Millions of people flock to Arizona each year to enjoy the state's warm weather, beautiful landscapes, and numerous attractions. Arizona's tourism industry has grown exponentially over the years, attracting all demographics of people - from the snowbirds to year-round visitors - to take a trip to the desert for vacation. However, with the rapidly increasing number of people who visit the state, comes the heightened likelihood of visitors experiencing run-ins with the state's law enforcement, which give out numerous DUIs each year to state residents and visitors alike.
Being charged with a DUI in any state is scary. But with Arizona's infamously stringent impaired driving enforcement and penalties, you may have to face more severe penalties in this state then you would encounter in your hometown. If you have recently been apprehended and charged with a DUI in Arizona and are a resident of another state, you are probably concerned about the legal processes you'll undergo and the repercussions you are likely to face if convicted. For the purposes of this article, we'll address what to do after an arrest and the possible Arizona penalties you could possibly face if convicted.
After an Arrest
Most people fail to realize that the steps taken immediately after an arrest make all the difference in the outcome of a DUI case. Although being arrested in a place that you are not familiar with may be frightening, it's important that you make smart decisions that could potentially make the process easier for you. The following two tips are items for consideration when issued an out-of-state DUI.
The only people who truly know what transpired are you and the arresting officer. Law enforcement officials are required to fill out a police report explaining their reason for pulling you over, the roadside field tests you underwent, your legal blood alcohol content level upon arrest, whether or not you were compliant, etc. This is why it's crucial that you keep your composure and try to remember as many details as you can so that later you can document all the events that happened before, during, and after an arrest. No detail is too minuscule to include in your written account of what happened. In fact, the seemingly small details in the case could make the largest difference. Remember, a police report is an officer's perceived version of events unless you document your own, their account is the only account of events that a court will use to determine if you are either guilty or innocent.
You Have The Right to an Attorney
As with any other state you are arrested in, you have the right to an attorney. Many people decide not to take advantage of this right due to the common misconception that hiring a lawyer is a waste of money. This perception, however, could not be further from the truth. Hiring an attorney is proven to be beneficial in a variety of ways. A skilled lawyer will be able to explain processes and alternatives in a fashion that will make Arizona's complex DUI system seem less complicated. In addition to helping you understand state law, an attorney's sole purpose is to protect your rights. If you have indeed documented everything that happened when you were arrested and you disclose this information to an attorney, he or she will be able to indicate whether your rights were violated, and assess whether an arrest was lawful. And if you're still on the fence about hiring a lawyer, many offer free consultations. There's no harm in at least consulting with some of these legal professionals to weigh your options and discuss your chances of getting charges significantly reduced or completely dismissed.
Penalties for Out of State Drivers
In the event that you are convicted of a DUI in Arizona, you will most likely be facing relatively harsh penalties from both the state of Arizona and the Department of Motor Vehicles located in your home state. A DUI conviction in Arizona will inevitably follow you back to your home and will be included in any habitual offender tracking system or a license suspension/revocation point system in your state.
The most devastating reality about acquiring a DUI in the state of Arizona are the laws that dictate mandatory jail time. Since any variation of a DUI conviction (even a first offense DUI in the slightest degree) in Arizona results in time spent in county jail, offenders are required to serve that time.
State residents have an advantage over visitors when convicted of a DUI. Occasionally they are granted work release alternatives that allow those convicted to keep their day jobs. However, an attorney may be able to wager with the courts for an arrangement that would allow you to complete a jail term in your home state. But It would be your responsibility to find a jail that will accept you in your state, which is much easier said than done. Many factors, such as overpopulation, make finding a jail to serve time in a difficult task.
Installation of Ignition Interlock Device
Even first time DUI convictions warrant the installation of an ignition interlock device in the state of Arizona. After completing a mandated license suspension of 90 days, this mechanism will be installed in your vehicle before you will be able to drive again.
Experienced Arizona DUI Attorneys
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Shawn B. Hamp understand that being charged with a DUI is scary, especially when it is acquired in a place that isn't your home state. It may seem as if the cards are stacked against you, but with the assistance of an attorney, you could maximize your chances to get your charges reduced and possibly dismissed. You do not have to plead guilty. Contact the Law Offices of Shawn B. Hamp today for a consultation.