Facing DUI charges can be an overwhelming experience, even if you’ve been through the process before. And while nothing can completely lift all the stress that comes along with having an open criminal case, being able to get your questions answered can certainly help. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we’ve been representing clients charged with drunk driving offenses for more than two decades. We understand that the uncertainty about the process only makes it harder to deal with, so we’ve put together a few DUI FAQs to help answer some of the most common questions our clients ask us.
No, although Arizona has an implied consent law that presumes you’ll provide a breath or blood sample after being arrested for a DUI, there is no requirement to submit to chemical testing before an arrest. In most cases, Arizona police officers make an arrest and then ask you to take a breath test. In this situation, because you’ve already been arrested, if you refuse chemical testing, you will face an administrative license suspension.
Yes, if you refuse a breathalyzer test, you can still be charged—and even convicted—of a DUI. Arizona law gives prosecutors several ways to prove DUI charges. While proving intoxication through breathalyzer test results is common, prosecutors can still pursue charges without test results by relying on other evidence of intoxication. For example, if you refuse to take a breath test but make a statement to police that you had four cocktails, prosecutors will use your statement against you. Another common situation where this comes up is when a driver is pulled over for driving erratically, and the arresting officer claims he smells alcohol on the driver’s breath.
Possibly. Arizona has extremely harsh DUI sentencing laws, which call for a period of ten days in jail for a first offense. However, judges have the discretion to suspend all but one day of that sentence if you agree to complete a drug or alcohol abuse treatment program. Of course, just because you’ve been arrested for a DUI doesn’t mean you’ll be found guilty. There are many defenses that can result in the case being thrown out or being acquitted at trial.
Absolutely. Even if you were arrested for a DUI and the breathalyzer indicated that your blood-alcohol content was over .08, you may still be able to beat your case. DUI cases can be extremely complex due to the prosecution’s evidentiary requirements, and sometimes police or prosecutors make mistakes. Speaking with an experienced Phoenix criminal defense lawyer is crucial to understand what defenses you may have.
It depends. Refusing chemical testing will almost guarantee that your license will be suspended for at least a year (three years if you’ve refused in the past). However, by refusing chemical testing, you also deprive the prosecution of potentially critical evidence. This can make proving the case against you much harder, increasing your chances of beating the case. So, some drivers refuse a test, knowing that their license will be suspended, in hopes of improving their odds at trial. This may end up sparing them a jail sentence.
These DUI FAQs are just the tip of the iceberg, there are many other questions you may have, and it’s important that you get accurate, reliable answers. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we are here for you. Feel free to give us a call and set up a free consultation. We will give you an overview of the DUI process, answer all your questions, and explain what we can do to help. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney James Novak, call 480-413-1499 today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.