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Frequently Asked Questions

Scottsdale DUI Defense: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a DUI?

In the city of Scottsdale, a DUI is a very serious criminal charge that usually involves driving while impaired because of drugs or alcohol. It can also be classified several ways depending on factors such as actual blood alcohol level, number of prior convictions, and other key factors involved in the incident itself. DUI is a criminal offense and it will become a part of your permanent record if you are convicted. DUI convictions cannot be expunged.

If stopped by a Scottsdale police officer, should I consent to any field or chemical tests?

You are completely within your constitutional rights to refuse to submit to any field sobriety tests, including the "eye" test where the officer will ask you to follow a pen or flashlight back in forth. Scottsdale Police officers also use portable hand-held breath testing devices sometimes referred to as PBT's (or Portable Breath Tests). The results from these machines are not admissible in court and most Scottsdale DUI lawyers will recommend that you do not provide a breath sample for that particular device.

It is important to understand the difference between these pre-arrest roadside tests and the post-arrest chemical test that may be requested. Once the Scottsdale Police officer has arrested you for DUI, he can initiate a drivers license suspension of at least 12 months if you refuse to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test. In Scottsdale, the police almost uniformly take blood during this stage. By law, the officer is required to notify that a suspension will occur if you refuse this test. Many Scottsdale DUI Attorneys suggest that you inform the arresting officer that you wish to consult with an attorney before submitting to a post arrest test.

Do I really need a lawyer if I’m facing DUI charges?

If you are serious about protecting your rights and maximizing the chances of beating your charges, you should consider hiring an experienced Scottsdale DUI attorney to help protect your rights and stand up for you in court. If you cannot afford to retain a private attorney, then definitely take advantage of the public defender services you are entitled to under the law.

A lawyer knows the intricacies of the law much better than a layman does. It is in your best interests to get one on your side instead of attempting to represent yourself.

What happens if I lose my DUI trial?

Although all misdemeanor DUI conviction require a jail sentence, it is unlikely that you will be taken into custody right away. Most Scottsdale judges permit you to turn yourself into the jail at a specified date not later than 30 days after your conviction. Depending on whether you have any prior felony convictions, there is a small possibility that you could be remain our of custody pending sentencing if convicted of a felony DUI. Although most judges do order the sheriff to take you into custody after the trial is concluded, you will received credit toward your prison sentence for the time you spend in custody while awaiting sentencing.

If I get jail time for a DUI in Scottsdale, where will I be serving it?

Most jail sentences are served at the Maricopa County Jail. Although the conditions there are considered harsher than the Scottsdale City jail, there are certain benefits to serving your time there. Unlike the city jail, the county jail has a work release program that will permit you the opportunity to leave the facility and go to work while serving your sentence. In addition to minimizing your time within the jail, this option also allows you to maintain your employment and earn money during your sentence.

Whether you are given the option of completing your sentence at the Scottsdale City Jail usually depends on the length of your sentence. If you have been convicted of a first time non-extreme DUI, you will typically be given this choice. If you have an option as to where to serve your time, be sure to confer with your attorney as to what would be best in your case before making any final decisions.

What is an ignition Interlock Device?

An Ignition Interlock Device attaches to the ignition system of your car and will prevent the vehicle from operating unless an alcohol free breath sample is provided. All DUI's usually involve a drivers license suspension or revocation and will require that you use an IID for a period of time thereafter. Once your driving privileges are eligible for reinstatement, you should have an ignition interlock system installed prior to reinstating your license. You will be financially responsible for the IID and should expect to have to pay approximately $75 per month for the system.

What happens to my insurance if I’m convicted of a DUI in Scottsdale?

This depends on your insurance company and your personal driving record. Most insurance companies will either increase your premiums or cancel your policy altogether once they are notified of your conviction. Also, depending on what type of license suspension is imposed and the facts of your case, you may be ordered to carry "SR-22" or high risk insurance. Needless to say, these types of polices involve expensive premiums.

Consulting with an experienced Scottsdale DUI attorney could help you avoid this MVD requirement, even if you are found guilty in court.

What are the penalties for a DUI?

All DUI offenses mandate jail, heavy fines, installation of an Ignition Interlock Device and drivers license consequences. The length of your jail sentence, amount of your fines and details of your other penalties depends on a large number of factors. These factors include the particular Scottsdale DUI offense of which you were convicted, your prior driving record, and whether the DUI is a felony or misdemeanor. Your rights are very important and you must do everything you can to protect them if you have been charged with a drunk driving offense.

With the help of an experienced and aggressive Scottsdale DUI attorney, you could be able to avoid such penalties as:

  • Jail or prison time
  • Extensive fines
  • Loss of license (or restriction/suspension of license)
  • Mandatory installation of ignition interlock device
  • Misdemeanor or felony on your record
  • Community service
  • Probation
  • Mandatory drug/alcohol treatment

Will my license be suspended?

In addition to facing criminal charges in court, individuals arrested with DUI in Scottsdale may also have their drivers license suspended by the Motor Vehicle Department or MVD. The length and type of the MVD suspension depends on a number of factors including the facts of your case, whether you have any previous DUI related suspensions, and the BAC results.

The MVD hearing is conducted by an administrative law judge who has no jurisdiction over your pending DUI charges. Even though there are limited defenses that can be invoked at an MVD hearing, it is in your best interest to retain the services of an experienced Scottsdale DUI attorney to represent you and make sure that your rights are properly preserved. The arresting officer will be required to appear and submit to questioning at your hearing. This opportunity can be an invaluable asset to the defense of your Scottsdale DUI charges. A seasoned Scottsdale attorney can use the MVD hearing to gauge the officer’s ability to testify and make them commit to certain facts which may prove favorable down the road.

If you are arrested for a DUI and asked to submit to a blood test, you should immediately request an opportunity to consult with a Scottsdale DUI lawyer before making your decision. Although MVD issues are complex and the decision of whether to take the test requires consideration of several factors, submitting to the test is usually recommended.

What are the penalties for repeat DUI offenses?

In recent years, Arizona state law has undergone a major overhaul in regards to the severity of penalties for those convicted of DUI. Drivers charged with a DUI in Scottsdale who have previously been convicted of a DUI in any jurisdiction have been the target of increased penalties. If you have a prior DUI conviction within the past 7 years, you can expect a conviction for a second or subsequent Scottsdale DUI case to carry increased jail time, fines, and drivers license suspensions.

The good news is that the prosecution is not permitted to inform the jury at your trial about your prior DUI when it comes to most repeat DUI charges in Scottsdale. Instead, a separate proceeding called a priors trial will be held if you are found guilty of the new offense. At the priors trial the prosecution will be required to prove the existence of the prior DUI case beyond a reasonable doubt. While this may sound like an easy task, many times the prosecution will have to rely on copies of court records to establish the prior conviction. A skilled Scottsdale DUI Attorney knows how to identify deficiencies in the prosecution’s records that could prevent them from proving your prior. For many individuals charged with a second DUI in Scottsdale, winning your priors trial could mean the difference between 1 day and 1 month in the county jail.

What are the penalties for underage DUI?

Scottsdale vigorously enforces all of the Arizona DUI laws and underage drinking and driving is no exception. Under Arizona Revised Statute 4-244(33), it is illegal for anyone under 21 years of age to operate a vehicle with any alcohol in their system. Unlike other DUI offenses, Scottsdale DUI Underage DUI charges do not require proof of impairment or a certain BAC level – even the slightest quantity of alcohol can result in a conviction.

Although a jail sentence is not mandatory, minors who are found guilty of this crime are eligible for a jail term of up to 6 months. At a minimum, those convicted will have a class one misdemeanor conviction on their record which will affect their future ability to find gainful employment, get into college, or maintain affordable car insurance rates. The court can suspend the minor’s drivers license for up to two years, impose fines and surcharges totaling thousands of dollars and order you to perform community service.

Don’t expect the judge to go easy on you just because you’re young either. In fact, the court might seek to teach young people what they hope will be a valuable lesson by sentencing them more harshly than they would a person of legal drinking age. If you’re facing charges of Underage DUI in Scottsdale, it’s definitely no laughing matter. It’s in your best interest to consult a qualified Scottsdale Underage DUI Attorney the minute you know you might be in trouble.

Many underage drivers charged with DUI in Scottsdale are unpleasantly surprised to learn that they can be charged with both Underage DUI and a “regular” Scottsdale DUI offense. For example, if a 19 year old individual is arrested for DUI and his blood test results indicate a BAC of .11%, he will be charged with both Underage DUI and a regular DUI for having a BAC at or above .08%. The mandatory penalties (including jail time) for regular DUI offenses apply to minors and adults alike.

If you or a loved one is underage and facing Scottsdale DUI charges, it is imperative that you immediately contact an experienced Scottsdale DUI Lawyer.

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