Phoenix DUI & Criminal Attorney | 42 Years Experience


If you have been arrested for a Phoenix DUI or another Criminal charge you need answers to your questions now about what can happen and who can best help.

Since 1979 I have helped over 5,000 clients, just like you, take back control of their lives.

Why Hire Me For Your Phoenix DUI or other Criminal Charge

  • I use my 42 years of Experience matters & helps me get the Best Result possible for my clients. 42 years of knowing which strategies & actions help my clients & those which could hurt.
  • I am a sole practitioner which means I alone am responsible for all aspects of a case. I and no other lawyer will appear in court with you. I have no “team” to pass off responsibility for your case to.
  • My representation begins with listening to, not talking at, my clients.  My 42 years of experience has taught me that each client & case is unique. I can only get the best result for each client by looking at the case through my their eyes
  • I have designed my practice as if I were the client. If I were the client, what I would expect my lawyer to do? I would want my questions answered promptly & courteously. I would want and be kept fully informed as my case  progressed. I would want my lawyer to anticipate problems I do not know about. This is what I would want if I was the client and so this is what I do for my clients.
  • I use all-inclusive reasonable flat fees with affordable payment plans. No additional trial fee. Often Many people suffer financially as a result of being charged with a crime. Helping my clients recover means not forcing them to pay high attorney’s fees.
  • I am there for my client until the end of the case. If the verdict is guilty I make sure my client completely recovers. Some lawyers simply tell the client what they have to do. I consider it my responsibility to make sure my clients get everything done correctly.
  • If the case is guilty I help my client avoid or lessen the many adverse consequences of the conviction. I continue to help until they have fully complied with their obligations.

What to Expect From Me For Your Phoenix DUI or other Criminal Charge

  • I will immediately take action to prevent the suspension of your driver’s license.
  • All your telephone calls, texts and emails will be promptly returned by me and my legal assistant.
  • I will send you by encrypted email all police reports I receive and well as any motions I filed upon your behalf.
  • You will get access on your phone or computer any body camera  other video or audio I receive for your case.
  • We will meet you in-person in one of my several valley wide offices or by video conference, your choice. Cases are best discussed in office or video conferences and not in courthouse halls.
  • I will keep you informed as the case progresses.
  •  After the last court date I will help you deal with any adverse consequences of your DUI or criminal charge. My representation does not end at the courthouse door but rather only when the you completed all you have to do.

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

Call Now For Your Free Consultation

 

Important Questions and Answers for Phoenix DUIs 

Table of Contents

1. Arizona DUI Alcohol Levels

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

The prosecutor must prove the defendant’s alcohol level was at or above these levels within 2 hours of driving.  Often Police obtain the breath or blood samples more than 2 hours after driving. If so, the prosecutor must prove what alcohol level was within 2 hours. The prosecutor tries to do this using a scientific principle, Retrograde Analysis. This principle has many variables and so can questioned in trial. For these charges it is all the more important to challenge the accuracy of the tests.

2. Misdemeanor Phoenix DUI Sentencing Penalties

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

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

Extreme Phoenix 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 Hours2

  • Serve 30 consecutive days in jail, 21 suspended if 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 Phoenix 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 suspended  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
Second Offense Phoenix DUI Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Regular Phoenix DUI, Alcohol  and/ or DUI Drugs

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

Extreme Phoenix 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 Phoenix 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 Phoenix DUI

Admin Per Se Suspensions
  • Were there reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving while impaired
  • Was the person was placed under arrest for a violation of A.R.S. §28-1381(A)(1), Driving Under The Influence
  • Did the driver submit to tests which showed an alcohol level 0.08% or more. Alternatively,  was there any drug or its metabolite in the person’s body without a valid prescription for the drug
  • 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 to and from home and job and on the job,
  2. to travel to and from home and school,
  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 to and from home and a screening or treatment facility.2

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

Implied Consent Suspensions

Any person who operate a motor vehicle agrees to submit to chemical testing if arrested for DUI.  This is the Implied Consent Law. If the person  fails to successfully complete the testing then their  license is suspended for 12 months.  If they had an Implied Consent suspension within the past 84 months the suspension is for 24 months.

The  Implied Consent Suspension proceeding begins when the arresting officer serving the person a proposed suspension Order.  The person then has 15 days to request a hearing with the MVD  to contest the proposed suspension.  If the person does not file a request within 15 days the suspension goes into effect.

If the person requests a hearing then the MVD will schedule a hearing in front of a judge.  At the hearing the issues are:

  • Were there reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving while under the influence
  • Was the person was arrested for DUI
  • Did the person refused to submit or fail to successfully complete the to tests
  • Was the person was told if the do not submit their license would be suspended

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.

Admin Per Se/Implied Consent Affidavit-Front Admin Per Se/Implied Consent Affidavit-Back

If the suspension goes into effect a Special Ignition Interlock Restricted License is available after the first 90 days of the suspension. 3 If the driver has a prior Implied Consent suspension they are not eligible for a SIRL.

To get the SIRL, the person must:

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

The permitted SIRL driving is:

  1. Between home and work and on the job.
  2. Between home and school.
  3. Between home  and  a screening, education or treatment facility for scheduled appointments.
  4. Between home and the office of the person’s probation officer.
  5. Between home and the office of a physician or other health care professional.
  6. Between home and a certified ignition interlock device service facility.4

To fully reinstate the license, if they have not done so to get the SIRL  the person must:

License Revocations
Misdemeanor Phoenix DUI convictions can result in a license revocation in 2 situations.
  • 1. If the defendant has a DUI conviction within the past 84 months.  The dates of the commission of the offenses and not the dates of convictions govern.  The defendant is may be entitled to a SIRL.
  • Second, If the defendant has one or more convictions for a violation  Reckless Driving or 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.   The defendant is is not entitled to SIRL. 
Restricted Permits & Special Ignition Interlock Licenses

Special Interlock Restricted Licenses (SIRL)  are available during some suspensions or revocations. 5.  Those suspensions and revocations are:

1. First Offense Felony Phoenix DUI with Child in the Vehicle

SIRL is available after the first 90 days of the suspension6

2, Second Phoenix DUI Within the Past 7 years

Special Ignition Interlock Restricted License for a Regular 7 and an Extreme DUI 8is available after the first 90 days of the Admin Per Se suspension and the first 45 days of the Revocation.

3.  First Implied Consent Suspension 

To get the SIRL, the person must:

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

The permitted SIRL driving is:

  1. Between home and work and on the job.
  2. Between home and school.
  3. Between home  and  a screening, education or treatment facility for scheduled appointments.
  4. Between home and the office of the person’s probation officer.
  5. Between home and the office of a physician or other health care professional.
  6. Between home and a certified ignition interlock device service facility.9
Points Consequences

A DUI conviction results in 8 points being assessed against a driver’s license.  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.  Non-moving violations such as No Proof of Insurance, are not moving violations, and therefore, no points are assessed.  A 3-month suspension is imposed for 13 to 17 points within a 12-month time period, A 6-month suspension results from 18-23 points qwithin 12 months. A 12-month suspension is imposed for 24 points within 36 months, 10  Restricted driver’s licenses are not available for points suspensions.

A request for a hearing to contest a points suspension does not prevent a points suspension from going into effect. 11

Underage Drinking and Driving

Underage Drinking and Driving13 and an SR-22.

Underage Drinking and Driving is decided by a judge and not a jury.  Evidence that there is any alcohol in the defendant’s body is enough for a conviction.

SR-22 Certificate of Insurance
An SR-22 Certificate of Insurance is proof of financial responsibility.  An SR-22 is a promose from an insurance company insure a driver for 3 years.  If the driver cancels or drops the insurance the insurance company so notifies the MVD. Upon notification by the insurance company the MVD suspends the driver’s license.
Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs )  Consequences for Phoenix DUI
Commercial driver license holders (CDL) have more serious actions, disqualifications, for a DUI. Those actions are:
  • 1 year disqualification for any DUI suspension or a conviction. Thus an admin per se suspension results in a disqualification even if there is a dismissal of the DUI in court.
  • 3 years disqualification if the DUI suspension or conviction occurred while the defendant was transporting hazardous material.
  • Lifetime (10 years) disqualification if the defendant had any DUI  DUI suspensions or convictions since December 31, 1989.  A driver disqualified for life may reapply for a CDL after 10 years. 14
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 15, 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 Phoenix DUI Lawyer? 

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

Many lawyers refuse to take payments plans. Others with payment plans require a big down payment. Other lawyers do offer payments with little or no down payment.  You can start looking at attorneys’ websites. Be sure to see if they offer payment payments or not.

What is an Attorney Flat Fee for Misdemeanor Phoenix DUI & Criminal 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 a Phoenix DUI or other Criminal Charge. What do I need to know first?

I was stopped and investigated for an Phoenix 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 Phoenix DUI charges? 

In Arizona, if you are facing misdemeanor Phoenix 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  for a Phoenix 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 Phoenix DUI and my car has been impounded.  Where is my car being held, and when/how can I get it back? 

Arizona Law16 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 20-day impound; first, check the tow sheet to see if your vehicle is listed as a 20-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 Phoenix DUI or other Criminal Charge 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 Phoenix 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 Phoenix 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 Phoenix 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 Phoenix DUI 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,17  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?

DUI sentencing includes mandatory substance abuse screening & counseling. Counseling includes at least 16 hours of DUI Education. 20 hours of DUI Treatment is also possible.   Some courts make the defendants to use the court’s counseling agencies. Some court mandated agencies can be difficult to work with and charge higher fees. Some agencies, particularly the court mandated ones require in-person counseling. If a person misses 2 sessions those agencies often make the person go back to court. The judge can then make the person, pa more fees, go to jail or start the counseling all over again.
Some courts accept counseling the defendant has done before going to court. Depending on the court it maybe a good idea to do the counseling ahead of time to avoid having to use the court mandated agency. The Arizona DUI Guide shows which  courts have mandated counseling agencies.

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?

Courts can now intercept Arizona state income tax refunds to pay court fines. Courts cannot intercept Federal tax refunds. The Scottsdale Municipal Court  uses tax intercepts.

What else could go wrong if I am found guilty of Phoenix 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 Phoenix 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 a Phoenix 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,18. 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 a Phoenix 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 Phoenix 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 19the 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 20are:

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.

Phoenix DUI with Marijuana

On November 30, 2020 Arizona Elections Proposition 207 (Prop 207), which legalizes the personal possession of Marijuana, took effect.  Prop 207 significantly changes the DUI laws for defendants who have Marijuana in their bodies.

Arizona’s basic DUI law, 28 A.R.S. § 1381.A.1, makes it illegal to drive or be in actual physical control, “While under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol, drugs or any combination thereof.“ That statute remains unchanged.

28 A.R.S. § 1381.A.3, makes it illegal to drive or be in actual physical control, “While there is any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body.” Marijuana and its active metabolite, THC, are drugs defined in section 13 A.R.S. § 3401.4.  An active metabolite is one where the substance is capable of affecting the body, whereas an inactive metabolite is one which is still present within the body but is no longer capable of affecting the body.  The Arizona Supreme Court has interpreted 28 A.R.S. § 1381.A.3 to require the presence of an active metabolite of Marijuana (THC) and not just an inactive metabolite, before a defendant can be found guilty.  Therefore prior to November 30, 2020 a defendant was guilty of Driving Impaired if they had any THC in their body.

For Medical Marijuana Card holders however, who had active THC in their bodies there was and still is an affirmative defense to 28 A.R.S. § 1381.A.3.  A Medical Marijuana Card holder is not guilty if they can affirmatively show by the standard of proof of a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that the level of THC in their body was below the level which would cause impairment.  The defendant can meet this affirmative defense duty by testifying they were below this level.

 

Proposition 207 changed two elements of the law.  First, any person at least 21 years old can now have active THC in their body and so no one is automatically guilty if they have active THC in their body.  Second, a defendant no longer has to prove they are below the impairment level (which does not scientifically does not exist) but rather the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant is above the non-existent impairment level.  In short, the defendant no longer has to prove anything, it is all on the State (see 36 A.R.S. § 2652.B).

 

To get around this problem for prosecutors some states, such as Washington and Colorado, have enacted what are known as Per Se laws which automatically make the driver guilty if their THC levels are above a certain limit even though the driver may or may not be impaired, like the 08% alcohol limit in Arizona.  Proposition 207, Section 7.1, however prohibits the Arizona Legislature from creating similar Per Se limits unless and until the scientific evidence is conclusive on that limit and further, that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends the adoption of that Per Se limit. So, in short, Arizona prosecutors now have a lot harder problem proving a defendant is guilty of Marijuana DUI than of an Alcohol DUI.

 

To try to get around this problem prosecutors like to tell juries the person who tested the blood sample (known as a criminalist) is an expert in the scientific field of THC impairment and so can tell at what level and under what circumstances a person is impaired by THC. To back up their opinion’s criminalists like to cite scientific studies which they claim back up their opinion.  The problem with this is although many studies may appear superficially to be good, in reality many are not.  If the defendant’s attorney is not familiar with these studies, they may not be able to correctly point out to the jury why the studies the criminalist claims are valid, are in reality not valid.  If the defendant’s attorney cannot defend against these scientific studies the defendant will be found guilty of DUI.

 

Recently a very important article was published by eminent experts in the field of THC impairment. The experts are professors at the Yale University School of Medicine. In the article the experts explain the limitations on many studies which criminalists might cite and why scientifically there is no evidence everyone is impaired by the presence of THC.  The article is in effect a blueprint on how to counter the prosecutor’s evidence. If the defendant’s lawyer is familiar with this article, they can use the article to counter the prosecutor’s argument that scientific evidence shows the defendant was impaired. If the defendant’s lawyer is not familiar with the scientific studies they are at a real disadvantage and the defendant will lose the battle over science.

What is the Medical Marijuana Phoenix 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,21 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 Phoenix 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, 22the 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 Phoenix 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 Phoenix 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

Arizona’s DUI penalties are among the harshest in the nation. If you are facing DUI or other criminal charges in the Phoenix Municipal Court or one of the Maricopa County Justice Courts in Phoenix it is essential that you have a knowledgeable and experienced Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney on your side.

My background includes 42 years of day in day, day out courtroom experience having represented more than 5000 clients, and I have conducted hundreds of jury trials in the Phoenix Municipal Court. In law as in life, the secret to success is using knowledge gained through experience. I use the knowledge I have gained through my many years of experience, particularly in the Phoenix Municipal Court, to help my clients get the best possible result.

Phoenix DUI & Criminal Lawyer

I am a sole practitioner and as such I am responsible for all aspects of the case, from start to finish.

My premium service includes keeping my clients informed as to the progress of their case as events happen and being available to answer questions, 24/7. My first goal is to try to get the case dismissed or the charges reduced. If that does not happen I try to minimize the consequences of a conviction on the lives of my clients and their families. I am there to do whatever I can to help my clients get back to normal. Being charged with a DUI or other criminal offense in Phoenix is stressful and never easy, but I strive to make the process as smooth as possible.

I offer free consultations, flat fees, no hidden costs and no trial fee.

Infographic showing the steps of a Phoenix DUI case, starting with the stop of the vehicle, then through the court proceedings, with possible sentencing consequences if guilty. It is an easy-to-follow visual guide designed to help people understand the DUI process.
There are several courts where DUI and misdemeanor criminal charges are tried in Central Maricopa County.  In addition to the Phoenix Municipal Court I try cases in the Scottsdale and Tempe Municipal Courts and the Arcadia/ Biltmore, Desert Ridge, Downtown, Dreamy Draw, Encanto,   Kyrene,  McDowell Mountain, Moon Valley, South Mountain,  West McDowell  and University Lakes Justice Courts.

Headshot of Gordon Thompson, Phoenix DUI Attorney
Phoenix Municipal (or City) Court:

Court’s Website: https://www.phoenix.gov/court
300 W. Washington Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85003

Phone: (602) 262-6421
Fax: (602) 534-3628
E-Mail: [email protected]
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(closed City holidays)

The Phoenix Municipal Court sees an average of 300,000 charges per year, of which roughly 100,000 are criminal cases. Finding an experienced Phoenix criminal defense lawyer who cares is rare. You should not leave your future to chance, contact me today if you suspect that you might be facing criminal or DUI charges in Phoenix, AZ and find yourself in need of personalized, total representation.

I have been going to court for 42 years and from my experience every one of my DUI & Criminal cases must have a Plan A and Plan B.

Plan A is winning,  by getting a dismissal, a not guilty verdict or an offer of a reduced charge because winning is always the best outcome. I always start by looking at the facts of the case to see if there is some way to get a judge to dismiss the case or get a jury to find my client not guilty. It includes not charging my clients an extra trial fee I use my 42 years of experience to try to get the Best Result possible: a dismissal, a reduced charge or trial verdict of not guilty  

Plan B, is a Backup Plan in the event Plan A does not work. Many lawyers talk about a Plan A but they have no backup Plan B if Plan A does not work and so their clients are left to deal with the devastating consequences of a DUI or Criminal conviction on their own. Life is going to on after the case is over and unless a client is prepared to deal with what could go wrong they and their family can needlessly suffer.

If there is a conviction, I help my client avoid or lessen the many adverse consequences of a conviction.

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. § 1381.O
  8. 28 AR.S. § 1382.H
  9. 28 A.R.S. § 1402.A
  10. 17 A.A.C. § 4-404, See pages 17-18
  11. 28 A.R.S. § 3306.H
  12. 4 A.R.S. § 244.34[/note] is a Class 1 misdemeanor.  There is no mandatory minimum sentence. A conviction results in a 2-year suspension.  The judge may allow the defendant to drive with a restricted license, This license is limited to from home to work or school during specified hours. The suspension requires an ignition interlock device1228 A.R.S. § 3322
  13. 28 A.R.S. § 3312
  14. 28 A.R.S. § 3306.A.7
  15. 28 A.R.S. § 3511
  16. State v Linares, 241 Ariz. 416
  17. 28 A.R.S. § 1852
  18. 28 A.R.S. § 1321.K
  19. 28 A.R.S. § 1385.J
  20. Ishak v. McClennen, 241 Ariz. 164
  21. State v. Sisco, II, 239 Ariz. 532

Get your questions answered - call me now for a free phone consultation (602) 467-3680