DUI Criminal Defense Attorney
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DUI Attorney in Phoenix, AZ
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The skilled, Belén Olmedo Guerra is dedicated to the defense of DUI cases from first offenses to felony drunk driving. A DUI can be embarrassing and devastating to the careers of those in certain positions. You need a non-judgmental advocate to give you straight-forward advice about beating your case. This is exactly what you’ll get at Belén Law Firm. She’s handled hundreds of DUI cases over many years, and you’ll get the benefit of an experienced DUI lawyer.
If you’re arrested in Phoenix, you have the right to fight DUI charges and loss of your driver’s license. You need an experienced, dedicated Phoenix DUI attorney on your side to help you mitigate the effects of the charge. Belén Olmedo Guerra will analyze the facts of your case to ensure that all of the applicable defenses are timely raised on your behalf.
Belén Olmedo Guerra prepares every case for trial because 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. In addition to the not guilty verdicts, and hung juries, Belén has also achieved many dismissals in alcohol and marijuana DUI cases.
Arrested for DUI in Phoenix, Now What?
The DUI process in Arizona 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 possible outcomes 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. There are different levels of DUI, and different criminal penalties for defendants. In this post, DUI attorney Belen Olmedo Guerra will answer your questions about DUIs in Arizona, as well as the penalties involved.
Is a DUI a Criminal Offense: What is a DUI?
DUI stands for “driving under the influence”.
Arizona prohibits anyone from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any prescription drugs. In Arizona, there is also an offense called a DWI, or “driving while intoxicated”.
DUI and DWI 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 about DWI charges. Let’s talk briefly about DUI vs. DWI.
What’s the Difference Between DUI and DWI in Arizona?
There are really more similarities than differences in the two. If we’re going to talk about “is a DUI a criminal offense?” in Arizona, we’ve got to talk about DWIs as well.
First of all, both DUIs and DWIs are criminal offenses. Both have pretty severe penalties in Arizona. Both, obviously, involve alcohol or drugs.
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 a very 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 was not driving under the influence. However, his BAC was above the legal limit. He has a DWI.
Arizona DUI Penalties
DUI penalties will fluctuate. They will hinge on the driver’s BAC as well as their number of prior convictions. Below, we’ll break down potential DUI penalties by the number of offenses, as well as by blood alcohol content.
First DUI Offense in Arizona
For a BAC of .08, the legal limit, to .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 of .15 to .199, there is a minimum of 30 consecutive days in jail. Fines could reach up to $3000, with a 90-day license suspension. The state will place an IID in your car for one year.
If a defendant’s BAC was at least .20, there is a minimum of 45 consecutive days in jail. The fines increase to $3250 with a 90-day license suspension. The state will place an IID in your car.
Second and Third DUI Offenses in Arizona
Arizona has some of the harshest penalties for repeat DUIs in the country.
For a BAC of .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 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 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.
A third DUI within seven years 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.
Is A DUI A Criminal Offense: 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 does in some states. OUI stands for “operating under the influence”. For all intents and purposes, it is the same charge as a DUI.
An aggravated DUI is another term for a felony DUI. There are a couple of ways someone might incur a felony DUI:
First, you can incur a felony DUI by getting three DUIs in seven years. We already talked about this one, obviously.
The second way you can incur a felony DUI is by driving intoxicated with a minor in the vehicle.
Arizona DUI Defenses
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. 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 and you feel as if any of these defenses apply to your case, Belén Olmedo Guerra can help you determine what other defenses may be available for you against a criminal DUI charge. You must contact an attorney promptly, as DUI defenses are typically time sensitive.