Chandler DUI Lawyer

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CHANDLER DUI ATTORNEY

An arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) is a scary and stressful experience, and it is natural to wonder what penalties you could face if you are convicted of DUI. A seasoned Chandler DUI lawyer can help you make clearer sense of your situation, potentially help you avoid conviction, or, at the very least, mitigate the penalties assigned to you in sentencing.

It’s vital to contact reliable defense counsel quickly after an arrest for DUI. You have a limited time to react to this situation, and you must secure a legal representative as quickly as possible so they can immediately begin determining your most viable defenses.

A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an extremely serious matter in Chandler. Arizona is one of the few states where jail time is mandatory upon conviction, even for first-time offenders. Beyond jail, a conviction for an alcohol DUI will require an ignition interlock in your car. All DUI arrests in Arizona carry likely license suspension, extremely high fines, probation, and classes. The process is confusing, and the terms of probation can be so numerous that people fail to complete them.

When you risk losing your liberty because of an error in judgment or a false accusation by an officer, you need a top-notch DUI defense attorney from Grand Canyon Law Group to stand up for your rights. If you are facing charges for DUI, reach out to a Chandler DUI lawyer to provide the information and representation you need to overcome this challenge. En Español

WHAT IS A DUI?

There are many different bases and kinds of DUI in Arizona. Anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more is presumed to be a drunk driver and prosecuting them requires no other evidence of intoxication. However, DUI charges can fall under several classifications depending on the circumstances. The following are a few examples of the most commonly cited DUI offenses in the Chandler criminal court system.

MISDEMEANOR DUI

Although 0.08 percent is the legal threshold for a presumed DUI, this does not mean that anyone with a lower BAC is off the hook. A person may be charged with drinking and driving if their BAC is 0.05 percent or higher or the officer believes someone is under the influence of drugs, provided there is additional evidence of intoxication. This is why officers perform “Field Sobriety Tests (FST’s) on the scene. It is also why it is important to refuse to perform them. Regardless of which DUI in the following categories get charged, the prosecution almost always adds this impairment charge, saying that whatever was in the body impaired your ability to drive, at least “to the slightest degree.”

ALCOHOL DUI

In addition to the “impairment charge” or the accusation that a person was “impaired to the slightest degree,” there is almost always an additional charge for the level of the blood alcohol concentration or the existence of drugs in the system that resulted in the impairment. This gets charged in an additional count or counts as described below. The three levels DUI charges base on alcohol concentration are .08 (regular), .15 (extreme), and .20 (super-extreme or extreme).

.08 OR ABOVE

We often hear what is referred to as the “legal limit” for alcohol. In Arizona, the legal limit is.08 percent whether we are talking about blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or breath alcohol concentration (BrAC). Anything over.08 percent as a result for these tests is a violation of this part of the DUI statute. Strangely, it does not even require a showing by the state that the person was “impaired” as in the impairment charge. However, they are often done together, in which the prosecutor uses the impairment observations to support the blood or breath result.

A good Chandler DUI attorney will attack the accuracy of this test, whether blood or breath. This often involves an expert witness “toxicologist” who will discuss the problems with the crime lab and/or the particular test done.

It is important to note that there are special rules for drivers of commercial vehicles. They are presumed to be driving under the influence if their BAC is 0.04 percent or higher. For drivers under age 21, there is zero tolerance for combining alcohol use and operating a motor vehicle. The law presumes drivers under age 21 are driving under the influence when their BAC registers at any level above zero.

EXTREME AND SUPER EXTREME DUI

A driver with a BAC significantly higher than the legal limit could face misdemeanor charges with increased penalties. Extreme DUI charges are possible for drivers with a BAC between 0.15 percent and 0.199 percent. Driving with a BAC of 0.20 percent or higher could trigger a charge of Super Extreme DUI.

DRUG DUI

People are sometimes surprised to learn that they can be charged with DUI for having drugs in their body, even if prescribed by a doctor. The prosecutor will either say that the drugs are illegal, that you did not have a prescription, or that you did not take them as prescribed (too much, too often, drove in violation of the warnings).

We are seeing more and more DUI’s charged as a “drug DUI,” especially with the new Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. There is confusion by medical marijuana card holders, not knowing that the State can still charge the DUI if you have marijuana in your body. Even if you know you are not impaired by it, they may disagree. It is important to know that if you are pulled over and found to have marijuana in your system, those who have a medical marijuana card will have more defenses to use than those without. Drug DUI’s are still misdemeanors, unless one of the circumstances applies to make it a felony, as explained below.

FELONY DUI

Prosecutors may bring an aggravated drinking and driving charge when a driver is accused of any of the DUI’s above and is combined with other factors. Aggravated DUI is a felony charge. Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 28 §1383, establishes the following offenses that lift a drinking and driving violation from a misdemeanor to a felony:

  • Driving under the influence with a restricted, suspended, or revoked driver’s license
  • Conviction of a third DUI offense within 84 months
  • Going the wrong way on a street or highway while driving under the influence
  • Drunk driving with a person under age 15 in the vehicle
  • Causing injury to a person or damage to property while driving under the influence
  • Driving without an interlock device when one is required

Felony convictions for aggravated DUI have serious consequences, most notably mandatory prison time. However, at Grand Canyon Law Group we are sometimes able to obtain non-felony or alternative solutions to avoid prison. In addition, convictions result in other consequences, such as the loss of the right to vote or to own a gun. Employment may be affected, and people who hold professional licenses may face disciplinary action from licensing boards or lose their right to practice their profession. A lawyer in Chandler could negotiate solutions to try to preserve these important rights for a defendant during their DUI case.

FACING MULTIPLE CHARGES ON A SINGLE INDICTMENT

It is common for a DUI driver to be charged with multiple offenses based on the circumstances of their arrest, their conduct during a traffic stop, and many other possible variables. For example, if a driver is arrested for DUI when they had a minor child in their vehicle, they could face an additional charge of child endangerment. If they are combative with arresting officers, they are likely to face a charge of resisting arrest.

Facing multiple charges on a single indictment will significantly escalate the severity of the penalties the defendant could face if they are convicted. They will be less likely to be considered for plea bargaining, and their penalties for each charge will add up very quickly. Additionally, if they caused an accident resulting in great bodily harm or death, they could be charged with vehicular manslaughter and/or criminal negligence alongside their DUI charge.

Your Chandler DUI lawyer can be your most vital asset if you have been charged with multiple offenses from an arrest for DUI. They will review the details of your arrest, the police report from the arrest, and the various charges against you to assist you in determining your most viable defensive options. No matter what your case entails, the first steps you take immediately following arrest for DUI are crucial to your forthcoming proceedings.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS DURING A DUI ARREST IN CHANDLER

The Constitution of the United States includes several invaluable amendments, two of which come into play when you are arrested for a crime. Under the Fifth Amendment, you have the right to remain silent during an arrest. This means you are not required to answer any questions from the police, nor are you required to give a statement of any kind. Under the Sixth Amendment, you have the right to legal representation.

It is vital that you take full advantage of your right to remain silent until you can speak with an attorney. Comply with the arresting officer’s instructions and do not try to explain your way out of this situation; the police have no incentive to let you go, and attempting to talk your way out of an arrest is highly likely to backfire in various ways. Assume that anything you say will be taken out of context and used against you in later proceedings.

If you believe the police in Chandler have violated your rights during arrest and booking, you should notify your Chandler DUI lawyer as quickly as you can about your concerns. Depending on the severity of the violation, it could amount to grounds for having a case dismissed. The most common example of how this could happen is an arresting officer failing to read you your Miranda rights upon arrest.

DRUNK DRIVING OFFENSES HAVE SEVERE PENALTIES

A driver convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI or DUI) faces a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 days, even if the driver is a first offender. Upon conviction (and often even before), their driver’s license is suspended for at least 90 days. Conviction of Extreme or Super Extreme DUI requires incarceration of 30 and 45 days, respectively.

However, the law allows a judge to waive most of the mandatory jail time if the defendant undergoes a screening for alcohol abuse. Jail sentences can also be reduced or waived if the offender installs an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. A local attorney may use these strategies and other, such as home detention, to help defendants avoid incarceration following a DUI case.

It is important to understand that a conviction for Aggravated DUI carries a mandatory four-month minimum prison sentence, which may not be waived, and revocation of the offender’s driver’s license for a minimum of three years. However, we can often negotiate alternative outcomes to minimize custody. In addition, David Lish and Ryan McPhie are experienced trial attorneys. We are willing and able to make the highly technical defenses and arguments for your case to a jury in an attempt to earn a full acquittal or dismissal of your DUI charges.

A defendant facing a DUI charge in Chandler must also remember that the judge handling their sentencing may need to comply with mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, but they also have discretionary power to customize a defendant’s sentence as they deem appropriate. For example, they may decide that the defendant needs rehabilitation and require them to complete a substance abuse treatment program as an element of their sentence.

Defendants charged with DUI in Arizona must also remember that penalties for DUI increase if they have a record of past DUIs. It is also possible for a misdemeanor DUI to be automatically escalated to felony status due to past convictions. If you have been previously convicted of DUI, you could automatically face harsher penalties and will have a much harder time arguing for leniency in sentencing.

Your Chandler DUI lawyer can help you understand all the aggravating factors that could lead to enhanced penalties as well as the mitigating factors that could lead to leniency from the sentencing judge. Bear in mind that when a defendant has caused an accident resulting in injury or death while under the influence, they are likely to face the maximum penalties possible for the offense, along with civil liability for the damages they caused.

CIVIL DAMAGES FOR DUI ACCIDENTS

In Arizona, the driver at fault for causing a motor vehicle accident absorbs liability for the resulting damages. If they injure and/or inflict economic losses on another motorist, the injured party is likely to file a claim against their auto insurance policy to seek compensation for their losses. If insurance alone does not fully cover their damages, they can then file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for all remaining losses.

When a defendant in a personal injury case has broken the law in inflicting harm on a plaintiff, they face not only liability for the victim’s damages but also additional penalties such as punitive damages and/or restitution. The severity of the harm they caused will also be reflected in their criminal case and could lead to enhanced penalties. Your Chandler DUI lawyer can advise you as to what you can expect in terms of the extent of the penalties your DUI accident may entail.

If you are facing a personal injury suit and/or wrongful death claim from the victims of an accident you caused while under the influence, it will be essential to have defense representation on your side. The standard of proof in a civil claim for damages is a preponderance of the evidence, which is a much lower standard of proof than beyond a reasonable doubt. This means you could avoid conviction in criminal court but still be found liable in civil court.

Many civil claims for damages filed in Arizona are resolved privately through settlement negotiations. Pursuing a settlement with a plaintiff is the optimal way to minimize your legal expenses and resolve the matter efficiently, but this only works if both parties are willing to negotiate and compromise. Your defense attorney can provide invaluable guidance during this process and help you reach the fairest possible outcome.

PLEA BARGAINING IN A DUI CASE

While not available to all defendants, plea bargains can potentially help those offered these deals secure lighter sentencing and/or reduced charges in exchange for entering guilty pleas. A prosecutor who is convinced they have enough evidence to convict a defendant may offer a plea deal to conserve court resources. However, they may also offer a plea deal if they are unsure whether they can win in trial, hoping the defendant takes the deal and they secure a conviction.

If a plea bargain is offered in your case, your Chandler DUI lawyer can negotiate with the prosecution for you, helping you secure the optimal terms. If a plea bargain is not offered in your case, your attorney can still help by assisting you with arguing for the lightest possible sentence. Ultimately, no attorney can ever promise their client a specific outcome, but having reliable defense counsel on your side dramatically improves the chance of reaching a positive outcome.

BUILDING YOUR DEFENSE AGAINST A DUI CHARGE

In every criminal case, the prosecution must prove that the defendant is guilty; the defendant is not required to prove they are innocent. The criminal justice system in the United States functions on the premise that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a very high standard of proof. The prosecution will attempt to leverage evidence and testimony to prove there can be no doubt as to whether the defendant committed the crime.

It is your defense attorney’s job to prevent the prosecution from meeting this standard of proof. It’s possible for a defendant’s case to focus on asserting an affirmative defense that shows they could not have committed the crime, proving a mistake of fact or a mistake of law, or proving due process violations that have compromised the integrity of the prosecution’s case against them.

The defense counsel may also attack the credibility of the evidence the prosecution has presented or contend that the evidence is inadmissible. Proving a mistake of fact generally means proving problems with the prosecution’s evidence, showing that it does not prove what the prosecution claims it proves. Proving a mistake of law means showing that some procedural error has interfered with the integrity of the case.

If you are charged with DUI, but you were not intoxicated at the time of your arrest, a successful defense may entail proving that you were not actually under the influence when the arrest occurred. This will require a keen understanding of how BAC is measured and/or how various drugs metabolize in the body. An experienced Chandler DUI lawyer can be essential for making such arguments successfully.

Ultimately, you could have more defenses available to you than you initially realize, and the right attorney can help you make more informed decisions about your defensive options in this situation. If the prosecution cannot prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, you cannot be convicted.

WHY DO I NEED A CHANDLER DUI LAWYER?

It is vital to take full advantage of your constitutional right to legal counsel when you have been charged with DUI. Attempting to represent your own defense is unwise. The court will hold you to the same standard as an attorney, and the prosecution will not go easy on you for not having an attorney. The reality is that they are likely to attempt to take full advantage of the situation, and you will encounter challenges you will not be able to overcome on your own.

Having an experienced Chandler DUI lawyer on your side means you will have a reliable legal advocate ready to assist you with all aspects of your case. There are many phases to a criminal case, and it is vital to secure the defense counsel you need at the outset of these proceedings if you want to have the greatest chance of success in building a cohesive and effective defense.

Your Chandler DUI lawyer can help you secure evidence that you may be unable to obtain on your own. They can assist you in crafting compelling defensive arguments, prove mistakes of fact or mistakes of law on the part of the prosecution and/or arresting officers, and help you prove any due process violations or violations of your constitutional rights.

If you did commit the offense, your defense attorney can still help you by mitigating your penalties. They may be able to negotiate a plea deal for you, or you can look to them to help you emphasize mitigating factors in your case that may encourage the sentencing judge to consider leniency. For example, if you have a mental health condition and/or substance abuse disorder, your attorney can bring these issues to light in your courtroom proceedings.

The consequences of a DUI conviction in Arizona are far-reaching and exceed the scope of the penalties assigned to you by a judge. You will not only face various criminal penalties but also other effects that can negatively impact your life in various ways. For example, you could be dropped by your auto insurance carrier or face significantly higher premiums on your policy. You could also struggle to find work as you will have a visible criminal record.

The right Chandler DUI lawyer on your side means you can approach this difficult situation with greater confidence and peace of mind. The team at the Grand Canyon Law Group has years of professional experience in criminal defense, and we have successfully represented many past clients in DUI cases. We are prepared to leverage the extent of our experience, skills, and resources to handle your case.

PATROLLING FOR DUIS IN CHANDLER

Police officers often find locations like bars and restaurants that are common spots for intoxicated driving. They may watch people walk to their cars and follow them down the road, observing their behavior. If they feel the person is impaired or witness a driving violation, they will pull the driver over to investigate for DUI.

During a DUI investigation, the police may request a breath or field sobriety test. Knowing what to expect from a DUI stop can help drivers protect their rights and effectively navigate the situation.

CAN I BE ARRESTED FOR DUI IF I WASN’T DRIVING?

Suppose no one saw the allegedly impaired person driving. In that case, the state must prove that the person drove to that location or that they were about to drive the vehicle. The prosecution might look at whether the person was sitting in the driver’s seat, whether the keys were in the ignition, and whether the car was in drive.

In DUI cases where the car is stationary, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was in actual physical control of the vehicle. Our Chandler attorneys can further explain what constitutes “driving” in a DUI case and build a strong defense for the circumstances. For instance, we can argue that the state cannot prove the defendant was going to drive the vehicle. The person may have been resting in the car or waiting to call a ride.

INTOXICATED DRIVING OFF THE ROAD

Many people do not know that DUIs can occur off the road. Many intoxicated driving charges occur on boats, known as “operating under the influence” (OUI). Although many of these cases follow the same laws and penalties, there are some key differences.

For one, there is no MVD or ADOT portion for operating under the influence cases. The officers that enforce OUIs are generally less experienced at handling DUI investigations, so there are often many opportunities for defense. Those facing intoxicating driving charges on the water should consult our Chandler attorneys on what to know about their cases.

SEEK HELP FROM A CHANDLER DUI ATTORNEY

A drunk driving arrest could cost you thousands of dollars for taking time off work, securing alternate transportation for a suspended license, and facing increased insurance premiums. You also face the threat of incarceration. With so much at stake, skilled legal counsel is necessary. You must act quickly if you are arrested for DUI in Chandler, taking your first opportunity to reach out to a defense lawyer you trust with your case.

When you face allegations of intoxicated driving, it may be your first encounter with the legal system. These cases involve many legal nuances that can be difficult to navigate without representation from an experienced attorney.

Understanding your rights as a driver is important, especially when you are pulled over. However, nothing can replace legal counsel from an experienced attorney when facing DUI charges. In this situation, it is best to consult a lawyer as early as possible to prepare for the proceedings and build a strong defense against the allegations.

Grand Canyon Law Group is here to explain what to know about DUIs in Chandler to navigate the legal proceedings effectively.

A Chandler DUI lawyer from Grand Canyon Law Group will help you work toward the best resolution for your specific circumstances. Every situation is different, so call today to schedule a case review.

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