Phoenix DUI Lawyer

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Phoenix DUI Defense Attorney

A Phoenix DUI can carry significant penalties, especially after repeat offenses. When law enforcement officers in Phoenix pull over a vehicle because they expect drunk driving, they will likely administer a field test to the driver to determine if they are intoxicated. The driver has the right to refuse this test, but this comes with a risk. Refusing to take a field sobriety test in Phoenix runs the chance of a year-long or more driver’s license suspension.

If you were pulled over in Arizona and arrested for DUI whether you refused to take a field sobriety test or not, you need an attorney to increase your chances of getting a more favorable verdict in your case. There’s a lot at stake. Choosing to hire a private Phoenix DUI attorney can prevent you from making a wrong move, saying the wrong thing, or misinterpreting court proceedings, all of which can worsen your situation.

Phoenix, AZ DUI Lawyers You Can Trust

Ryan Garvey Attorneys have experience in Arizona DUI cases. Our firm has won dozens of awards and acclaim for criminal defense which includes DUI. Our successful cases resound in our client reviews. When you hire a Phoenix DUI attorney from Ryan Garvey Attorneys, you get a DUI lawyer dedicated to tirelessly protecting your rights and aggressively defending you against the charges you are facing.

If you have been charged with a DUI or related offense in the Phoenix or Arizona area, you will want to contact Ryan Garvey Attorneys for a free consultation for representation. These charges can have a large impact on your life, and without proper representation, you will have serious consequences.

Arizona DUI Laws

The Arizona laws break the severity of a DUI into several categories based on the degree to which the driver is intoxicated and how many times the driver has been convicted. A Phoenix DUI defense lawyer can help you make sense of your situation.

Drivers may face Arizona DUI charges if they are caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more. Studies reveal that a .05 BAC level leaves a driver impaired, and thus, .08 is the standard BAC level that results in an Arizona DUI offense conviction in the event that a driver is caught driving while intoxicated.

You will face Arizona DUI charges if you are caught driving under the following conditions:

  • Driving with a BAC of .08 + within two hours of driving
  • Driving with a BAC of .04 + if you hold a commercial drivers license and are operating a commercial vehicle
  • Driving with any metabolite of an illegal substance in your body
  • Driving under the age of 21 and with any amount of spirituous alcohol in your body
  • Driving impaired to any degree as a result of the use of a substance

Consequences of a DUI conviction vary depending on how many times a person has been caught operating a vehicle while being under the influence and the degree of how intoxicated they are.

Some DUI Statistics in Arizona

  • In 2011, the total number of 1,140 children below the age of 14 were killed in auto accidents. Out of those 1,140 fatalities, 181 occurred in alcohol-impaired driving accidents.
  • The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal auto accidents in 2011 was 4.5 times larger at night than during the day.
  • In 2011, 15% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes during the week were alcohol-impaired, compared to 31% on weekends.
  • In fatal crashes in 2011, the highest percentage of drivers with a BAC level of .08 or higher was for drivers ages 21 to 24.
  • The proportion of drivers involved in fatal crashes with BAC levels of .08 or higher was 24% among males and 14%among females.
  • The percentages of drivers involved in fatal crashes with a BAC level of .08 or higher in 2011 were 29% for motorcycles, 24% for passenger cars, and 21% for trucks.


DUI Consequences in Arizona

All Arizona DUI charges that end up in conviction result in punishments that involve varying degrees of the following consequences:

A driver can be charged with more than one DUI felony at the same time. A regular DUI (alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more), an extreme DUI (alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more), and a super extreme DUI (alcohol concentration of 0.20 or more) are all misdemeanors. Note that for a commercial vehicle driver, the minimum alcohol concentration cannot be more than 0.04. Anything higher will constitute a DUI charge for commercial drivers operating a motor vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license. All misdemeanor DUI offenses listed below also require alcohol screening, education, treatment, an interlock device-equipped car, and community service. A breakdown of the varying AZ DUI charges is below:

  • Regular DUI first offense
    • 10 consecutive days of jail time
    • Not eligible for a suspended sentence
    • Minimum fine of $1,250
    • Alcohol screening, education, and treatment
    • Interlock device equipped on the car for 12 months
    • Possible community service
  • Regular DUI second and subsequent offenses within 84 months
    • Minimum 90 days of jail time
    • Eligible for a suspended sentence
    • Minimum $3,000 fine
    • Revocation of driver’s license for 12 months
    • Alcohol screening, education, and treatment
    • Interlock device on the car for 12 months
    • Minimum 30 hours of community service
  • Extreme DUI first offense
    • Minimum 30 days of jail time
    • Eligible for a suspended sentence
    • No possibility of probation or a suspended sentence
    • Minimum fine of $2,500
  • Extreme DUI and subsequent offenses
    • Minimum jail time of 120 days
    • Minimum fine of $3,250
    • Revocation of driver’s license for 12 months
  • Super extreme DUI first offense
    • Minimum jail time of six months in jail
    • Minimum fine of $3,250
    • Revocation of driver’s license for 12 months
  • Super extreme DUI second offense
    • Minimum jail time of six months in jail
    • Minimum fine of $3,750
    • Revocation of driver’s license for 12 months
    • Ignition lock for 24 months

Getting a third DUI conviction within seven years (84 months) will incur felony DUI charges called an aggravated DUI. These charges are just as serious as manslaughter and arson. Furthermore, they are forever allegeable, meaning they will always affect subsequent sentencing thereafter as a prior felony.Some felony DUIs are Class 4 felonies, while others are less severe Class 6 felonies. Class 6 aggravated DUI charges are handed out when the DUI occurred with a child under 15 years old in the car or when someone gets a DUI while an ignition interlock device is on the vehicle.

All felony DUI convictions incur up to an estimated $5,000 in fines and fees, probation, revocation of driver’s license, SR22 insurance, probation, and ignition interlock device for two years. The difference in the varying DUI convictions listed below is jail and prison time:

  • Aggravated DUI Class 6 felony first offense – one day in jail up to two years in prison
  • Aggravated DUI Class 6 felony with one retire prior felony conviction – from nine to 33 months of prison time
  • Aggravated DUI Class 6 felony with two or more prior felony convictions – from 2.25 to 5.75 years in prison
  • Aggravated DUI Class 4 felony first offense
    • Four months to 3.75 years in prison
  • Aggravated DUI Class 4 felony with one prior felony conviction
    • 25 to 7.5 years in prison
  • Aggravated DUI – Class 4 felony with two or more prior felony convictions
    • Six to 15 years in prison

What Is a Certified Ignition Interlock Device?

A certified ignition interlock device is a device that tests the breath alcohol content of a driver. It is installed on a DUI holder’s vehicle when part of their sentence for their DUI conviction. The device is wired into the vehicle’s power system and connects to the ignition. It sits on the dashboard of the vehicle and includes a camera and built-in GPS. It cannot be removed. Installation of these devices is required to be done by an MVD-authorized company, and proof of certified installation must be kept in the car.

When the driver wants to go somewhere, they must blow in the device to test their breath for alcohol. If alcohol levels are detected to be higher than the acceptable 0.020 amount allowed for operating a vehicle under the influence, the car will not start. The system will log any refusals to blow into the device and any samples that exceed the minimum level.

Furthermore, if the driver blows into the device, and it determines alcohol levels are safe for driving and allows the car to start, it will periodically and randomly require the driver to blow into the device. If the driver does not blow when required or blows a high level of alcohol levels while driving, the device will log the event and continue to request samples. It will not shut off once it has been started, but denial to comply with random checks or samples deemed too high for driving will be reported.

Drivers are monitored by MVD using special procedures and forms, and if you are stopped by law enforcement, they will know, based on your record, that you have an interlock device installed. Furthermore, for multiple offenders, a new driver’s license is required which is marked “ignition interlock.”

If you are required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, you need to have the installation completed before you can get your license reinstated. You will have specific instructions for establishing the beginning of your sentence timeframe.

What to Do if You Have Been Charged With a DUI in Phoenix, AZ?

The first thing you should do if you were arrested for a Phoenix DUI is to exercise your Fifth Amendment right and remain silent. Then, call a DUI lawyer. Your lawyer will guide you through the process of requesting a Motor Vehicle Department administrative hearing. This puts a temporary hold on your license since all DUI offenses automatically suspend the defendant’s driver’s license. After you request a hearing, your lawyer can start building your case to get your license reinstated.

Phoenix DUI Potential Defense Options

Phoenix DUI charges are serious and should not be taken lightly. Without a positive outcome, the consequences they can cause can affect your life for years to come. The most productive thing you can do to optimize your case outcome is to let a private DUI defense attorney take the reins for you and build a defense strategy that is capable of possibly withstanding the Phoenix courts. A qualified criminal defense lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of every detail of your case, including your initial interaction with law enforcement, your arrest, and the questioning you underwent when at the police station and while being booked. Some of the things an attorney willask you include:

  • When you were pulled over, did the law enforcement officer have probable cause to stop you? A police officer must have a good reason to stop you, whether it be for a traffic violation, improper functions of your vehicle, driving recklessly, or another valid reason. If we find there was no probable cause for the officer to stop you, it may be cause for your case to be dropped.
  • What means of testing were used to determine intoxication levels? Some breathalyzer results can be skewed due to the readings being affected by an averaging of individuals, as these tests do not distinguish between one individual and the next. Furthermore, these tests can be affected by an individual’s physical makeup including weight, height, age, gender, diet, and health conditions. In some cases, a breathalyzer’s accuracy can be disputed and affect the outcome of a DUI case.
  • Was the breathalyzer in proper working order and maintained appropriately? Breathalyzer devices used by Phoenix law enforcement officers are required to meet certain standards and must be maintained periodically. If the maintenance records of the equipment show the device was not correctly checked periodically for proper operating function and condition, this could be a valid DUI defense.
  • Was the breath test or field sobriety test administered properly? There is a standard protocol for conducting a breath test according to state law. If the test was not administered in line with these guidelines, it could constitute a legitimate dismissal of charges.

Your Phoenix DUI lawyer will also gather and submit evidence on your behalf proving you are a sound and responsible citizen within the community to indicate what a hardship for you and others it would be if your driver’s license is suspended. Your lawyer may suggest that you enter into an alcohol treatment program in advance of your hearing to back up claims that you are being proactive in improving your situation.

Proof of employment and the presence of a loving and supportive family and circle of friends can also speak to your character and portray your responsible nature. This can sometimes sway the judge to grant you a limited or temporary license. The judge might also fully reinstate your driving privileges.

Protocol for Administering a Breath Test

There is a specific outline of steps set forth by state law that details how a breath test should be administered. Strict adherence to these requirements is necessary for a breath test result to be admissible in court. Because it is an involved step-by-step process, it’s not out of the ordinary for law enforcement officers to inadvertently skip a step or make a mistake in the process when administering a breath test on the scene. These are oftentimes stressful situations and a weak spot for the prosecution. Any good lawyer will know to inquire about the validity of the breathalyzer test administration, testing device, and results. Here are the requirements for administering a breathalyzer test according to state law:

  • A quantitative breath testing device that has been approved by the Department of Health Services or Department of Public Safety was used to measure the intoxication of the defendant. This is established by properly authenticated documentation or judicial notice from one of the two state departments listed above.
  • The administrator of the breath test had a valid permit at the time the test was conducted. This permit must be issued from one of the two departments listed above and allows the operator to conduct the test.
  • Duplicate tests must be administered with no more than a 0.02 concentration of alcohol discrepancy between the two test results. Another possible method is the operator of the test observed the person in violation for 20 minutes immediately preceding the administration of the breath test.
  • The operator followed an operational checklist approved by the two departments listed above to check the device before giving the test. The operator’s testimony is adequate in establishing this requirement.
  • The device was functioning as it should, and periodic maintenance records show the device was working properly at the time of the test. This information is considered to be public information.
  • An essential calibration check was conducted prior to giving the test.

Contact a Phoenix DUI lawyer at 602-296-3434 to schedule a free initial consultation.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, it is in your interest to contact an experienced Arizona DUI lawyer immediately. You are afforded rights as an accused person and are not considered guilty until convicted in a court of law. An Arizona DUI defense lawyer can ensure that your rights are upheld and fight for your innocence.

Contact An Experienced Phoenix DUI Lawyer

The Phoenix DUI defense lawyers at Ryan Garvey Attorneys have years of experience in litigating cases on behalf of those accused of serious crimes. We have a wealth of experience in defending those accused of drug crimes, robbery, domestic violence, murder and more. Our lawyers will fight for your rights. We offer FREE and CONFIDENTIAL case evaluations. Contact the Arizona DUI defense lawyers at Ryan Garvey Attorneys today!

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