The DUI Process In Arizona


In Maricopa County, it depends on if it’s a felony or a misdemeanor, and the facts of the case.  For felonies, everything can happen immediately, you can be arrested, booked into custody, you can go to court, get the best plea offer within two or three weeks of arrest and proceed to sentencing shortly thereafter and to incarceration if it’s guilty, so it can be a very quick process.  However in many cases, for misdemeanors and occasionally for a felony, the prosecutor may wait until they receive the chemical test results, which can push the process.   Depending on the court it can be six to twelve months before the case actually is filed in court.

For a misdemeanor, it will depend on two factors; which court it’s in and whether it’s a breath test or a blood test. As for municipal courts, Phoenix is by far the quickest; the general timeline is, you get a citation, then go to court 10 days later for the first arraignment and then a first pretrial conference 10 days later.  In Phoenix the discovery process is very quick; and so I get the police reports within two weeks of arrest and the case can be over within two months.  If the case is set to trial in Phoenix it can take up to nine months to resolve the case.

Among other municipal courts, for example Gilbert is fairly fast, meaning a timeline of 3-6 months to resolve the case, but Mesa is a bit slower.  All other courts are slower than, than Phoenix. For Justice Court cases, it will depend on whether there is a breath or blood test; for a breath test, the case will usually be started by the filing of the citation shortly after the arrest and there will be an arraignment date roughly about 30 days later, and overall, the process will take about 3-6 months. For a blood test in a Justice Court case, it can be much longer; anywhere from 3-9 months before the case is filed and another 3-6 months later before the case is resolved, longer if it goes to trial.

How Can Someone Get a Temporary Driver’s License After a DUI?

That depends on what has happened; if the police say they have refused to take or successfully submit to a blood or breath test, then their license is taken or, if they have an out-of-state license, it’s not taken, but they are given a limited permit.  If there is a refusal or a failure to successfully submit, then the license can be suspended immediately and the officer gives them with a temporary driving permit and they will have 15 days in which to request a hearing. If they do not request a hearing then their license is suspended 16 days after receiving the temporary permit. If a hearing is timely requested then they have a permit on which they can drive without restriction until a hearing held at the MVD. One reason to request a hearing is if there was a refusal, but also, even if there is a chemical test and the police don’t have the results, sometimes the arresting officer will take the license and begin a proceeding for an administration per se suspension based on a belief that the person is above a 0.08% blood-alcohol level; that can also happen at the time of the arrest.  To begin that, the officer will take the driver’s license, and the driver has to request a hearing; if that suspension goes into effect, it’s 30 days of no driving and 60 days on a restricted basis; to and from work and on the job for a first offense, but if it’s a second or a subsequent offense within seven years, then it’s a straight 90 days of no driving at all. What happens depends on the jurisdiction and whether the chemical test results are available.  For example, if an arrest is made by Phoenix Police officers, they will take the license even with no chemical test.  In other jurisdictions,  Gilbert for example, if here’s no refusal, they will not take the license; they’ll wait and see the test results before asking the Motor Vehicle Department to suspend the license.  So, it depends on whether there a refusal, and which jurisdiction it is.

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