You were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Arizona. Do you need a DUI lawyer? Or, can you successfully handle your case on your own? These are questions that many people ask in the immediate aftermath of a DUI arrest; and, while it is good to ask questions, it is also important to understand the reality of the situation at hand.
In Arizona, facing a DUI charge is an extremely serious matter. Many DUI charges are felony-level offenses, and a conviction can be truly life-changing. Once you get out of jail, your driver’s license will still be suspended; you will have fines and other costs that you still have to pay, and, most importantly, you will have a criminal conviction on your permanent record. This will make many aspects of your life far more complicated than they used to be, and it can have financial ramifications that make your criminal fines pale in comparison.
7 Reasons to Hire a DUI Lawyer for Your Arizona DUI Case
So, do you need to hire a lawyer for your Arizona DUI case? While many people worry about the cost of hiring an attorney, the simple fact of the matter is that what you truly cannot afford is to make the mistake of trying to handle your case on your own. Here are seven reasons why you must hire a DUI defense attorney to represent you:
Reason #1: Arizona Law Imposes Harsh Penalties for DUI
As we mentioned already, the penalties for a DUI conviction in Arizona are substantial. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.15 percent or above, you would likely be charged with an “extreme DUI” or a “super extreme DUI” (if your BAC was above 0.20 percent). These crimes carry minimum jail sentences of 30 days and 45 days, respectively; and, if convicted, you will face a variety of other penalties as well. Even if your BAC was below 0.15 percent, you are still facing possible jail time, fines, alcohol education or treatment, community service, driver’s license suspension, and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) at your expense. If you are a repeat offender, then the penalties are even more severe.
Reason #2: The Collateral Consequences of a DUI Conviction Can Be Substantial
In addition to the penalties the judge imposes in your DUI case, a conviction will result in collateral consequences that will impact your life long after your sentence is over. Some examples of these collateral consequences include:
- Loss of eligibility for many careers, education, and housing opportunities
- Temporary or permanent loss of your commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Professional licensing action
- Immigration consequences (including possible deportation or removal)
- Travel restrictions
Regardless of your age, your occupation, and your financial status, a DUI conviction is something that you need to try to avoid at all costs. Fortunately, hiring an experienced DUI defense lawyer costs less than many people assume, and paying an attorney to represent you now can result in substantial savings down the line.
Reason #3: There are Many Common Misconceptions about DUI Cases in Arizona
In addition to misconceptions about the costs of hiring an attorney, there are many other common misconceptions about facing DUI charges in Arizona as well. For example, did you know that the police are not necessarily required to read your Miranda rights? Did you know that you can lose your license for refusing to consent to a breath test and that there are several potential ways to challenge the validity of your BAC reading? For more information, you can read 6 Myths About Facing a DUI Charge in Arizona.
Reason #4: There Are Many Potential Defenses to DUI Allegations in Arizona
Challenging the validity of your BAC reading is one of many potential defenses to DUI allegations in Arizona. To determine what defenses you can use to fight your DUI charge, you will need to work with an experienced attorney who can apply the law to the specific facts of your case. Did the arresting officer violate your Constitutional rights? Did he or she administer the breathalyzer or field sobriety tests (FSTs) improperly? Did you lack “actual physical control” of your vehicle? These are just a few examples of numerous issues that can provide a complete defense to DUI.
Reason #5: You May Be Able to Protect Your Driver’s License
After a DUI arrest in Arizona, you will lose your driver’s license automatically—unless you take the necessary steps to protect it. This is true even if you have been wrongly accused. The driver’s license suspension portion of your case is handled by the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) and is entirely separate from your criminal court proceeding. To protect your driver’s license while your case is pending, you must request an administrative hearing with the MVD within 15 days.
Reason #6: There are Attorneys on the Other Side
Regardless of whether you hire an attorney, there will be attorneys on the other side of your case. The local prosecutors will be working hard to convict you, and they will not go easy on you because you choose not to engage legal representation.
Reason #7: You Only Get One Chance to Protect Your Future
Ultimately, the most important reason to hire an attorney for your DUI case in Arizona is that you only get one chance to protect your future. While there are grounds for challenging a DUI conviction, these grounds are limited, and they are not available in all cases. With all that you have at stake, you should be taking any unnecessary chances, and you should be relying on the advice and representation of an experienced DUI defense attorney.
Schedule a Free Consultation With DUI Attorney at The Weingart Firm in Phoenix or Tempe, AZ
Are you facing a DUI charge in Phoenix or Tempe, AZ? If so, we strongly encourage you to contact us for a free initial consultation about your case. To speak with a DUI attorney at The Weingart Firm as soon as possible, call 480-405-7922 or request an appointment online now.