Although most people can easily find DUI lawyers who can defend them against a DUI case, you should never take for granted the seriousness of the charges which will be filed against you. This in turn can result in losing your job or even serve prison time.Some drivers who have been stopped and charged with a DUI may not understand fully their legal rights due to language barriers. Others may feel it was an illegal arrest without probable cause.
Regardless, a DUI lawyer in Phoenix who speaks Spanish may be able to help them deal with their case and possibly avoid a criminal record or jail time.
DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated), are both serious criminal offenses that can ruin a person’s personal and professional life if convicted. Obviously, the best way to avoid being charged with either offense is to not drive while impaired.
The state of Arizona recognizes several types of DUI charges, each with varying factors, such as, blood alcohol content (BAC), if your license was suspended at the time you were arrested or if you have prior DUI convictions. The more serious the charge; the more severe the penalties.
There are currently 8 categories of DUI:
This conviction states that it is unlawful for a person, if they are under the influence of liquor, drugs, a toxic substance, or a combination of these, creating even the slightest degree of intoxication, while in physical control of a motor vehicle
This conviction states that it is unlawful for a person to be in actual physical control of a motorized vehicle if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or more.
This conviction states that it is unlawful for a person to be in physical control of a motorized vehicle if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.15% or more.
This conviction states that a person can be charged with Aggravated DUI if any of these three cases are present at the time of arrest:
This convictions states that it is unlawful for a person to be in physical control of a vehicle if they are under the influence of any illegal drug, a vapor-releasing toxic substance or a combination of these.
This conviction states that it is unlawful for a person, who holds a commercial driver’s license (CDL), to be in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle if they have a blood alcohol content of 0.04% or more.
This conviction states it is unlawful for any person to be in physical control of a motorized watercraft while under the influence of liquor, any illegal drug, toxic substance or any combination if the person is impaired to the slightest degree or has an blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more or if the person has a blood alcohol content of 0.04 or more while operating a commercial motorized watercraft.
Arizona, and specifically, Maricopa County, subscribes to a “zero tolerance” policy for underage drinking and driving. While the standard blood alcohol limit for a driver aged 21 or older to be arrested for a DUI is .08 or higher, an underage person’s limit is anything higher than 0.0.
Here are the five most common penalties for underage drinking and driving:
Underage drivers arrested for DUI or DWI may face six months in a juvenile detention center. As well as receive a misdemeanor charge on their permanent, adult records.
Parents of teenagers arrested and charged with DUI may be charged $2500 in fines, as well as any legal fees.
Often times, a minor will have their license suspended or revoked for a period of time following a DUI arrest. Even after driving privileges are reinstated, the underage drinker may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their car.
In some cases, a minor may be assigned to rehabilitation or a treatment program for drugs and/or alcohol abuse. This could mean that a teenager will be required to live in an in-patient treatment center or attend a certain number of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings.
At minimum, most underage drinkers convicted of a DUI will have to perform community service hours in order to avoid additional fines or penalties.
Not all drunk drivers are pulled over and arrested before they can cause an accident. If a person consumes alcohol and/or drugs before operating a vehicle and subsequently causes an accident, they can be charged with DUI/DWI and any of the following:
Negligent homicide is when driver that acts with “criminal negligence”; meaning that they failed to perceive an unjustifiable risk, of driving while impaired, causing the death of another person and can be charged with a Class 4 felony.
Endangerment statutes are a Class 1 misdemeanor and are designed to punish drivers whose drinking and driving behavior creates a dangerous situation on the road. No one needs to be injured to be charged with Endangerment, simply that the driver placed the victim of a car accident in a position of risk of injury or death.
Arizona recognizes varying degrees of charging someone with the crime of “Leaving the Scene of an Accident”. If a person in involved in a car accident that involves injury or death and fails to remain at the scene and give reasonable assistance, if able, as required by law, then that person can be charged with a felony.
If the car accident resulted in the physical injury or death of another person, then that driver can be charged with a Class 3 felony.
If the car accidents results in minor injuries to another person, then that driver can be charged with a Class 5 felony
In some situations, it probably isn’t necessary for you to hire a DUI attorney: if it is your first DUI offense, or if there was an accident and there were no injuries. Chances are that you will be convicted and receive standard sentencing and penalties.
However, even though your case may fit this description, there may be other factors that can potentially cast doubt and reduce sentencing and penalties; factors that an experienced DUI attorney has experience with that can help your case.
Trials are costly and take a lot of time to put together and see through, so if the prosecution does not have a solid case, they may accept a plea to a lesser charge. Experienced criminal defense lawyers understand how to negotiate with prosecution resulting in a more advantageous outcome for the defendant.
One lesser charge is “wet reckless”. A “wet reckless” charged is obtained through plea bargain and is commonly used when the defendant’s blood alcohol level is under the .08 legal limit. While this conviction still carries with it a degree of DUI charge, it is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor versus Class 1, carrying with it lower maximum jail times, smaller fines and shorter probation terms.
To reduce costly and lengthy trials, some prosecutors are willing to reduce potential sentences in exchange for a quick “guilty” plea. Especially for someone facing a 2nd or 3rd DUI conviction, or if they are facing additional charges such as Drug Possession or Leaving the Scene of an Accident, there is often room to negotiate that a knowledgeable DUI attorney can assist with.
It can be difficult negotiating a DUI conviction, especially if English is not your primary language. Having a lawyer, who speaks Spanish in Phoenix, can better explain the legal process and advise you to your legal rights. They can ensure that you remain well-informed of every step and in the language you are most comfortable with.