First-Time DUI Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ
Were you pulled over and arrested for your first DUI? Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two, carries harsh penalties. Those penalties have become more and more severe over the years, not only in Arizona, but throughout the United States.
Arizona is certainly no exception to the general rule. In fact, in most studies, Arizona ranks as number 1 among the states as having the most severe DUI laws in the country. Those findings include not only first-time DUI convictions, but also convictions for second and third DUI’s. But the fact is that the penalties for a first DUI conviction in Arizona are severe, much more severe, in fact, than those in most other states.
What is a First-Time DUI Charge?
If you’ve never before been convicted of driving under the influence you will of course, if convicted, be sentenced as a first-time DUI offender. In addition, however, even with a prior DUI conviction, you could be sentenced for a first-time DUI, provided that more than 84 months (known as the “lookback period”) have elapsed since the first offense. The 84-month period runs from the date of the commission of the first offense to the date of the commission of your current offense. Since multiple DUI’s significantly increase the penalties you could receive, this may be a significant issue in your case. The key in determining whether, if you have a prior DUI conviction, you will be sentenced as a first-time (as opposed to a second- or third-time) offender, is the date of the commission of each offense.
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Can I Get My DUI Reduced through a Plea Bargain?
While the vast majority of criminal cases are resolved without a trial – they or either dismissed for lack of evidence or other reasons, or a defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge as part of a plea bargain – there are restrictions on plea bargaining a DUI case in Arizona. In essence, your lawyer must convince the prosecutor that there is little or no chance of obtaining a conviction for DUI before, for example, the charge might be dismissed or reduced to reckless driving or another non-alcohol/drug-related driving offense. So there is the possibility of a plea bargain, but not to the same extent as with most criminal offenses.
What are the Penalties for a First-Time DUI?
The consequences of a first-time DUI conviction include the following:
- A minimum jail sentence of 10 consecutive days. While the jail sentence may not, under the statute, be waived, all but one day may be suspended on certain conditions.
- Suspension of your driver’s license for at least 90 days, although you may be able to obtain limited driving privileges after 30 days.
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, at your cost.
- A fine of at least $250.
- The possibility of being required to perform community restitution.
- Assessments totaling $1,000.
- Attendance and completion of approved driving school classes.
In addition to these court-ordered penalties, you can expect your auto insurance rates to skyrocket for several years.
What if I had a High BAC?
Even though this may be your first ever DUI, and perhaps your first and only brush with the law, being convicted of driving under the influence and having a high blood alcohol content (BAC) – 0.15 or more – can further enhance the penalties you face. The charge becomes extreme DUI, and you are then facing, among other things, additional jail time, higher assessments and fines, three years of probation, and a 90-day license suspension. If your BAC was 0.20 or higher, additional sentencing enhancements will apply.
Phoenix DUI Attorney
If you are facing a DUI charge, even with a spotless record, the consequences could be disastrous. In addition to jail time, financial penalties, higher insurance rates and more, your entire life would no doubt be turned upside down if you are convicted. To minimize the potential damage and provide yourself with the best chance of a dismissal, a reduced charge or a not guilty verdict, speak to an experienced Phoenix DUI lawyer today. Call The Feldman Law Firm for a free consultation.