What If I Am Stopped for Suspected DUI in Arizona?
If you are driving down the road and the police pull you over because they suspect you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you are most likely nervous. You do have reason to be, but you need to try to keep your cool and behave properly, so the matter doesn’t escalate. After all, if you are not intoxicated, you have nothing to be afraid of as long as you cooperate with the officers. While Arizona has strict DUI laws, they are on the side of the innocent. Here are some things to do if you are stopped for suspected DUI in Arizona:
- Be cooperative and stay calm. The officer will watch you as you retrieve your license, insurance card, and registration. Fumbling or nervousness might make the officer suspect that you are intoxicated.
- The officer will try to make small talk with you and will pay attention to your speech. He or she will notice for slurred speech, confusion, stuttering, or the inability to respond. Stay calm and polite. Respond to any questions with caution.
- You will likely be asked to perform a field sobriety test. Most attorneys recommend that you politely decline this test. Many people who are not intoxicated cannot pass this test. This could come back to hurt you later. Problems with balance can skew the results. You are not required to take a field sobriety test. Remember, even if your BAC is below the legal limit you can be charged with DUI if the officer thinks you are intoxicated. Failing a field sobriety test could be reason enough for the officer to charge you with DUI.
- Agree to take the chemical test. Arizona is an implied consent state. That means if you are operating a vehicle, you are consenting to undergoing chemical testing for your BAC. You can, technically, still decline the test but it is not recommended. If you decline the BAC test, your driver’s license will be suspended for a year. If you take the test and your BAC is less than .08 percent, you won’t be charged. Even if you have a BAC of .08 percent or higher and are charged, you will only face a license suspension of 30 to 90 days based on Arizona DUI laws.
- You can politely decline to respond to any questions without your criminal defense attorney present. After all, anything you say can be used against you when your claim advances to court. You want to make sure you don’t make matters worse.
- Contact an Arizona DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will conduct his or her own investigation into your arrest and will help build a strong defense. Just because you are charged with DUI does not mean you are guilty. Your lawyer will take the time to get to the root of the matter and examine all the details.
Will I Automatically Go to Jail for An Arizona DUI Conviction?
If you are convicted of DUI in Arizona, you will spend some time in jail. However, the laws do allow for some sentences to be suspended after a pre-determined number of days have been served; Refer A.R.S. 28-1381(J). Other penalties include fines and other fees, a suspended driver’s license, and the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicles. You will also face higher insurance premiums after a DUI has been placed on your record. Don’t try to fight DUI charges on your own, if you are stopped for suspected DUI in Arizona. Consult with an Arizona criminal defense attorney, so you can make sure your case gets the attention that it deserves.