The Long-Term Consequences of a DUI Conviction

Being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in Arizona can have consequences that remain with you for life. Arizona takes drunk driving crimes very seriously, with severe punishments and harsh sentences. A DUI conviction can have a ripple effect on your job, professional licensure, constitutional rights and many other aspects of life.

A Criminal Record

Getting a DUI in Arizona will give you a criminal record that can be viewed by employers, landlords, schools, law enforcement and the general public. The average DUI conviction remains on an individual’s criminal record for seven years. In this time, you may have trouble getting a job or qualifying for housing. In addition, if you get into subsequent legal trouble while a DUI is still on your record, you can face more severe penalties as a repeat offender.

The Loss of Your Job

Employers in Arizona tend to look at job applicants with DUI records unfavorably. Some jobs do not allow workers to have DUI records, such as commercial motor vehicle drivers, delivery drivers, Uber and Lyft drivers, teachers, and medical professionals. If you possess one of these jobs at the time of your DUI conviction, you may be terminated. If you attempt to apply for one of these positions after being convicted, the employer may conduct a background check and choose not to hire you based on your criminal record.

Ineligibility for Professional Licenses

A DUI conviction can interfere with your ability to obtain and retain certain professional licenses. The state licensing board in Arizona will investigate to find out if you are guilty of unprofessional conduct, such as convictions that are substantially related to the job or profession. With a DUI on your record, your professional licenses can be suspended or revoked entirely. This includes a commercial driver’s license, pilot’s license, contractor’s license, real estate license, and medical or dental license. This could lead to the loss of your job or the inability to enter a new profession.

Higher Car Insurance Premiums

Car insurance companies charge higher premiums for drivers with DUIs, as they are viewed as higher-risk clients. With a DUI conviction, you will be required to obtain high-risk or nonstandard car insurance known as an SR-22 certificate for a much higher cost (typically, about double the normal cost of insurance). This requirement can last for a few years after your conviction. You will also be subject to the out-of-pocket costs associated with installing an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, which includes a monthly maintenance fee.

Felony DUI Ramifications

Some DUI offenses in Arizona are charged as aggravated felonies. This could be the case if you had a child under the age of 15 in the car, are a repeat DUI offender, were driving on a suspended or revoked license, or caused a serious car accident. A felony DUI can remain on your criminal record for life. As a convicted felon, you will have to deal with ramifications such as the loss of your right to vote, join the military, run for office and bear arms. You may also be ineligible for certain jobs – particularly, a career involving driving.

How to Protect Yourself From a DUI Conviction

It is better to avoid a DUI conviction to begin with than to try to piece your life back together after being found guilty. This criminal conviction can have significant consequences on many aspects of your life and future. The best way to protect yourself is by hiring a skilled and experienced DUI defense attorney in Scottsdale as soon as possible upon your arrest. Your attorney can craft a suitable defense strategy to fight a DUI charge or have the penalties reduced. An attorney can also guide you through post-conviction remedies, such as having your record cleared, expunged or set aside.

The Impact of a DUI on Your Driver’s License in Arizona

In Arizona, the law takes driving under the influence (DUI) offenses very seriously. In an effort to dissuade drivers from drunk driving and to make an example out of offenders, Arizona penalizes DUI crimes harshly. One of the many potential consequences of a DUI is the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. This can interfere with your job, school, personal relationships, child custody and many other aspects of your life.

License Suspension

Being arrested for a DUI will trigger two separate cases against you: one by the criminal court and one by the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD). The MVD can choose to suspend your driver’s license simply for being arrested for a DUI, even if you are not convicted of the crime. You have the option of challenging the administrative suspension of your license, but you may still lose your license as part of a sentence if you are later convicted of DUI.

If a criminal DUI case against you results in a conviction, part of your sentence may be driver’s license suspension under Arizona Revised Statute, Section 28-1385. Depending on the facts of the case, the suspension as part of your sentence can be longer than the suspension imposed by the MVD alone. The outcome of your criminal case could add on to an existing loss of your driving privileges.

In Arizona, refusal to comply with a request to take a breathalyzer test will automatically result in a one-year driver’s license suspension by the MVD. This is because Arizona is an implied consent state, where all drivers give their implied consent to take breathalyzer tests upon law enforcement request. More than one refusal to take a breathalyzer test in a seven-year period can result in license suspensions for two years.

Challenging the Suspension or Qualifying for a Restricted License

If a DUI arrest or conviction in Arizona results in driver’s license suspension, you can challenge it with assistance from a DUI defense lawyer. First, you will be given a 15-day grace period during which you can continue to operate a motor vehicle. You can request a hearing with the MVD in these 15 days to try to fight the suspension.  

If the suspension is upheld, you may still be able to regain some driving privileges after the first 30 days of an admin per se suspension (based on reasonable suspicion that your blood alcohol concentration was at or above 0.08 percent) or the first 90 days of an implied consent suspension. A restricted license may be an option if you complete a drug or alcohol screening. This license allows you to drive to certain locations, such as to work, school, church and doctor’s appointments.

Driver’s License Revocation

Your driver’s license could be revoked entirely instead of just suspended from a DUI in certain circumstances. While a standard first-offense misdemeanor DUI in Arizona will not result in driver’s license revocation, your driving privileges could be terminated if you are convicted of two or more serious moving violations within a seven-year period. This includes DUIs, reckless driving and racing.

If you are convicted of an extreme DUI, super extreme DUI or aggravated felony DUI, your driver’s license may also be revoked under Arizona law. It is more difficult to restore your driving privileges after a revoked vs. suspended driver’s license, as you will have to reapply for a new license once the revocation period ends.

Get Help With Driver’s License Ramifications From a DUI in Arizona

 If you have been arrested for allegedly driving under the influence in Scottsdale, contact Corso Law Group right away for a free consultation with a DUI defense lawyer in Scottsdale. We can help you protect your driving privileges, such as by challenging an MVD driver’s license suspension, helping you apply for a restricted license and defending you against a DUI conviction. Call (480) 471-4616 today for assistance.

The Role of Chemical Tests in DUI Cases

In Arizona, chemical tests are almost always used as part of a driving under the influence (DUI) criminal investigation. These tests measure the amount of alcohol or drugs in a person’s body at the time of a DUI arrest. Chemical tests may rely on the individual’s breath, blood or urine. If the test results show that someone is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, it can be used as evidence in a DUI case.

Arizona’s Legal Limit

In Arizona, it is against the law to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor-releasing substance containing a toxic substance, or any combination thereof if the individual is impaired to the slightest degree (Arizona Revised Statutes Section 28-1381). This is the crime known as driving under the influence, which can result in penalties such as a fine, driver’s license suspension and jail time.

The law also states that if a person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level at or above 0.08 within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle, he or she is presumed to be intoxicated. If the individual is operating a commercial motor vehicle, however, the legal BAC limit is 0.04 percent. Under Arizona’s Zero Tolerance law, a driver under the legal drinking age of 21 can be arrested for a DUI with any discernible amount of alcohol in his or her system.

The Use of Chemical Tests During a DUI Case

Chemical tests can provide evidence for the prosecution against someone being accused of driving under the influence. The results of the chemical tests performed at the time of the arrest or shortly after could be used to establish that alcohol or a controlled substance was in a driver’s system within two hours of driving. 

Every driver in Arizona gives his or her implied consent to take a breathalyzer test. If this test is refused, the driver’s license will be suspended for a year. If a chemical test shows that the driver was at or above the legal BAC limit, the test results will provide central evidence to a DUI per se case. DUI per se means that a driver can be found guilty of DUI based on an illegal BAC level alone, even if it is not proven that he or she was actually under the influence. 

Even if a chemical test shows a BAC that is lower than the legal limit, however, the driver could still be convicted of driving under the influence. It is illegal to operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while “impaired to the slightest degree.” The prosecution could argue that a driver was impaired based on any amount of a substance confirmed by a chemical test.

Can You Argue Against Chemical Test Evidence?

Yes. If you are accused of driving under the influence, a DUI defense lawyer in Scottsdale will examine your case to determine the best possible defense for your situation. Your lawyer will search for holes in the prosecutor’s case against you. This may include arguing against chemical test evidence obtained during a DUI arrest. It may be possible to use the following defenses:

  • Unreliable test results
  • Inaccurate breathalyzer test
  • The equipment was not correctly calibrated
  • Poor equipment maintenance
  • Poorly trained officers or staff
  • Inaccurate suspect observation times
  • Unacceptable testing or medical practices
  • Contamination of evidence
  • Missing test results

Chemical tests are subject to many variables that can affect their accuracy. Your lawyer can argue against the reliability of the test results to aid in your defense. It may also be possible to argue that you were not impaired despite the results of a urine, blood or breath test. An experienced DUI lawyer can explore all possible defense strategies and may push to have chemical test evidence dismissed or ruled as inadmissible. 

Even if chemical test results show a high BAC level, this does not guarantee a conviction. If you’ve been arrested for an alleged DUI, contact a Scottsdale DUI defense attorney for assistance.

Tips for Choosing the Right DUI Lawyer

If you are facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Arizona, your choice of criminal defense attorney is important. Not all DUI defense lawyers are created equal. You need to take the time to select the right lawyer based on your case and circumstances. With a good attorney, you can protect your rights and potentially have DUI charges reduced or even dismissed. Use these tips to find the right Scottsdale DUI lawyer for you.

Search for a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer

Keep your search for the right DUI lawyer local. Local knowledge is important during a drunk driving defense case. Your lawyer will need to thoroughly understand Arizona’s DUI laws. It can also benefit you to have an attorney with knowledge of the local criminal court system, with relationships with judges and prosecutors. A lawyer’s local reputation can help your case. You want an attorney who can show up in person in Arizona to represent you during police interrogations, help you get out of jail and attend hearings on your behalf.

Look at the Law Firm’s History

Research a law firm as much as you can before making your decision. Look for a focus in driving under the influence criminal defense and use the About Us page to learn more about each individual lawyer and how the law firm operates as a whole. Read past client reviews or testimonials to get an idea of how the law firm treats its clients. You can also peruse past case results that have been achieved by the DUI defense lawyer, such as case dismissals and charge reductions. This can prove that the lawyer has what it takes to achieve your case goals. Keep in mind, however, that past successes do not guarantee a positive outcome for your case.

Consider a Former Prosecutor

While it is not a requirement, it can help to hire a DUI lawyer with a history of previously working as a prosecutor in Maricopa County. This could give you an edge during your DUI case, as your lawyer will know exactly how the prosecution works, thinks and operates, and what to expect from the other side of your case. A former prosecutor can draw on his or her experience to develop strong, successful strategies for defending you during a DUI case.

Schedule a Free Consultation and Ask Questions

If you believe you have found a great DUI defense attorney in your city, schedule a free case consultation for the opportunity to meet the lawyer in person (or over the phone) and ask questions about your case, rights and future. Bring a list of questions to ask during your case review to learn more about the attorney and determine if he or she is the right fit. Examples include: 

  • Who will be the attorney who handles my case?
  • What type of training and experience do you have in handling DUI cases?
  • How many DUI cases have you worked on in my city?
  • Do you have a history of successfully resolving DUI cases for your clients?
  • What strategies might you use to defend me?
  • How much do you charge for your services?

The attorney you choose should have years of experience in DUI defense law and a history of achieving successful outcomes for past clients. Pay attention to how the attorney makes you feel during the consultation; you should have the lawyer’s undivided attention and get the feeling that he or she is a legal professional that you can trust to protect your best interests. The attorney should be willing to listen to you, confident in his or her legal knowledge, and eager to take on your case.

Don’t wait – if you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Arizona, contact Corso Law Group at (480) 471-4616 to arrange a free, confidential case consultation with our experienced DUI defense attorneys.

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