The State of Arizona takes DUI and related offenses extremely seriously. First-time offenders are often required to serve jail time, and subsequent offenders can face substantial prison sentences. With each successive DUI, the punishment becomes exponentially more severe, making it extremely important for persons accused of DUI to obtain competent legal counsel. The Arizona Court of Appeals recently addressed a defendant’s appeal of his DUI conviction, which was for a second offense and resulted in a prison sentence of 4.5 years.
The defendant in the recently decided appeal was stopped while operating a motor vehicle on I-17 in Maricopa county. According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, officers smelled the odor of alcohol on the man and suspected he was driving under the influence of alcohol. After performing sobriety tests, and ultimately a chemical test showing a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit, the defendant was charged with an aggravated DUI. The defendant had previously been convicted of aggravated DUI in the State of Arizona in 2006. The defendant was offered a plea agreement by prosecutors, which he rejected, and the case was taken to trial.
After a jury trial in which several witnesses testified against the defendant, he was found guilty of the aggravated DUI charges. The defendant was not sentenced immediately after his conviction; as he was instructed to return for sentencing. The defendant failed to appear for his sentencing hearing, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. After the defendant was found several months later, he was sentenced for crimes. The defendant was sentenced to two prison terms of 4.5 years, which would be served concurrently. The defendant appealed his conviction to the state court of appeals.
In response to the defendant’s appeal, the prosecutors argued two main points. First, the State claimed that the defendant waived his right to appeal by failing to appear for sentencing. Arizona law dictates that a defendant who knowingly and voluntarily fails to appear for sentencing within 90 days of their conviction gives up their right to appeal. The appellate court rejected this argument by the state, finding that the defendant did not voluntarily waive his right to appeal because he wasn’t explicitly instructed that he would lose that right if he failed to show up for sentencing. The State’s second argument was that there were no reversible issues in the appeal. The high court agreed with this, holding that the defendant’s prosecution was pursued properly and that his rights had been honored through the process. As a result of this appellate opinion, the defendant’s conviction and sentence will stand.
How to Fight an Arizona DUI Charge
If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a DUI offense in Arizona, the consequences of a prosecution can be significant. Although DUI laws in the state are strict, it is possible to challenge the police and prosecutors’ conduct in mounting a defense to the charges, and the worst consequences can often be avoided if the right legal strategies are employed. The experienced Arizona DUI attorneys with the Law Office of James E. Novak know how to fight an Arizona DUI charge. Our qualified criminal defense lawyers stand up for our client’s rights, regardless of the type of crime they have been charged with. If you’ve been accused of a crime, contact us and we can start helping today. To schedule a free consultation and discuss your case, call 480-413-1499.