Arrested for DUI. What Should I Do Now?

If you have just been arrested for DUI you want to know, what should I do now? This is a guide to several steps you can do. Click on the links in the Table of Contents.

Arrested for DUI- What Should I Do Now?

Independent Blood Test

The first thing you should try to do upon release from custody is try to get an independent blood test. When a person is arrested the police are required to advise them that they have the right to obtain an independent blood test, which sounds like more than it really is. What the right means is the police cannot interfere with a person’s efforts to obtain an independent test, but it does not mean a hospital is required to give a person an independent blood test. While in custody, if the arrestee requests it, police are not supposed to interfere with a person’s efforts to obtain an independent test. That means if the arrestee requests it they must be given access to a telephone to arrange for someone to come to the station or jail and draw blood from them, which is practically impossible. However once the person is released from custody the police cannot prevent someone from going to a medical facility and request that blood be drawn and tested for alcohol or drugs, however, most medical facilities will not do it. Having said that you should always try to get an independent test because even if you can’t get one you can at least say you tried to get one and it could make a difference when the case goes to trial. So the first thing you should try to do is, get an independent blood test and, if not possible, to get something in writing from the medical facility saying you tried.

Arrested for DUI- Accident

The next steps depend upon what happened in the case and, more specifically, whether there was an accident. If there was an accident of any kind involving something more than damage to your own vehicle or injury to you alone, then you should immediately contact an attorney because you may be facing a felony aggravated assault or criminal damage charge. If someone else suffered an injury, for example a passenger in your vehicle, that can be charged as an aggravated assault, even if the person does not want you to be charged. It does not take much in the context of criminal law to say that an injury is a serious injury for purposes of an aggravated assault prosecution. For example, if a passenger in your vehicle was not wearing their seatbelt and the vehicle struck something, if they put their hand up to brace themselves and suffered a fractured the thumb you could be charged with aggravated assault. Also, damage to another’s property can be charged as felony criminal damage. Therefore if there is any kind of an accident that involves more than damage to your own vehicle or injury to yourself you should immediately contact an attorney.

Arrested for DUI- Vehicle Impoundment

In some cases the police impound vehicles for 20 days. If so the police must give you a written notice with your your rights to get it back. If the owner was not the driver they they may be able to get it out of impound early. For example a spouse or a parent may be may be able to get it out. If the spouse’s name is not on the registration then they will need  the marriage certificate. A parent whose name is on the registration can also get it out early. to get it out early the person must get a release order from the police department. To get the release order the owner or whoever it getting the vehicle out will need:
  • $150, cash or money order
  • The registration card
  • The insurance card showing the owner is under the policy.
  • A valid license.
If a spouse is not on the registration they will need the marriage certificate to get the vehicle out.
To get the vehicle back take the release order to the tow yard and pay the tow and storage fees.

Arrested for DUI- Suspended Driver’s Licenses

If the police officer said you had a suspended when stopped, that is important. DUI with a suspended license may be a felony. If this applies to you then contact an attorney immediately.
A second problem with a suspended license is unless you act quickly, it may remain suspended for a long time. You may have given you an Admin Per Se/ Implied Consent suspension order by an officer. If officer files that order with the MVD and your license is already suspended, you will not be able to reinstate your license. To avoid this problem contact the MVD ((602) 255-0072) immediately to reinstate your license before the officer files the order.

Arrested for DUI- MVD Mailing Address

The Arizona MVD will mail you various corrective action notices. These actions can include suspension orders. The MVD is only required to mail the notices for the address it has for you. MVD notices are not forwarded and so filing a change of address with the post office is not good enough.
If you have an Arizona license you should set up your AzNow online account.
If you do not have an Arizona license you still may have an AzNow account. To set it up you need your Arizona Customer number which you can get by calling the MVD at (602) 255-0072. If the clerk says you have no Arizona Customer number call back in a few days.
AzNow Account is free. In that account you can update your mailing address. You can also check for any notices by going to the “My Documents” tab which is under the “My Account” tab. Check the My Documents section often to see if there any new notices.
If you have a license from another state make sure that they also a current mailing address for you.

Arizona Mobile I.D.

The Arizona MVD has started a mobile app to your driver’s license on your phone. This may be helpful later in the case when you need ID. To activate the app you need to have your driver’s license or a MVD issued temporary or permanent I.D. card.

Temporary I.D. Card

The police may have taken your Arizona driver’s license. For Government-issued I.D. you can get a 180-day temporary I.D. card from the MVD. The officer may have given you a 15 day driving permit, know as an Implied Consent/ Admin Per Se Order. If you have the permit the MVD can give you can get the I.D. Make sure they give you a 180 day temporary I.D. and not a permanent I.D.
If your vehicle was towed or impounded you will need some form of ID to get the vehicle from the tow yard.

Duplicate Driver’s License

You should not get a duplicate driver’s license. If the officer took your license the Implied Consent Admin Per Se Order is your legal license. A duplicate license is not legal and can be considered as a false license, even if he MVD give it to you. Possession of a false license is a crime. Do not get a duplicate driver’s license.

Personal Property

You should check to see if you got all your property back from the police before you are released from custody. Property get can lost. Once released the police will claim they know nothing about lost property. I had a case where my client wallet was lost by a Phoenix Police Officer. The officer had placed the wallet on the hood of the patrol car. The officer then drove off and in the process the wallet and all the contents were lost. My client had to cancel all his credit cards he had in the wallet. The police may believe you are lying about lost property but be persistent. If you cannot resolve it with officer ask to speak to their Sergeant.

Weapons in Vehicles

The police impound your weapons found in your vehicle. If the weapon is not a part of the criminal charge then you can get the weapon back within a few days. The arresting officer should have explain how to do get the weapon back. Sometimes weapon are held as evidence in the case. Officers ask occupants of vehicles if there are any weapons in the vehicle. If someone falsely says no weapons are in the vehicle they be will charged with making a false statement. Those weapons will be impound the weapon as evidence of a crime. If the weapon is held by the police as evidence until the case is over. If the charge is guilty the weapon may be forfeited. If the end is not guilty it may take a court order to get the weapon released.

Should I hire a Private Attorney for my DUI?

Can I represent myself?

Anyone can represent themselves on any misdemeanor crime charge.  When arrested for DUI the most important goal is to minimize the the effects on you and your family. If you can do that yourself then you do not need a lawyer. To best represent yourself you will have to be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to get best the plea offer. If that does not work then you must be ready to represent yourself in a jury trial. You will have to deal with the MVD, which often makes mistakes. You will have to anticipate and minimize, all of the possible effects of the DUI on you and your family. Keep in mind the judge, prosecutor and MVD staff may be very polite and cordial, but their job is not to help you. They do not represent you and cannot give you legal and or advice on other problems you may encounter.

 Should I get a Public Defender?

Arizona’s public defenders are better than those in most other states. Arizona public defenders are well trained and know their way around in a courtroom. A public defender’s job is to represent you in court.  Their job does not include do not helping with other problems such as MVD licensing issues. Their job does not include help other collateral  consequences, like employment problems. If you are only concerned about what happens in court then a public defender can best help you. If you want to lessen all the effects of a DUI charge on you and your family then you should get a private attorney.

What Should I Consider When Hiring a Private Attorney?

If you hire a private attorney make sure the attorney will do more for you than a public defender, as many private attorneys do not.   Many private attorneys are only concerned about court proceedings just  like public defenders. Some do not represent their clients in MVD licensing hearings. Many times a DUI case has to be set to trial to get a better result.  Many private attorneys charge their clients extra trial fees to discourage setting cases to trial as it means more work for them. In those cases clients may not be getting the best outcome. Many times you can only get a better results by setting cases to trial. Make sure the attorney does not charge extra for a jury trial. Many private lawyers stop representing defendants at the last court date. They refuse to help their clients with what happens after court, such as with the MVD. A private lawyer who will not help you after court is doing nothing more than a public defender would.

Questions to Ask Private DUI Attorneys

Looking for a DUI Lawyer? Here are questions you should ask about their fee agreements?
  • DUI Attorney Cost- Is it an hourly or flat fee agreement?
  • DUI Attorney Cost- If an hourly agreement, how much per hour?
  • If a flat fee does the agreement say you can discharge the lawyer and request a full or partial refund?
  • If a flat fee is it a full flat fee or a partial fee agreement?
  • If a full flat fee agreement does it include a jury trial? if not, why not?
  • If a full flat fee agreement, does it include all MVD hearings?
  • If a partial flat fee agreement, how much is the trial fee and is it a trial fee for each trial?
  • If a partial flat fee agreement, does it include all MVD hearings and if not what is the those fees
  • Does the agreement call for paying interest on the balance due?
  • DUI Attorney Cost- Are there late fees?
  • Does the agreement have a cost to change the monthly payment amounts or method of payment?

My DUI Flat Fee Agreement- Affordable Payment Plans

I offer one all inclusive DUI flat fee agreement with

  • All MVD licensing hearings and problems
  • All court proceedings including jury trials
  • Help with court ordered and MVD sentencing requirements
  • Help with other collateral consequences.

Arrested for DUI- Notification of Professional Licensing Boards

Arizona licensed professionals may have to notify their licensing board for any arrest. The board must be notified within a specified time. For example. health care professionals, such must notify their licensing board within 10 days arrest. Failure to notify their board is a basis for professional discipline. The time for notification varies by board. For an arrest requires notification and others a criminal conviction. If you are a licensed professional check to see when and if you must notify your licensing board.

Arrested For DUI- Employer Notification

You may or may not have to notify your employer of the arrest as a condition of your employment. You should check your employee handbook to see if you must do so. and, if you have any questions about it, talk to a lawyer. If are member of a union you can ask your union representative.

Written Statements

Write a detailed written statement about the your arrest as soon as possible. It is best to so while the events are fresh in your mind. Some of the events may not have meaning for you, but may have for an attorney. I have a questionnaire form that I have my clients complete (which is on my website). The answers help me and with their defense.
What you should not do is have other people write statements about what happened. A defendant’s statement is confidential and The prosecutor cannot get it. A witness statement is not confidential. The defendant’s attorney must give the prosecutor any possible witness’s statements. Without realizing it a possible witness may make a statement which could hurt the case. Witness statements generally witnesses do not help to get a better plea offer. That is not true. Getting witnesses to make written statements could hurt your case.

Arrested for DUI- Substance Abuse Counseling

A common thought is if I do counseling now it will make be look good with the judge. In time that may be true but it is not necessary right after the arrest. I tell my clients to do counseling if they think they need it. If people do counseling early for the court they may be doing a type of counseling the court has not approved. In time it may be good to do counseling for the court but wait and talk with your attorney first.

Arrested for DUI- Fingerprints

Often the police will give people orders to get their fingerprints taken. The court must get a set of fingerprints. Fingerprints ordered by the police may or may not go to the court. For most courts it is better to wait until the court issues a fingerprint order. An exception is in Chandler for cases cited into the Chandler Municipal Court.

These are some of the immediate thoughts I have about what people should do when first arrested for DUI in Arizona. The last thought is you should always contact a lawyer immediately, because the Arizona DUI penalties are very severe and could have an effect on your life and your family in ways you did not anticipate.

Gordon Thompson DUI Attorney

A better outcome for your DUI or other Criminal Charge than you think may be possible.

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Headshot of Gordon Thompson, DUI Attorney

As a DUI Lawyer I know an arrest for a DUI or other criminal charge means you are no longer in control of your life

You may have to:

  • Stop driving
  • Attend many 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 as a DUI Lawyer I have helped over 5000 DUI & Criminal law 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 43 years of experience to try to get the Best Result possible: for my clients. The best result could be 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 as a DUI Lawyer is to see the DUI each case through my client’s eyes 

All of my clients are unique individuals.  An arrest my trigger actions which are different for them than my other clients.  My job is to anticipate and minimize the consequences for each client and their family.

I have designed my DUI Attorney practice as if I were the client

If I were the client, I would expect my lawyer to do? I would expect my attorney to keep me fully informed as the case progresses. I would want my lawyer to  anticipate problems I was not be aware of. I would want my attorney to help me do whatever the courts and MVD said I had to do.  Because that is what I expect, this is what I provide to my clients.  Personalized Service is my responsibility alone.

DUI Lawyer E-Service

  • I use Encrypted email with HIPPA level security used to send information to my 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.

Infographic Arizona Arrested for DUI starting with what should I do now> It shows the steps of an DUI case starting with It is an easy-to-follow visual guide

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