What is DUI Arrest?
DUI arrest refers to the legal action taken when a person is caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It involves being apprehended by law enforcement, subjected to testing, and potentially facing legal consequences for impaired driving.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Mesa, Arizona. If you are in the unfortunate situation of being arrested for a DUI, it’s crucial to understand the process and the potential consequences. This article will walk you through what to expect when you’re arrested for a DUI in Mesa, from the traffic stop to life after a DUI conviction.
The DUI Arrest Process
The Traffic Stop
Typically, a DUI arrest begins with a traffic stop. A police officer may pull you over for a traffic violation, erratic driving, or at a DUI checkpoint. The officer will ask for your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance, and they will observe your behavior for signs of impairment.
Field Sobriety Tests
If the officer suspects you are under the influence, they may ask you to perform field sobriety tests (FSTs). These tests assess your balance, coordination, and ability to follow instructions. FSTs are not always accurate but can provide probable cause for a DUI arrest.
After FSTs, the officer may administer a breathalyzer test to measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A BAC of 0.08% or higher in Arizona is considered legally impaired. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test can result in an automatic license suspension.
Arrest and Booking
If the officer determines that you are under the influence, you will be arrested and taken to the police station for booking. This process includes fingerprinting, photographing, and possibly a blood test to determine your BAC.
DUI Charges and Penalties
In Mesa, the penalties for a first-time DUI conviction can include jail time, fines, community service, license suspension, and mandatory alcohol education or treatment. The severity of the penalties depends on your BAC and the specific circumstances of your arrest.
For repeat offenders, the penalties are more severe and can include longer jail sentences, higher fines, and longer license suspensions. Additionally, your vehicle may be impounded, and you may be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your car.
Navigating the Legal Process
Hiring a DUI Attorney
Hiring a skilled DUI attorney to help you navigate the legal process is essential. An experienced lawyer can examine the evidence, identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and provide advice on the best course of action. Contact Robert P. Jarvis Law at 1423 S Higley Rd #112, Mesa, AZ 85206, for the best representation.
Your attorney may file pre-trial motions to challenge the legality of the traffic stop, the administration of the field sobriety tests, or the accuracy of the breathalyzer test. Successful pre-trial motions can lead to the dismissal of your case or the suppression of key evidence.
Sometimes, your attorney may negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. A plea bargain is an agreement in which you plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence. This can help you avoid the risks and uncertainties of a trial.
If your case goes to trial, your attorney will present evidence and argue on your behalf. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving under the influence. If the jury finds you not guilty, you will be acquitted of the charges. If found guilty, the judge will impose a sentence based on the severity of the offense and any prior convictions.
Life After a DUI Conviction
Reinstating Your Driver’s License
After a DUI conviction, you may need to complete certain requirements before your driver’s license can be reinstated. These requirements may include attending alcohol education or treatment programs, installing an IID, or obtaining SR-22 insurance.
DUI Education and Treatment
DUI education and treatment programs aim to reduce the risk of future DUI offenses. These programs can help you understand the dangers of impaired driving, develop coping strategies, and address any underlying substance abuse issues.
Employment and Insurance Consequences
A DUI conviction can impact your employment opportunities, as some employers may hesitate to hire someone with a criminal record. Additionally, your auto insurance premiums will likely increase significantly after a DUI conviction.
Being arrested for a DUI in Mesa can be a stressful and life-changing experience. Understanding the process and potential consequences can help you make informed decisions and navigate the legal system. If you’re facing a DUI charge, contact RPJarvislaw to discuss your options and ensure the best possible outcome. Don’t hesitate to visit our office at 1423 S Higley Rd #112, Mesa, AZ 85206.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the legal BAC limit in Arizona?
The legal BAC limit in Arizona is 0.08% for drivers aged 21 and older. The limit for commercial drivers is 0.04%, and for drivers under 21, any alcohol in the system is considered illegal.
- Can I refuse a breathalyzer test in Mesa?
You can refuse a breathalyzer test, but doing so will result in an automatic license suspension. Additionally, your refusal can be used against you in court as evidence of impairment.
- How long will a DUI conviction stay on my record in Arizona?
A DUI conviction will remain on your criminal record permanently. However, the impact on your driving record and insurance rates may decrease over time.
- Can I get a restricted license after a DUI conviction?
You may sometimes be eligible for a restricted license after a DUI conviction. This license allows you to drive to and from work, school, or treatment programs during your license suspension period.
- How much does it cost to hire a DUI attorney?
The cost of hiring a DUI attorney varies depending on the complexity of your case and the attorney’s experience. Discussing fees upfront and choosing an attorney offering a transparent fee structure is essential. Remember that investing in a skilled DUI attorney can save you money in the long run by reducing fines, jail time, and other penalties.
- What is an ignition interlock device (IID)?
An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breathalyzer installed in your vehicle. Before starting the engine, you must blow into the device to measure your BAC. If your BAC is above the preset limit, the engine will not start. IIDs are designed to prevent repeat DUI offenses.
- Can a DUI conviction be expunged from my record in Arizona?
Arizona does not offer expungement for DUI convictions. However, in some cases, you may be eligible for a “set aside,” which can lessen the impact of the conviction on your record. Consult with a DUI attorney to discuss your options for a set-aside.
- How long does a DUI trial typically take?
The length of a DUI trial can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the court’s schedule. Generally, a DUI trial may last anywhere from one day to several weeks.
- Can I be charged with a DUI under the legal BAC limit?
You can still be charged with a DUI if you are under the legal BAC limit but show signs of impairment. In Arizona, driving while impaired to the slightest degree is illegal, regardless of your BAC.
- What are the penalties for driving with a suspended license after a DUI conviction?
Driving with a suspended license after a DUI conviction can result in additional criminal charges, fines, and an extended suspension period. It’s crucial to comply with the terms of your license suspension to avoid further penalties.