Frequently Asked DUI/DWI Case Questions

Each Arizona DUI case is different, based on the individual circumstances.  Below, for your reference, are answers to frequently asked questions about Arizona DUI cases.  Please contact Slade A. Lawson at the Lawson Law Office to discuss the specifics of your Arizona DUI case.

What is the "legal limit" for DUI/DWI in Arizona?

In Arizona, it is against the law to have a blood alcohol level of .08 or more within two hours of driving.

Can I be prosecuted for DUI even if my blood alcohol level is under .08?

Yes.  The Arizona DUI statutes are written so that the government has two different ways to convict you.  The government can convict you by proving that you had a blood alcohol level of .08 or more within two hours of driving.  They can also convict you by proving that, regardless of any blood alcohol level, your ability to drive was impaired in the slightest degree by alcohol or drugs.  In other words, it is possible to be convicted of DUI even if you did not take a breath or blood test, or, if the results of the test were below .08.

Can I be prosecuted for DUI even if I don't have any alcohol in my system?

Yes.  The Arizona DUI statutes are written to criminalize driving while under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance.  DUI Drug charges have become more common in Arizona courts over the past several years.  Most DUI Drug convictions carry longer driver license suspension periods than alcohol based DUI convictions.  

The only thing I had in my system was my prescription medication.  Can I still be prosecuted for DUI?Can I be prosecuted for DUI even if I had a valid prescription for the drugs in my system?

Yes.  Arizona's DUI statutes criminalize driving while you are under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance.  Even if you had a valid prescription for the drugs in your system, and even if you were taking the medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor, you could still be convicted of DUI if the government can prove that the medication was impairing your ability to drive.Your lawyer will need to properly present proof of a valid prescription.  If proof of a valid prescription is presented, the prosecution may still elect to proceed under the theory that, notwithstanding the fact that you had a legal right to have the drugs in  your system, the drugs in your system impaired your ability to drive.  DUI Prescription Drug charges have become much more prevalent in Arizona courts over the past several years.  

What should I do if I'm stopped for a DUI?

You should politely tell the officer that you will not agree to take any field sobriety tests. You should refuse to take the HGN test (sometimes called the "eye test" - this is a test where the officer waves a pen in front of your face, asking  you to follow the pen with your eyes while he or she tries to determine how smoothly your eyes are tracking).  You should provide the officer with your driver's license, but refuse to answer any questions. You should ask to contact your attorney before agreeing to take a breath or blood test.

Please note: Recent Arizona case decisions have held that if a defendant refuses to submit to field sobriety tests, the prosecution may be able to comment on that refusal at trial.

What happens if I refuse to take a breath or blood test?

If you refuse to take a breath or blood test your license will be suspended for a full year. This suspension will be effective regardless of whether you later win your DUI case.  It is also important to note that in most cases, the police will be able to forcibly obtain a sample of your blood by obtaining a telephonic search warrant.

Generally, it is not a good idea to refuse to take the breath or blood test.  However, if you have prior DUI convictions, or if your license is already under suspension, you should contact your attorney before agreeing to take the test.

Please note:  It may be possible to obtain a Special Ignition Interlock Restricted License to be able to drive for a portion of the one year suspension.  

What will happen to me if I'm convicted of a DUI?

In Arizona, every DUI conviction carries with it a mandatory jail sentence.  For a first offense misdemeanor DUI, the minimum sentence is ten days in jail.  There are also mandatory minimum fines, mandatory alcohol or substance counseling, and a mandatory license suspension.  A first offense "Extreme" DUI conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of thirty days in jail.  A first offense "Super Extreme" DUI conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 45 days in jail.  Often, a portion of the jail sentence can be suspended upon completion of alcohol screening and counseling and installation of an Ignition Interlock Device.  It may also be possible to be released from jail for a portion of your sentence to go to work.  Finally, some jurisdictions allow a portion (but not all) of the jail sentence to be served on Home Detention.  

What is an Extreme DUI?

To be convicted of an Extreme DUI, the government must prove that your blood alcohol level was at or above .150 within two hours of driving.  An Extreme DUI conviction carries a mandatory jail term of 30 days.  It also carries higher mandatory fines, and other severe penalties.  An Extreme DUI is a class one misdemeanor.

What is a Super Extreme DUI?

To be convicted of a Super Extreme DUI, the government must prove that your blood alcohol level was at or above .200 within two hours of driving.  A Super Extreme DUI conviction carries a mandatory 45 days in jail.  It also carries higher mandatory fines and other severe penalties.  A Super Extreme DUI is a class one misdemeanor.  

What is an Aggravated DUI?

An Aggravated DUI (also known as a Felony DUI) is a class 4 or a class 6 felony.  You can be charged with an Aggravated DUI if, at the time you were stopped by the police,  your license was already under suspension. You can also be charged with Aggravated DUI if you had two or more previous DUI convictions within the past 5 years, or, if you commit a DUI while a child under the age of 15 is in the vehicle.  Aggravated DUI usually carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 4 months in prison.

I have more questions What do I do?

Call Slade Lawson at 480-413-1300, or send an email to SladeLawson@gmail.com.  Mr. Lawson will be happy to answer all of your questions.  He understands that this is an urgent matter for you, and will get back to you quickly.  There's no obligation.  Mr. Lawson just wants you to have all the information  you need to make informed decisions.  

Lawson Law Office

Don't be fooled. Defending a criminal case is much more difficult than prosecuting one. When hiring a criminal defense attorney, the relevant question is not how long that attorney has worked in the criminal justice system, but rather how long that attorney has worked in criminal defense.

Contact Us Today

The Lawson Law Office is dedicated to providing personal, professional and expert service on Arizona criminal defense cases. When you hire Slade A. Lawson for legal representation, you will receive personalized representation by Mr. Lawson himself, not an associate or paralegal.