When you get arrested for DUI in Arizona, you are actually facing two separate actions: the first is a civil action against your driver’s license, handled by the Arizona Department of Transportation. The second is a criminal charge for driving under the influence, which will be decided in a court by a judge or jury.
Civil Action Against Your Driver’s License
You will have just 15 days to request a hearing with the Arizona Department of Transportation to contest the suspension of your driving privilege. If you fail to schedule this hearing within the 15 day limit, you could face an automatic license suspension that lasts for a minimum of 30 days. If a hearing is scheduled, an administrative law judge will decided whether or not you are able to maintain your driving privileges subsequent to your DUI arrest. The civil action/ license suspension is triggered by an arrest for DUI not a conviction for DUI.
It is CRITICAL that the hearing be handled correctly. If the hearing is mishandled, in addition to having your license suspended, you may end up with an extra very expensive penalty. That is, you may be required to purchase an SR-22 insurance policy (high risk insurance policy) for three years.
The Criminal Charge
The criminal side of the DUI charge proceeds through the judicial system just like any other criminal charge. First, you will have an arraignment. At the arraignment, the judge will inform you of what you are being charged with and you will enter a plea. Depending on the circumstances, you may or may not need to appear at the arraignment.
After the arraignment, your case will be set for a Pretrial Conference. At the Pretrial Conference, plea offers are made and evidence is disclosed. If a plea bargain is accepted at a pretrial conference you will go before the judge for sentencing.
Before your case is set for trial, pretrial motions may be filed. A pretrial motion can challenge the admissibility of certain pieces of evidence, such as the results of a blood or breath BAC test or constitutionality of the traffic stop. In some cases, a successful pretrial motion can result in the prosecution offering a better plea deal or the charges being dismissed altogether.
If your case is not resolved at the pretrial stage, it will most likely scheduled for a jury trial. The jury trial process generally lasts between two to three days. Evidence is presented and witnesses testify including our forensic toxicologist. After all the evidence is presented, the case is given to the jury to render a decision. The jury verdict must be unanimous.
Help for Your DUI
If you have been charged with DUI, call the Law Offices of Robert A. Butler to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. We defend hundreds of clients against DUI charges every year, and we are ready to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your DUI case.
Call the Law Offices of Robert A. Butler at (602) 266-8282 to schedule a free, no obligation case consultation.