Arizona Court Denies Defendant’s Appeal but Reduces His Sentence in DUI Case

In a recent opinion coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant’s appeal of his aggravated DUI conviction was denied. The court found no reason to reverse the jury’s guilty verdict; they did, however, notice that the defendant’s sentence was calculated incorrectly and that he should have been given less time in prison. Because of that error, the court modified the defendant’s sentence by taking away ten days of time in prison.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, a police offer received a call from local patrons that there was disorderly conduct at a nearby bar. The officer arrived at the scene and approached the defendant in this case, who he immediately identified as the source of the patrons’ complaint. The defendant had watery eyes, slurred speech, and difficulties with balance. The officer told the defendant he needed to leave the premises on foot, which he did.

Minutes later, some of the witnesses informed the officer that the defendant had driven away in his car. The officer left the property in his own car, eventually finding the defendant driving a few miles away. At the time, the defendant’s truck was weaving significantly between lanes.

The officer stopped the defendant and asked him to take a field sobriety test. The defendant refused, and the officer went through the process of getting a warrant to draw the defendant’s blood approximately two hours later. Analysis of the blood draw reviewed that the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of driving was likely between .18 and .19. When the officer found out that the defendant had a suspended driver’s license, he charged the defendant with aggravated DUI.

The Decision

A jury found the defendant guilty as charged, and he appealed the conviction. Reviewing the record, the court did not find any error that would warrant a change in the verdict. The court did, however, notice that the defendant had spent time in prison while awaiting bail. This time in prison was not credited to the defendant when he was sentenced for the aggravated DUI, and the lower court should have taken this time into account when setting a release date for the defendant.

Under Arizona law, a defendant is entitled to credit for all time actually spent in custody related to an offense until he is sentenced to imprisonment. Thus, given the defendant in this case’s time in custody awaiting bail, his sentence should have been modified. The higher court made this change and pushed up the defendant’s release date by ten days.

Have You Been Charged with a DUI in Arizona?

If you are facing DUI charges in Arizona, it is important to have a thorough criminal defense attorney who can make sure your rights are being well protected. At The Law Office of James E. Novak, we have the skills and experience to provide a strong defense for every client, regardless of the severity or circumstances of the charges. For a free and confidential consultation, call us today at 480-413-1499.

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