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  DUI FAQ - Charge Explanation  
  1. Can I represent myself? What can an attorney do for me?
  2. You can represent yourself, but this is rarely done and not recommended. D.U.I. is a very complex area of law with increasingly harsh consequences. There are many complicated procedural, evidentiary, constitutional, sentencing and administrative license issues. An experienced D.U.I. attorney can review the case for defects, suppress evidence, compel discovery of such things as calibration and maintenance records for the breath machine, have blood samples independently analyzed, negotiate for a lesser charge or reduced sentence, obtain expert witnesses for trial, contest the administrative license suspension or challenge your case in other ways. All cases are different so it's important to see an attorney as soon as possible to assist you with your specific facts and questions.

  3. What are police officers look for when searching for DUI drivers?
  4. Police officers are driving and parked near establishments or by events (sporting) that serve alcohol. They look for cars that have a driving pattern based on research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to justify stopping a vehicle for minor traffic infractions, especially when done at night.

  5. If I am stopped by a police officer, what should I say?
  6. You are not required to answer incriminating questions such as "I have been drinking." However, you should be polite and ask the police officer why you were stopped. Also, a good answer is that "I would like to talk with a lawyer." Remember if you do answer to be honest as this goes to your creditability and could be very important later in your defense.

  7. When do I have a right to a lawyer?
  8. You have a right to speak with a lawyer as soon as practical upon being arrested or before deciding whether to submit to chemical testing as long as it does not unreasonably dely the timing of the alcohol test.

  9. When you are asked by the police officer to take a field sobriety test?
  10. It is best to refuse all the field sobriety tests, the portable breath test and immediately ask for a phone call to your lawyer several times: when being questioned, upon being arrested and before deciding whether to submit to any alcohol testing.

  11. The police officer never read me "Miranda" rights - will my case be dismissed?
  12. The police officer is only required to read you the Miranda Warning after he arrests you and asks you incriminating questions. Sometimes, however, they do not and then the consequence is generally that the evidence is generally suppressed and cannot be used.

  13. Do I have any say of which alcohol tests to take?
  14. No, in Arizona the police officer gets to decide for you: breath, blood or urine and can also decide that you do one or more tests. If you refuse at any time and for any test sample, you can still lose your driver's license. This is why you should ask to speak to a lawyer.

  15. Should I agree to submit to an alcohol test and if I do not what can happen?
  16. In Arizona there could be consequences for refusing to submit to a blood, breath or urine test in a twelve-month of your driver's license suspension from Motor Vehicle Department and may even occur if you win the DUI case. Additionally, in your DUI case the fact of your refusal can be introduced into evidence of "guilt" in your criminal court case.

    The decision is one of weighing the likelihood of a high blood-alcohol reading against the consequences for refusing and your individual past driving record.

  17. What is "mouth alcohol?"
  18. "Mouth alcohol" refers to the existence of any alcohol around the mouth and can result in falsely high test reading as the breath machine assumes that the breath is only from the lungs. Thus, even a tiny amount of alcohol breathed directly into the machine from the mouth instead of from the lungs can have a significant impact on the alcohol test reading. This mouth alcohol can be caused by belching, burping, hiccupping, or vomiting before taking the alcohol test from any alcoholic beverages still unabsorbed in the stomach. Also, taking a mouth wash containing alcohol (Binaca) or other products also contain alcohol.

  19. The police officer took my driver's license and gave me a pink and yellow copy of an Admin Per Se as a temporary license?
  20. In Arizona the law is for the Arizona driver's license to be confiscated and sent to the MVD if the breath test result is above the legal limit (0.08%) or if you refuse to blow. CAUTION: See the MVD section as you must request an M.V.D. hearing within 15 days you were served with a suspension notice. Otherwise, your suspension begins automatically after the 15th day passes.

    Note: Arizona MVD only takes action against out-of-state driver's license in regards to your privilege to use your driver's license in Arizona. Any action taken on your out-of-state driver's license will be one by your issuing home state.

  21. Is jail required if convicted of a DUI?
  22. There is mandatory jail time required if you are convicted of any DUI in Arizona. The amount of time is dependant on what type of DUI conviction in involved and the facts in your case. (See Resources - DUI Penalty Chart).

  23. Some other potential problems you may face from a DUI?
  24. Employment - some employers may require that you inform them of any criminal conviction. This is especially true if you drive for your company.

    Insurance - a suspension or conviction could result in your employer paying higher car insurance rates and the process through MVD also could affect your insurance rates. Licensing boards - a criminal conviction could affect any governmental license you hold. Each board requires their own notification process for certain arrests and criminal conviction that need to be followed to avoid or limit any suspension or potential loss of your license.

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Ph (602) 476-9669  •  Fax (480) 284-8945

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