You got pulled over in Phoenix, you blew above the legal limit, and you got arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). You decided to drink and drive, and you got caught. There is no excuse for what you did, and, as far as you can tell, you do not have a defense. So, is it worth it to hire a DUI lawyer? Or, is it simply time to accept the consequences of your mistake?
Before we talk about your options, let’s talk about what is at stake. In Arizona, DUI is treated as a serious offense. You could be facing anywhere from days to months of mandatory jail time; your driver’s license could be in jeopardy; and you could be facing fines, probation, and various other penalties as well. Certain DUI charges are felonies under Arizona law. Some are “forever felonies,” which means that they can subject you to enhanced penalties if you are ever charged with another felony offense of any kind.
In short, the consequences of a DUI conviction are serious, and they can impact virtually all aspects of your life for years – if not decades – to come. It would be best if you kept this in mind when deciding how to approach your DUI case.
7 Ways a DUI Defense Lawyer Can Help You If You Were Driving Drunk
While it might seem like all hope is lost, the reality is that there are several ways a DUI defense lawyer can help you regardless of the facts of your case. Due to the substantial consequences, you could face if you get convicted, you owe it to yourself to speak with a lawyer even if you believe you are guilty.
Here are seven ways a DUI defense lawyer can help you even if you blew above the legal limit during your DUI traffic stop in Phoenix, AZ:
1. Determining if You are Actually Guilty
First and foremost, while you might think you are guilty, Arizona law might say otherwise. The Arizona Statutes establish various DUI offenses, and each is comprised of its own unique set of “elements.” If even one element is lacking, then you are not guilty of the crime alleged. Furthermore, various factual issues can call your guilt into question. For example, even if you blew above the legal limit, it could be the case that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rose after you got pulled over and you were not over the limit when you were driving.
2. Determining if the Police Conducted Your Traffic Stop Appropriately
When the police conduct a DUI traffic stop in Arizona, they must observe various statutory and constitutional requirements. If the officer who arrested you violated the law, then the state’s evidence against you may be legally inadmissible. This could be the case, for example, if you were stopped without reasonable suspicion (i.e., you were racially profiled) or if the arresting officer failed to follow the requisite procedures for performing the field sobriety tests (FSTs) or administering the breathalyzer.
3. Determining if the Your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Reading is Reliable
Just because you blew 0.08 or above, this does not necessarily mean that you were over the legal limit. There are various issues that can render BAC readings unreliable. From improper calibration of the breathalyzer device to contamination of your breath sample, an experienced DUI defense lawyer will be able to assess multiple potential grounds for challenging the reliability of your BAC reading.
4. Examining the Facts of Your Case to Determine What Defenses You Can Assert
In addition to issues with your DUI traffic stop and breath test, there are various other issues that can serve as defenses to DUI charges in Arizona as well. When evaluating your case, your DUI defense lawyer will examine all of the relevant facts regarding the specific offense with which you have been charged. For example, if you were charged with an aggravated DUI, your attorney will be able to review the facts of your case to determine if they actually support an aggravated DUI charge under Arizona law.
5. Examining the Post-Arrest Procedures to Determine if the Police Violated Your Rights
Just as the police can violate your rights before and during your arrest, they can violate your rights after your arrest as well. One of the most common issues in this regard is the failure to timely read a suspect’s Miranda rights. To interrogate you in custody, the police must first inform you of your right to remain silent and your right to counsel (among others). If they fail to do so, then it is possible that any statements you make could be deemed inadmissible in court.
6. Challenging the Sufficiency of the Prosecution’s Evidence of Guilt
When facing a DUI charge, it is important to remember that the prosecution has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Even if there is no question that you were drunk behind the wheel, if the prosecutor’s office does not have the evidence to prove it, then you have the opportunity to avoid a conviction. An experienced DUI defense lawyer will be able to critically examine the prosecution’s evidence (or lack thereof) and build a defense strategy focused on convincing the judge or jury that the prosecution cannot meet its burden of proof.
7. Arguing for a Reduced Sentence (if Necessary)
Finally, if it is not possible to avoid a conviction given the circumstances of your case, your attorney will still be able to help you by arguing for a reduced sentence. This may involve negotiating a plea bargain, or it may involve working to convince the judge that leniency is warranted.
Discuss Your Case with a Phoenix DUI Defense Lawyer at The Weingart Firm
Arrested for DUI in Phoenix? Do not make the mistake of assuming you will be found guilty in court. To discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer at The Weingart Firm in confidence, call 480-405-7922 or request a free consultation online now.