Misdemeanor vs Felony DUI in Arizona

Arizona Felony vs. Misdemeanor DUI

Driving while intoxicated or under the influence is a life-threatening and serious issue in the USA. More than 10 000 people died in car accidents where alcohol was involved. In 2014 more than one million people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

In Arizona, anyone who has a driving license means that they consent to a blood alcohol concentration or drug content testing in case an officer pulls them over. If you are younger than twenty-one years of age, your driving license will be suspended if the testing shows any level of alcohol in your blood.

Can you drive under the influence if you had several drinks and sleep it off in your vehicle?

You can be convicted of DUI in Arizona if you are driving or are in actual physical control of the vehicle. In case you are sleeping in the vehicle, there are other factors that will be considered, such as whether you were in actual physical control of the vehicle. In the end, the jury will bring the final decision.

 These are the factors that will be included in cases like this:

  • Whether the engine and/or parking brake was on or off when the officer was arresting you;
  • Whether the vehicle was off the main road;
  • Whether the vehicle was in a parking lot, bus pullout, or outside of a drive-thru;
  • Whether the vehicle was in neutral.

These instances will be argued by the attorneys – did the intoxicated driver put others in danger, whether he or she was in physical control of the vehicle since it was not moving and did not harm anyone?

Will you be charged with DUI in Arizona while heavily intoxicated and caused an accident but did not get DWI charges at the scene?

Chances are this driver will be charged. Often, when a motor accident caused by drunk or influenced drivers occurs, the police won’t charge right ahead but will wait for blood results. The blood test will determine the amount of alcohol or substances in the blood at the time of the accident. The police will send them to the County Attorney’s office for felony prosecution.

People who caused an accident while intoxicated will most likely be charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. This carries a mandatory term in the Department of Corrections from five to fifteen years in prison.

The state has seven years to file such charges; the driver can be charged with a misdemeanor driving under the influence (if we assume the person was not eligible for Aggravated DUI charges). This can happen if the charges were filed within the first year of the date of the motor accident.

You can drink and drive as long as your BAC is within the legal limit in Arizona

Although there is a legal limit for DUI (.08%) in Arizona, it is illegal to drive while intoxicated if you are over the age of twenty-one. Don’t get surprised if you have alcohol in your blood below the legal limit of .08% and still get arrested and later prosecuted for driving under the influence.

If you are driving, it is smarter to avoid drinking alcohol or taking drugs, than to make your calculations with the legal limit.

What to do After a DUI in Arizona

If you were charged with an Arizona DUI yesterday, there are things you should do today to ensure the best possible outcome for your case and that you do all you can to avoid conviction. An Arizona DUI attorney can help walk you through these steps.

Request an MVD hearing

Your license suspension is completed independently of your court case. This means that even before your conviction of a DUI, you can lose your license if you don’t take the proper next steps. Within 15 days of receiving a DUI, you need to contact the Motor Vehicle Division to request a hearing.

Failure to request a hearing during this timeframe results in your license being suspended. Losing your license will have a great effect on your life that you can avoid if you take the proper precautions. When you are timely in your request for an MVD hearing, you can often preserve your driving rights so that you don’t receive an automatic suspension notice. Even if you are found innocent of your DUI charges, you can still face suspension if you don’t take advantage of the 15-day rule.

Locate your car

When you are taken to the police station under suspicion of a DUI, the law enforcement officer generally has your car towed. The sooner you retrieve the car, the lower the fees to have it released to you, and the easier it will be to get the car.

If you wait to retrieve your car, you can face more serious fees to get it back and have more hoops to jump through to retrieve it. Generally, you can retrieve your car without a court order, which is good news so that you can return to your regular activities as you await your court case for your DUI.

Learn your court date

Upon being arrested for a DUI, you generally get a court date that is a very short time away. You want to find out this court date as soon as possible so you can begin working on your defense with your lawyer. You also want to be sure to clear your calendar and have your attorney be free that day too in order to prepare for the proceedings.

Make sure you know the address for your court hearing because you don’t want to show up late. Give your court case the time and attention it deserves because of the gravity of what it can do to your future if you’re found guilty. If you are unable to shift your personal appointments to make time for the original court case date, try to reschedule as soon as possible. It can be frowned upon to move your court date at the last minute and you don’t want to give the prosecution more reason to believe you are guilty.

Hire a DUI attorney

If you did not hire a DUI attorney yesterday, today is the day to do it. The sooner you can get an attorney involved in your case, the better your case is likely to go in the long run.

You want to ensure that your attorney has all the details related to your case. The later that you hire your attorney, the more catch-up work they will be forced to do, which can leave room for errors or things you simply forget to share with your attorney because they seem trivial.

Involve your attorney in all discussions with law enforcement, the courts, and any other parties involved in the case. An attorney is there to help you make everything right again after you face DUI charges or suspicion of a DUI.