so much per hour of the attorney’s (and their support staff’s) time spent on the case.  The second type of agreement is a flat fee and with this agreement, the client agrees to pay so much for the entire case, no matter how much time the attorney and their support staff work on the case.  For most misdemeanor criminal and DUI cases, a flat fee is better because it is often difficult to tell initially how much time will have to be spent on a case to get the best result.  A flat fee is not necessarily the final fee for the case, at least as far the attorney is concerned.  The reason is when the representation ends, either because the case concluded or client terminates the representation before the case would have otherwise been concluded, the attorney is required to review the fee payment to make sure the fee is not an unethical, excessive fee for the work performed.  Most misdemeanor criminal and DUI fee agreements, including mine, provide for fee arbitration with the Arizona State Bar, if the client does not agree with the attorney’s opinion as to what is an ethical fee.  For more please go to my podcast, flat-fees-for-dui-cases.

I have been arrested for DUI. What do I need to know first?

I was stopped and investigated for an Arizona DUI but was never arrested and did not get a ticket.  How long do I need to be concerned about if I am looking at DUI charges? 

In Arizona, if you are facing misdemeanor DUI charges the State has up to one year to file the DUI charges against you; if you are facing felony DUI charges the State has up to seven years to file an Aggravated DUI case.

I was arrested in Arizona for DUI but did not get a citation or a court date, and was told I would be charged and notified when the blood test results were completed.  Who is testing my blood, and how long does it take to complete the testing and for charges to be filed? 

Samples taken for cases involving Phoenix City police officers are sent to the Phoenix Crime Lab for testing.  The Phoenix City Prosecutor’s office is typically prompt about filing charges if the test results from the Lab warrant them, however, it sometimes takes several months to complete the testing process.  Samples taken for cases involving DPS, and involving County officers where blood is taken, are sent to the DPS Crime Lab, which might take several months.  Phoenix City cases involving outside City police agencies are subject to that agencies’ particular practices.

I was arrested for DUI and my car has been impounded.  Where is my car being held, and when/how can I get it back? 

Arizona Law17 requires a vehicle to be impounded for 30 days when a Peace Officer has probable cause that the driver has committed several offenses including Extreme or Aggravated DUI or Underage Drinking and Driving.  Just because your vehicle was towed as the result of a DUI arrest does not mean it is automatically being held on a 30-day impound; first, check the tow sheet to see if your vehicle is listed as a 30-day hold.  If so, and the vehicle is also registered in somebody else’s name (for instance, your spouse, child or parent), the other registered party might be allowed to retrieve the vehicle early.  If not, the hold is for 30 days, but you should be aware you must get your vehicle out of impound just as soon you can after it is eligible for release because you will be charged for each day the car is impounded.  In addition, within a very short period of time, the tow company can and will file to take possession of your vehicle, and what is worse you will be charged a $500 vehicle abandonment fee and also will get a driver license suspension from MVD.

.A vehicle may be released early to the driver’s spouse or to someone else who has a financial interest, such as a loan company. Some police departments permit the vehicle to be released to a third party designated by an owner other than the driver.  Ownership is determined as of the time of the stop and so a driver/ owner cannot subsequently transfer ownership to another person so that another person can get an early release of the vehicle.  A person eligible for early release of the vehicle can request a hearing for an early release. The driver/ owner can also request a hearing to contest whether the arresting officer has probable cause for the offense or not. The hearing officers are either Police Officers or Police Department employees. If the hearing officer refuses to release the vehicle that decision is subject to review in a Justice Court. If the hearing officer does order the release of the vehicle the person to whom the vehicle is being released must have a valid driver’s license, be covered until the vehicle’s liability insurance and pay a $150 fee. The vehicle must also be currently registered. If these requirements are met the hearing officer issues an order to the tow yard authorizing the release to that person.  For more information please scroll down to the particular jurisdictions.

I was arrested for DUI and will my mugshot end up online?

If you were booked and taken to the Fourth Avenue Jail or were arrested by the Scottsdale Police Department, yes.  Otherwise, the answer is no (my podcast has more information on this common question, or you can download a transcript).

I was arrested for a misdemeanor DUI. Could I be charged with a more serious Felony DUI?

The decision as to what charges to prosecute a defendant on is made by the prosecutors, not the arresting police officers.  Therefore, if a prosecutor believes the defendant’s conduct could be charged as a felony they could drop the misdemeanor charges the officer cited the defendant for and instead file felony charges.  Examples are when the defendant’s license was suspended, has two DUI convictions in the past 84 months, or the case involved an accident in which someone was seriously injured.  For more please see Possible Felony Consequences of a Misdemeanor DUI.

What will happen if I am found guilty of DUI?

If I am ordered to serve a jail sentence do I actually have to pay to go to jail?

Arizona Law requires the judge to order the defendant to pay for the costs of going to jail, although the judge can waive or reduce the costs the defendant is ordered to pay if it will cause a hardship.  Whether to reduce or waive the jail costs is up to the discretion of the judge; some will do it and some refuse.  For more information about jail costs in Maricopa County please see my post, Maricopa County Jail Costs Go Up.

If I am found guilty of DUI will I have to pay for the damages I caused?

If a person is found guilty of a DUI and another person or entity suffers economic loss as a result of the defendant’s actions then the judge is required to order restitution.  Restitution and awards for civil damages are determined differently and so a defendant may be ordered to pay restitution for damages even though they had liability insurance.   For more information please see Restitution.

Can the judge make me pay for the costs of the investigation of my case?

Arizona law requires a judge to order a defendant to pay for the direct economic loss caused by the conduct which lead to the conviction.  As the court of appeal held in State v Linares,18  direct economic loss does not include the normal costs of police investigation, such as overtime for police officers.   For more information please see my post, Restitution Award Disallowed For Costs of Investigation.

Do I have to do Substance Abuse Counseling and if so can I choose which agency I do the counseling?

Defendants found guilty of DUI are required as a part of their sentence, do a screening session for possible counseling and then at least 16 hours of DUI Education and possible additional DUI Treatment.  Some courts have a preferred counseling agency they require the defendants to use and others do not.  The court preferred agencies can be more difficult to work with because they require in-person education and treatment whereas other agencies permit the education and treatment to be done online.  The court preferred agencies can charge higher fees than the other agencies.  If a defendant is unable to attend the in-person sessions the court preferred agencies have the court issue the defendant an order to show cause making the defendants appear in person and then starting the education and treatment all over again, and of course charging more fees to permit them to do so.  if the defendant does not complete the court-ordered screening and education and possible treatment, then the defendant is sentenced to serve more time in jail. If the court where your DUI case is pending has a preferred agency, a way around having to use the preferred agency is to have the screening and counseling done before sentencing in court. Check to see if your DUI is in a court which uses a preferred counseling agency by either going below or to the Arizona DUI Guide.

Can I do screening for alcohol/ substance abuse by telephone?

If a person is found guilty of an Arizona DUI or has their license suspended as a result of an arrest for an Arizona DUI they must undergo a screening session to see how many hours of Substance Abuse/ Alcohol Counseling is required.  Note that actual counseling is only required if they are found guilty in court.  Fortunately, telephonic screening is permitted by the Arizona Department of Health Services, as I discuss in telephonic-screening-for-az-dui-alcohol-and-substance-abuse-counseling.

Do I have to pay all of my court fines at once?

All fines and assessments are due on the day they are imposed, which means if someone is found guilty of an offense such as DUI, on the date of sentencing.  If the court permits and virtually all courts permit a person to make payments on the fine, without the assessment of interest however with a one-time fee of $30- $40.  If the person becomes delinquent in the payments the court can assess further costs and even sentence the defendant to jail.  For me please see time-payment-plans-for-az-dui-fines-and-assessments.

Can a court seize my tax refund to pay for fines I owe?

Arizona law now allows courts to seize Arizona state income (not Federal) tax refunds if a person owes outstanding fines to any Arizona court.  Some courts, such as the Scottsdale Municipal Court now seize Arizona state income tax refunds for that purpose.  For more information please see my post, Tax Intercepts for Scottsdale Municipal Court Fines.

What else could go wrong if I am found guilty of DUI?

There are many potential unanticipated collateral consequences of a DUI conviction, such as loss of job, possible loss of custody of children and travel restrictions. For more information please see my post on Collateral Consequences of a DUI Conviction.

Arizona MVD practices for DUIs

Where are MVD-Authorized Third-Party (ATP) provider locations? 

There are now many Authorized Third Party locations in Phoenix, however, keep in mind ATP’s do charge extra convenience fees and some only offer limited services.  You can check which ATP’s are most convenient to you, and what services they provide.

Which Arizona MVD locations are closest to me?

The Arizona MVD has many branches in Phoenix and around the valley, in addition to Third Party providers (see below).  You can find the MVD branch most convenient to you, and be sure to choose a location that offers the specific services you require.

Why does the Arizona MVD need a current mailing address for me?

By law, the MVD is required to mail corrective action notices to persons (both drivers and non-Arizona licensed drivers) to whatever address the MVD has on record for that person.   As long as the notice is mailed to the address on record the action described in the notice will go into effect even if the person did not actually receive the notice.  MVD notices are not generally forwarded to another address and so if the person has moved and given the post office a forwarding address, the notice may not be forwarded to the new address.  There is a very limited exception to this rule and that is the person must be able to prove they are having problems with their mail at that address. Keep in mind this is a defense that is easier stated than actually proven and so it is important to keep a current mailing address with the Arizona MVD. For more information please go to, Change of Address With AZ MVD.

Can I get a duplicate Arizona driver’s license or temporary I.D.  online?

Arizona now allows an Arizona licensed driver to go online and get a temporary duplicate of their Arizona driver’s license or I.D. card.  They can even print out a copy of the temporary duplicate license or I.D.  For more information please see my post, Duplicate DL at home.

What are the Arizona MVD rules for driver’s license points?

The Arizona MVD imposes points for convictions of various traffic violations on a person’s driver’s license or privilege to drive if they are not licensed in Arizona. For example, DUI and Reckless Driving are 8-point violations, and Speeding is a 3-point violation.  There are several different scenarios under which the MVD suspends a license or privilege to drive for points, for example, the accumulation of 13 points within 12 months results in a 3-month points suspension.  Restricted licenses are not available for points suspensions.  For more information please see my post, Arizona DUI Traffic School TSS Points Suspension.

Can Arizona suspend my driver’s license from another state for an Arizona DUI?

No. Arizona has jurisdiction over Arizona driver’s licenses and privileges to drive and events which take place within Arizona.  The out of state driver’s privilege to drive in Arizona may be suspended or revoked for a DUI in an Arizona DUI just as it would for an Arizona driver.  Arizona, however, does not have jurisdiction over the driver’s license issued by another state and so is not lawfully authorized to suspend or revoke a license issued by another state.  Most states are members of the Interstate Driver’s Compact,19. Upon a suspension or court conviction for a DUI, Arizona is required to notify the other states in the compact (most states including California are compact members) and the state where the driver is licensed will then take whatever action it deems appropriate.   For the most part that means at least comply with whatever the Arizona MVD ordered against the privilege to drive in Arizona.  For example, if  Arizona ordered an interlock for 12 months then the driver must do that as a condition of being able to have the out of state license.  However unless and until the home state takes action the suspension or revocation of the Arizona privilege to drive does not have an effect on the status of the out of state license outside of Arizona.  Because Arizona does have jurisdiction over what happens in Arizona, a driver whose privilege to drive in Arizona cannot lawfully drive in Arizona with an otherwise valid out of state license.

An officer served me with an Admin Per Se/ Implied Consent Order of Suspension for an Arizona DUI and I did not request a hearing within 15 days.  Can I still request a hearing to prevent the suspension from going into effect?

A request for hearing to contest an Admin Per Se / Implied Consent Suspension Order must be filed within 15 days of the service of the notice, which is normally done by an officer as a part of the arrest process.  The 15-day time period is not extended to the next business day 15th day falls on a weekend or legal holiday. The MVD does not have the legal authority to grant a hearing to contest the suspension if the request is not received within 15 days of when it is served and so even if the MVD Hearing Office Judges wanted to grant a late hearing request then cannot.  Therefore, if the hearing request is not filed within 15 days the Arizona driver’s license or privilege to drive is suspended as a matter of law.

An officer served me with an Admin Per Se/ Implied Consent Order of Suspension for an Arizona DUI, Can the MVD Judge give me a Hardship License?

A common belief in DUI cases is if the driver explains to an MVD Judge that a suspension will work an undue hardship on the driver the judge is authorized to issue a Hardship License.   MVD judges in Arizona have more limited powers than judges in some other states and are not authorized to issue Hardship Licenses.  An Arizona MVD Executive Hearing Judge by law is only permitted by law to determine whether the driver’s conduct violated state law or not.

For an Implied Consent suspension hearing the only issues 20the judge may consider are:

1. A law enforcement officer had reasonable grounds to believe that the person was driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in this state either:

(a) While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.

(b) If the person is under twenty-one years of age, with spirituous liquor in the person’s body.

2. The person was placed under arrest.

3. The person refused to submit to the test.

4. The person was informed of the consequences of refusal.

For an Admin Per Se suspension hearing the only issues 21are:

1. Whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.

2. Whether the person was placed under arrest for a violation of section 4-244, paragraph 34, section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or section 28-1383 or for a violation of title 13, chapter 11 or section 13-1201 or 13-1204 involving a motor vehicle.

3. Whether a test was taken, the results of which indicated any of the following:

(a) An alcohol concentration in the person’s blood or breath at the time the test was administered of either:

(i) 0.08 or more.

(ii) 0.04 or more if the person was driving or in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle.

(b) Any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body except if the person possesses a valid prescription for the drug.

4. Whether the testing method used was valid and reliable.

5. Whether the test results were accurately evaluated.

If the MVD Judge determines the evidence at the hearing proves that these elements by the standard of preponderance of the evidence, which means more likely than not, then the judge upholds the suspension. If the judge determines the elements have not been proven then the suspension is voided and does not go into effect.  Thereafter the driver’s eligibility for a restricted license or privilege to drive during the suspension is determined by state law and not the order of an MVD Judge.

Arizona Marijuana DUIs

What is the Medical Marijuana DUI Defense? 

When someone is charged with a DUI and only has medical marijuana in their body, it is an affirmative defense that the THC from the marijuana was at a level below that which would cause impairment.  An affirmative defense requires the defendant must present evidence, either directly or indirectly through cross-examination of the State’s witnesses.  In Ishak v. McClennen,22 the court of appeals said the defendant does not need to have an expert witness testify to meet their burden of proving the affirmative defense.  For more information please see my post, Expert Not Required for AMMA affirmative defense.

Can I be guilty of DUI Marijuana if I have an AMMA card?

An Arizona Medical Marijuana Cardholder can be arrested for possession of marijuana or even DUI medical marijuana simply based on an odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. in State v. Sisco, II, 23the Arizona Supreme Court upheld a search warrant based on the odor of marijuana emanating from a storage unit.  The defendant argued that a Medical Marijuana cardholder could legally possess marijuana and so the odor alone may be evidence only of lawful possession of marijuana.  The Arizona Supreme Court held that possession of marijuana pursuant to a valid medical marijuana card is an affirmative defense and until the defense is proven the possession of marijuana is a crime.  Therefore, a search and possible arrest for possession of Marijuana or a Marijuana DUI are possible if based on the odor alone.  For more information please see my post, Odor of Marijuana Alone May be Sufficient to Establish Probable Cause for Issuance of Search Warrant.

Other Useful Arizona DUI Information

Can I refuse a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT)?

In Arizona police officers are permitted to use the results of a preliminary breath test (PBT) for two purposes.  First, they can use the results to decide whether the officer has probable cause to arrest the person or not, although there is no absolute cutoff limit, meaning if the results are less than .08% they may still be able to lawfully arrest the person.  Second, the officers can use the results to base their decision as to whether or not to impound the vehicle because of a belief the case may be an Extreme DUI (.15% or more), although again a result of .15% is not an absolute limit when making that decision.  If the person refuses to submit to the PBT test the officer can use the refusal to submit as a factor in determining probable cause for the arrest and deciding whether to impound the vehicle or not.  PBTs, however, are not as reliable as regular breath testing devices and so the results generally cannot be used at trial, one way or another. So as to submit or not, yes, for the most part, it does not hurt to take the test and if the results come back low you may not be arrested.  For more go to, should-i-submit-to-a-dui-pbt-or-preliminary-breath-test/.

Can I have a jury trial for my DUI charges?

In Arizona, both the defendant and the State have a statutory right to a jury trial for misdemeanor DUI cases.  If neither party requests a jury trial then the case is tried to the judge alone.  In Arizona, a jury’s right to alone decide the facts is very important and so by statute, the judge is prohibited from telling the jury his or her opinion of what the facts are, which is a common practice in other countries such as England. For more information on Misdemeanor DUI trials please listen to my podcast, arizona-dui-jury-trial-procedure.

Can I have my case transferred to a Veterans’ Court?

Some jurisdictions have a Veterans Court which is different than a regular court.  Veterans’ Courts are therapeutic, meaning the purpose of the court is to help veterans/defendants get treatment for any substance abuse or psychiatric problems they may be having, regardless of whether the problems are service-related or not.  Veterans’ Courts do not try cases and so they are not for defendants who want to go to trial.  The court also helps veterans with any other problems they have such as finding a job or housing.  If the veteran receives benefits through the Veterans Administration then they do the required counseling through the VA.  If the veteran/defendant does not receive VA benefits they do the counseling through other agencies.  All veteran/defendants are eligible for Veterans’ Court, regardless of their discharge status from the military.  if the veteran/defendant successfully completes the Veterans’ Court counseling program the prosecutor often makes a better plea offer than would otherwise be offered or in some cases even a dismissal of the charges. Check to see if your DUI is in a court which has a Veterans’ Court by either going below or to the Arizona DUI Guide.

Serving All of Arizona including Gila• Maricopa• Mohave •Navajo •Pinal • Yavapai Counties and the cities of Apache Junction • Avondale • Buckeye • Bullhead City • Camp Verde • Casa Grande • Chandler • Chino Valley • Cottonwood • El Mirage • Florence • Fountain Hills • Gilbert • Glendale • Globe • Goodyear • Holbrook • Kingman • Lake Havasu • Maricopa • Mayer • Mesa • Payson • Paradise Valley • Peoria • Phoenix • Pinetop • Prescott • Scottsdale • Sedona • Show Low • Tempe • Tolleson • Wickenburg

Footnotes

  1. 28 A.R.S. § 1385.G
  2. 28 A.R.S. § 1385.G
  3. 28 A.R.S. § 1321.P
  4. 28 A.R.S. § 1402.A
  5. 2018 Arizona Session Laws, Chap. 113
  6. 28 A.R.S. § 1383.K
  7. 28 A.R.S. § 1402.A
  8. 28 A.R.S. § 1381.O
  9. 28 AR.S. § 1382.H
  10. 28 A.R.S. § 1402.A
  11. 17 A.A.C. § 4-404, See pages 17-18
  12. 28 A.R.S. § 3306.H
  13. 4 A.R.S. § 244.34
  14. 28 A.R.S. § 3322
  15. 28 A.R.S. § 3312
  16. 28 A.R.S. § 3306.A.7
  17. 28 A.R.S. § 3511
  18. State v Linares, 241 Ariz. 416
  19. 28 A.R.S. § 1852
  20. 28 A.R.S. § 1321.K
  21. 28 A.R.S. § 1385.J
  22. Ishak v. McClennen, 241 Ariz. 164
  23. State v. Sisco, II, 239 Ariz. 532

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