The DUI Process in AZ
Explained by a Phoenix DUI Lawyer
If you have recently been arrested for driving under the influence in the Phoenix, Arizona area, then it is important to understand the DUI process. Understanding and adhering to the proper procedure can significantly benefit your case. Although this is not a comprehensive explanation of the process, it can serve to be a helpful general overview.
The police stop is where understanding the DUI process begins. Before a person can be arrested for driving under the influence, they must be lawfully stopped by a law enforcement official. Many cases can actually be outright dismissed due to proof of an unlawful police stop. A law enforcement official must a legitimate reason to pull you over and must state that reason to you. Some examples of legitimate reasons for stops include: sobriety checkpoints, swerving, light not on or speeding.
If you were pulled over lawfully and the law enforcement official is suspicious of your sobriety, you will then be asked to submit to field sobriety tests. The three most common standardized field sobriety tests are the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the one-leg stand and the walk and turn test. Failing these tests can result in being arrested for DUI and then being asked to submit to a breath or blood test. Only after being lawfully arrested are you required to submit to a breath or blood test. Due to Arizona's implied consent laws, refusal to take a breath or blood test can result in automatic license suspension.
Scheduling an MVD Hearing
So what do you do if your license is suspended? In the state of Arizona, you only have 15 days to request a license hearing with the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD). This is the administrative hearing that deals strictly with your right to drive, rather than your criminal hearing.
If a person fails to request this hearing within the 15-day time limit, then they forego their right to challenge their license suspension and their license will go into automatic suspension at that time. After an arrest, you will be issued a temporary permit to drive until your license is either permanently suspended or you secure an MVD hearing. Your temporary permit will be good until you have your MVD hearing, at which point a final decision regarding your driving privileges will be made.
The Criminal Hearing
Since driving under the influence of alcohol is actually a criminal offense, a conviction can result in a mark on your criminal record. At the criminal hearing, your charges will be read and explained to you. You will then be asked how you plea. At this point, you have the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. In some DUI cases, defendants may be offered a plea deal which can include pleading guilty in exchange for a lightened sentence or successful completion of probation.
Our Phoenix DUI Lawyers Can Help You Learn More
For counsel as to your particular case, please consult a DUI attorney from our firm directly. Only an attorney who is intimately aware of your case should advise you how to act in a criminal hearing. At the criminal hearing, the evidence against you may be evaluated, such as breath test evidence and law enforcement testimony.
To combat this evidence and secure a strong defense, contact a Phoenix DUI lawyer from Knowles Law Firm, PLC today.
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