It is the holiday season, so the police are out in full force monitoring the roads for drunk drivers. Drunk driving accidents peak during the holidays; and, to prevent as many accidents as they can, the police arrest as many drunk drivers as possible.
If you get a DUI during the holidays, you must make intelligent decisions. A drunk driving conviction can have a lifetime of consequences, so you cannot ignore your DUI simply because it is the holiday season.
5 Important Facts About Facing a Holiday DUI in Arizona
Are you facing a holiday DUI in Arizona? If so, here are five important facts you need to know:
1. You Cannot Ignore Your DUI Because It Is the Holiday Season
As we just discussed, you cannot ignore your DUI because it is the holiday season. Like most businesses, the Arizona Courts are only closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day (or, since Christmas Day is on Sunday this year, the following Monday). Otherwise, court operations continue during the holidays as scheduled—including all DUI-related proceedings.
When you are facing a DUI in Arizona, missing your court date can have serious consequences, and traveling for the holidays is not an excuse. You need to prioritize your DUI defense—even if this means altering your holiday travel plans this year.
2. The Judge Won’t Go Easy On You Because It Is the Holiday Season
You cannot expect the judge to go easy on you because it is the holiday season. Simply put, the judge doesn’t care if Christmas or Hanukkah is right around the corner. Arizona’s judges take DUI cases very seriously and will not hesitate to impose steep penalties if warranted.
So, if you are hoping for a holiday miracle, it is time for a reality check. This isn’t going to happen. If you want to avoid unnecessary consequences as a result of your DUI, you need to hire an experienced defense lawyer to represent you in court.
3. Understanding What Is At Risk in Your Arizona DUI Case Can Be Complicated
While all DUI charges carry potential fines and jail time in Arizona (along with other penalties), some DUI charges present greater risks than others. For example, if you are being charged with an aggravated DUI or extreme DUI, you could be facing fines and costs in excess of $5,000 and a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days or longer (for extreme DUI only). If you have a prior DUI within the past seven years, you are facing enhanced penalties as a repeat offender.
While substantial fines and jail time can be life-changing, they are just two of the consequences that can result from a DUI conviction. Other penalties you may be facing include the following:
- Driver’s license suspension
- Insurance surcharges (which can also add up to thousands of dollars)
- Community restitution
- Mandatory traffic safety education
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
With a DUI conviction on your record, you may find it more difficult to land a job, secure financing, or find housing. If you are in school (or are thinking about returning to school), your DUI could also negatively impact your education. These are reasons not to ignore your DUI in favor of celebrating the holidays.
4. There Are Several Ways to Fight a DUI Charge in Arizona
Another reason not to ignore your DUI is that you could have a variety of defenses available. There are several ways to fight a DUI charge—from creating reasonable doubt as to whether you were drinking and driving to fighting to keep the prosecution’s evidence out of court. For example, depending on the facts of your case, some of the defenses an experienced DUI lawyer may be able to assert on your behalf include the following:
- You were using your car, truck, or SUV as a “temporary shelter”
- You were not driving a “vehicle” as defined in Arizona’s DUI law
- The police violated your constitutional rights during or after your DUI stop
- Your breath test or field sobriety test (FST) results are unreliable
- There is an alternate explanation for your driving behavior or high blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
Again, these are just examples. You may have other options for fighting your holiday DUI charge as well. But the key is that you need to fight—if you have defenses and you don’t assert them, you will unnecessarily expose yourself to the life-altering consequences of a DUI conviction.
5. There Are Also Several Ways Prosecutors Can Win a DUI Conviction
While there are several ways to fight a DUI charge in Arizona, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that there are also several ways prosecutors can win a DUI conviction. For example, under Arizona’s DUI laws, prosecutors can secure a conviction if your BAC is over the legal limit or your driving abilities are impaired. They do not need to prove both. If your BAC is 0.08 percent or above (if you are over 21), then you can be convicted regardless of whether or not you were swerving all over the road. Likewise, if you were swerving all over the road, this alone could be enough for prosecutors to secure a conviction even if you are able to successfully challenge your BAC reading.
In short, if you are facing a DUI during the Arizona holidays, you must take your case seriously. Ignoring your case so you can enjoy the holidays with your friends and family isn’t worth it. You need to do everything you can to protect your freedom and future, and you need to fight with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.
Contact Us To Discuss Your Arizona DUI Case for Free
Are you facing a holiday DUI in Arizona? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly to discuss your defense. For a free and confidential consultation with an experienced DUI defense lawyer at The Weingart Firm, call 480-405-7922 or request an appointment online today.