Get Answers to Your DUI FAQs

Man's hands zip-tied behind his back 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.

If you have been accused of a DUI, you probably have many questions. It is suggested that clients look through our list of DUI FAQs and schedule an initial consultation at our Phoenix, AZ. office. Attorney James E. Novak handles all forms of criminal law, with a primary focus on DUI cases. Knowing how stressful and confusing a DUI charge can be, he will walk you through every step of the process. Contact The Law Office of James Novak today to discuss your DUI case.

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.

What is the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in the state of Arizona?

In the state of Arizona, if you are driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, you will be charged with a DUI. If you operate a semi or large commercial truck with a commercial driver’s license (CDL), the Arizona limit is 0.04.

What are the penalties of a DUI in Arizona?

You face up to ten days in jail for a first-offense DUI, several hundred dollars or more in fines and fees, a license suspension for 90 days, and the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle. A second or subsequent offense within seven years will result in additional jail time, steeper fines and fees, and a license suspension for one year.

Is a DUI considered a misdemeanor or felony charge in Arizona?

In most cases, a DUI is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona. If you receive multiple DUIs within seven years, receive a DUI with a minor in the vehicle, or you cause property damage, injuries, or fatalities while driving under the influence, you will be charged with an aggravated DUI, which is a felony charge in the state of Arizona.

Am I required to consent to a breath, blood, or urine test?

In the state of Arizona, when you receive your driver’s license, it serves as consent to any request for a breath, blood, or urine test if you are placed under arrest for a DUI. While this alone will not result in criminal charges against you, failure to consent to this testing can result in the suspension of your license for one year or more.

Am I required to consent to a field sobriety test?

Under Arizona law, you are not required to consent to field sobriety tests, and we typically advise our clients not to consent to such a test as they can be difficult to pass, even under the best of circumstances.

Can I be charged for a DUI even if I have a medical marijuana card?

You can be charged with a DUI, even if you are a licensed medical marijuana user. A DUI can be charged if there is any trace of metabolites in your system, regardless of how much. You can, however, use your medical marijuana card as an affirmative defense in your case.

Do I have to answer all the questions a police officer asks me?

If you are pulled over, you are not required to answer all of the officer’s questions. You should answer any questions regarding your license, insurance, residency, or registration, but you are not required to provide answers to questions such as where you are coming from or going to, how many drinks you have had, or other questions that could potentially incriminate you.

Do I have to consent to a police search of my vehicle?

If you do not believe the officer has sufficient probable cause to search your vehicle, you can calmly decline to consent to a search. If the officer proceeds with the search, your attorney can use this in your case.

If I was drinking and driving, should I just plead guilty to the charges?

We strongly advise our clients against pleading guilty, regardless of whether they were drinking or not. When you plead guilty to a DUI, you will serve jail time, pay steep fines, and your license will be suspended. Although working with an attorney may not result in your case being dismissed, they can help reduce your charges to prevent the collateral consequences in other areas of your life.

What are some of the collateral penalties of a DUI?

A DUI will cause insurance rates to increase, and can impact current employment. Depending on your job, a DUI conviction could result in suspension or termination. It can also make finding future employment difficult, as a DUI conviction will appear on background checks.

Contact Us to Learn More

You can get answers to all your questions during a free consultation with James Novak, who has successfully defended many DUI cases in the area. Contact our office today.

Client Reviews
I was facing criminal charges with three priors in my history. Mr Novak was very helpful and got me a lighter sentence than I probably deserved. He is a great attorney and I would highly recommend him. A. T.
James worked tirelessly behind the scenes with the prosecution, to decrease my son’s charges to a more reasonable penalty. I could not have asked for a better, more professional attorney. He treated my son with the utmost respect and walked him through every step of a very difficult situation. S. G.
Attorney Novak did an outstanding job defending my son. Due to his extensive professional background within the court system, he was successfully able to defend my son during a very difficult time for my family. I highly recommend Attorney James Novak for your legal needs. T. G.