Get Answers to Your DUI FAQs
Dealing with a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest and the looming consequences of potential conviction is a challenging position to be in. Attorney James Novak represents many DUI defendants and fields their frequently asked questions (FAQs) on this topic. Read on for Attorney Novak’s answers to DUI FAQs for the Phoenix, Arizona area. If you need legal help now, contact our office to schedule a free consultation.
How can I be charged with DUI when my blood alcohol count (BAC) was less than .08%?
According to state law, you can be convicted of a DUI if the officer can establish that you were “impaired to the slightest degree.” This conclusion is drawn from his observations of your behavior and speech, and the results of a roadside field sobriety test. This evidence can be challenged by a DUI defense attorney. Also, if you are under 21, you can be convicted of an underage DUI if you have any trace of alcohol or drugs in your system.
What are my legal rights in a DUI stop?
You have the right to remain silent rather than answer incriminating questions and the right to ask politely to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. If an officer questions you after arrest without reading your Miranda rights, your statements may be inadmissible. Your Arizona driver’s license comes with “implied consent,” meaning you are required to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test if a police officer takes you into custody. If you refuse, your license can be suspended for a year. However, you are not legally obligated to take a roadside breath test using a portable device, nor can you be forced to take a field sobriety test.
How will you defend my DUI charge?
Every case is unique, but common defenses include challenges to probable cause for stopping a defendant or taking him or her into custody. The officer’s actions and opinions can be at issue, as can the results of field sobriety or BAC tests. Many factors related to timing and your health and body chemistry may effect BAC results. Actual physical control of the vehicle (whether you were driving or just parked) might be in question, and myriad other factors. You are innocent until proven guilty by the prosecution.
What happens if I am convicted?
In Arizona, conviction for a basic, first offense DUI can result in 90 days to a year license suspension, one to ten days in jail, $1,500 in fees and five years probation. Other consequences include mandatory drug and alcohol programs, use of an ignition interlock device, and increased car insurance rates. If you are convicted a second time or the DUI is considered extreme or super-extreme, these penalties and consequences increase proportionally. An aggravated DUI is most serious, and adds a felony conviction to your record.
How will this affect my car insurance?
There is no effect unless you are convicted, but a DUI conviction can increase your car insurance premiums by as much as 300%. Car insurance is an absolute requirement in the state, and if your license is suspended after a DUI conviction, you must have SR-22 insurance before it can be reinstated. SR-22 is official proof of financial responsibility; if you do not keep it for three years, your license can be suspended again.
What if I’m guilty? Why bother with a lawyer?
An experienced DUI attorney understands the law and the system much better than you do. There may, in fact, be legal reasons why your case should be dismissed. In any case, James Novak can at the very least help minimize your consequences through effective plea bargaining and other strategies.