Driving under the influence (DUI) is a misdemeanor that is generally prosecuted in municipal courts or justice of the peace courts in the state of Arizona. Generally, Arizona Superior Court handles DUIs that are charged as felonies.
Regardless of whether the charges you face are a felony or a misdemeanor, it is not something you should navigate without legal representation like an experienced Arizona DUI lawyer like the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod, P.C. Sometimes, it is better to enter into a plea agreement prior to a trial. Sometimes, the facts of your case will lead your attorney to recommend that you go to trial.
DUI sentencing and mandatory jail time in Arizona
If you are convicted of DUI in Arizona it is mandatory that you serve time in jail. The length of your sentence will depend upon the level of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), any previous criminal history (particularly any DUI history), as well as the circumstances of your arrest.
For a first DUI offense, if your BAC is below 0.15 percent, a minimum sentence to jail is 24 hours. If your BAC is between 0.15 percent and 0.20 percent, a minimum sentence is 30 days in jail. If your BAC is above 0.20 percent, a minimum sentence to jail is 45 days. In order for you to be subject to enhanced jail sentences, prosecutors for the state of Arizona have to prove that your actual BAC exceeded those minimum amounts.
If this is not your first DUI offense, the potential penalties can grow exponentially. A sentence to jail can be enhanced if prosecutors prove that you have a previous DUI arrest and conviction, which occurred within 84 months of the current charge.
In addition to time in jail, there are mandatory fines in Arizona, which also depend upon the level of BAC and any previous DUI history. A judge will also order that you participate in alcohol-counseling classes. Plus, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in any vehicle you drive.
The bottom line
If you decide to drink, do not drive a motor vehicle. If you decide to drive after drinking, you have legal rights. Always be respectful to any law enforcement officer involved in investigating the case against you. Ask to speak to a lawyer in private. You should decline taking field sobriety tests requested by any law enforcement officer. After you have been placed under arrest, you should agree to submit to a blood test designed to measure your BAC level. If your BAC reading is too high, you should request a hearing regarding suspension of your driver's license before the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).
With all of the potential repercussions of a driver's license suspension, plus an arrest and a conviction for DUI, it is vital that your legal situation should be handled by expert professionals with the experience possessed by the attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod, P.C.