DUI Criminal Defense Attorney

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Top Phoenix criminal defense lawyer Belén Olmedo Guerra is dedicated to defending those accused or charged with criminal offenses across the state of Arizona, including DUI defense. From first-offense misdemeanor DUI cases to felony drunk driving and Extreme DUIs to Super Extreme DUIs in Arizona, Belén has you covered.

A DUI of any kind can be embarrassing and devastating to those charged, affecting both personal and professional lives. This is not to mention the criminal penalties that come with such a charge. That is why you need an advocate to give you straight-forward advice and aggressive DUI defense representation in Phoenix AZ. This is exactly what you’ll get when you hire Belén Olmedo Guerra. She’s handled hundreds of DUI cases over the years, meaning you’ll get the DUI defense representation that only comes with skilled and experienced DUI lawyers. The Phoenix DUI lawyers at Belén Law Firm will use their knowledge of DUI defense law to analyze the facts of your case to ensure that all of the applicable defenses are timely raised on your behalf.

Phoenix DUI lawyer

Arizona DUI Process

The DUI process in Phoenix AZ is complex, and you will likely have questions following your drunk driving arrest. This is where having an experienced DUI lawyer in Phoenix can make a positive difference in your case. Belén Olmedo Guerra will set aside time to answer all of your questions and to discuss your options and defenses to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

If you or a loved one is facing consequences for a DUI, you are probably wondering: is a DUI a criminal offense? Or is it more of a traffic violation? We don’t think of the majority of traffic violations as criminal offenses. Traffic violations include things like parking infractions, speeding, or broken tail lights. These are offenses many of us may inadvertently commit multiple times over the course of our driving lives.

But what about DUI? Is a DUI a criminal offense? The short answer is yes, but the long answer is more complicated than that. There are different levels of DUI, and different criminal penalties for defendants. In this post, a knowledgeable attorney from our Phoenix criminal defense law firm will answer your questions about DUIs in Phoenix AZ, as well as the penalties and possible defenses involved.

What is a DUI in Arizona?

DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” Arizona law prohibits anyone from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any type of prescription drug. DUI laws make it illegal to use a car, truck, street bike, or commercial vehicle if:

  • Alcohol, illegal drugs, prescribed medications, or over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines impair the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle, OR
  • The driver experiences intoxication above DUI standards. This usually involves blood alcohol content or BAC. The BAC limit in Arizona is .08.

In Arizona, you may also hear this offense called a DWI, which means “driving while intoxicated.” Let’s talk briefly about the difference between DUI vs. DWI.

What’s the Difference Between DUI and DWI in Arizona?

There are really more similarities than differences between the two. If we’re going to answer the question “is a DUI a criminal offense?” in Arizona, then we have to address DWIs, as well. First of all, both DUIs and DWIs are criminal offenses and both have pretty severe penalties in Arizona. In addition, both involve alcohol and/or drugs paired with driving a vehicle. The biggest difference is that DUI refers to behavior, while DWI is about blood alcohol content.

In some states, DUI and DWI are interchangeable. In Arizona, they are completely separate charges. Though both are serious criminal offenses, a DWI is more serious because the state can prosecute it more easily. In a DWI charge, the state often has evidence of a specific blood alcohol content to use in court.

For example, a man with a high alcohol tolerance may do some drinking with his friends at a bar. He obeys the rules of the road perfectly on his way home, but gets into an accident that was not his fault. The officer on the scene administers a Breathalyzer. The man’s BAC is .09. This man would have a DWI. He was not endangering anyone with his driving, so he won’t receive a driving under the influence charge. Rather, since his BAC was above the legal limit, he will be charged with a DWI.

Arizona DUI Penalties

DUI penalties often depend on a few different variables. However, they mostly hinge on the driver’s BAC as well as their number of prior convictions. Below, we’ll break down potential penalties by the number of DUI offenses, as well as by blood alcohol content.

First DUI Offense in Arizona

For a BAC between the legal limit of .08 and .149, a defendant can face up to 10 days in jail, as well as fines totaling nearly $1500. The state could suspend your license for up to 90 days. You could also end up with an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car for 6 months to a year. An IID is a device that does not allow your car to start until you take a Breathalyzer test and pass it.

For a BAC between .15 to .199, this is what is considered an Extreme DUI in Arizona. This results in a minimum of 30 consecutive days in jail. Fines could reach up to $3000, with a 90-day license suspension. In addition, the state will place an IID in your car for one year.

If a defendant’s BAC was at least .20, this is what is known as a Super Extreme DUI in Arizona. For this offense, there is a minimum of 45 consecutive days in jail. The fines increase to $3250 with a 90-day license suspension and the state will also place an IID in your car.

Second DUI in AZ

Arizona has some of the harshest penalties for repeat DUIs in the country.

For a second DUI in Arizona with a BAC between .08 to .149, there will be a minimum of 90 days in jail. Fines could reach $3000 or more, and the state can revoke your license for up to a year.

For a second offense Extreme DUI with a BAC of .15 to .199, there is a minimum of 120 days in jail with 60 served consecutively. Fines could reach up to $3250 with a one-year license revocation.

For a second offense Super Extreme DUI with a BAC of at least .20, there is a minimum of 180 days in jail, 90 of which must be consecutive. The fines increase to at least $4250 with a one-year license revocation.

Third DUI in AZ

A third DUI within seven years in Phoenix AZ is a felony. That carries a mandatory sentence of at least four months, license revoked for one year, a two-year IID requirement, and over $400 in fines and assessments.

What is an OUI?

Sometimes, rather than DUI or DWI, you may hear the term “OUI”. This charge does not technically exist in Arizona, but it does in some states. OUI stands for “operating under the influence”. For all intents and purposes, it is the same charge as a DUI.

What is an Aggravated DUI?

An aggravated DUI in Arizona is another term for a felony DUI. There are a couple of ways someone might incur an aggravated or felony DUI in Arizona:

First, you can incur a felony DUI by getting three DUIs in seven years. We already talked about this one. The second way is by driving intoxicated with a minor in the vehicle.

How To Beat a DUI in AZ

The prosecutor may want you to believe that the case against you is cut and dry, but there are many defenses available to fight a DUI in Phoenix AZ. Belén knows that you may have various defenses working in your favor and will work diligently to defend against your conviction.

Defenses available to beat Arizona DUI charges include but are not limited to:

  • Officer’s lack of probable cause for the initial stop
  • Lack of evidence
  • Mistakes in the administrative procedures relating to blood and/or breath tests
  • Illegal arrest
  • A person appearing not under the influence during the field sobriety tests
  • Miranda rights violations

If you’ve been arrested for an alcohol or marijuana DUI in Phoenix AZ, Belén Olmedo Guerra can help you determine what DUI defense may be available for you against a criminal DUI charge. Be sure to reach out as soon as possible, as DUI defense cases are typically very time-sensitive.

Why Do I Need a DUI Defense Lawyer?

A DUI defense lawyer like Belén Olmedo Guerra works to resolve your case before it reaches a courtroom, but she prepares every case for trial regardless, because after all, you can’t win cases if you can’t try them. No client will get a good deal if the prosecutor knows that the attorney won’t take the case to court. This, along with her talent for navigating the Arizona legal system, has led to several of Belén’s clients achieving not guilty verdicts and hung juries. In addition, she has also achieved many dismissals in alcohol and marijuana DUI cases across Phoenix, AZ.

Phoenix DUI Lawyer

If you’re arrested in Phoenix AZ, you have the right to fight your DUI charges and the loss of your driver’s license. To do so, you need the help of the experienced, dedicated Phoenix DUI lawyers at Belén Law Firm on your side to help you mitigate the effects of the charge. Contact Belén today to discuss your DUI charges. You can reach us at 602-715-0908 or by completing the online intake form found on our site. Our AZ criminal defense attorneys offer free case evaluations and are available for 24/7 legal advice.

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