Most people who receive a DUI charge in Arizona have never been in legal trouble before. It can be extremely intimidating to face criminal prosecution alone, especially considering the potential financial and personal consequences.
However, even if you believe you’re guilty, don’t make the mistake of thinking there’s no valid defense to your charges. Working with a skilled lawyer is a great way to improve your odds of beating a DUI charge in Mesa.
According to the state laws on drunk driving, anyone who drives with a blood alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent can get a DUI charge. Driving under the influence of drugs (including over the counter and legal prescription pills) is also punishable by law under the state DUI regulations.
For a first offense, driving under the influence is a class 1 misdemeanor, which comes with possible probation and community service, up to 6 months in jail and thousands in fines. You could also have your license suspended for up to a year and be ordered to complete alcohol and drug screenings or attend classes. As you can see, it’s best to try to lessen these consequences. Working with a skilled criminal defense attorney is the best way to do that.
Just because you’ve received a charge doesn’t mean you must get convicted. Pleading guilty and accepting a suspended license is one option for handling a DUI. But you can also speak with a DUI attorney to see what your defense options are. While you’ll find no shortage of remote lawyers to work with online, it’s best to choose someone local. A DUI attorney in Mesa will have more familiarity with the local courts and specific laws in the area.
There are several methods that experienced lawyers use to beat a DUI charge. The officer involved in the case may have made a mistake, or you could have had your rights violated. In addition, sobriety testing methods aren’t perfect and may give inaccurate results. Here are some common defenses to beat a DUI:
Lack of Probable Cause
If you were arrested for a DUI, but were pulled over for a different reason, your lawyer may be able to assert a lack of probable cause. Driving below or above the speed limit, swerving or weaving on the road, or making an illegal stop are all valid reasons for a cop to sobriety test you. If the police officer arrested you after an unlawful stop, the evidence they gathered may be inadmissible in court.
Inaccurate Breathalyzer Results
Breathalyzer tests aren’t always accurate in showing the amount of alcohol consumed. User error, equipment failure, and improper calibration can all lead to unreliable readings. In other cases, a breathalyzer could give misleading results if the individual has acid reflux or GERD.
Police officers are obligated to inform those in custody of their Miranda rights (the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent). If the cop who arrested you failed to tell you what your rights are, evidence collected against you may count as inadmissible.
If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence in Arizona, speak with a criminal defense attorney right away. They’ve seen countless cases just like yours and will know exactly which steps to take. Having someone who knows the law on your side at this time removes a lot of stress from the equation. It’s best that you contact a lawyer soon so they can go to work building a strategy for your defense.
While Arizona doesn’t allow expungement of DUI crimes, state law allows you to apply to have your conviction “set aside.” Depending on the crime, benefits to doing so include the ability to possess firearms, hold public office, and vote.
Most of the time, having a set-aside applied to your offense enables you to say that you have no current misdemeanor or felony convictions. Since having a DUI on your record can diminish opportunities in the future, getting your conviction set aside could help show that you’ve done all you can to resolve your history.
Will You Qualify for a Set-Aside?
To apply for a set-aside, you should consult the court or judge that imposed probation or pronounced the sentence. The court must consider a few factors in deciding whether to grant you a set-aside, including the severity or type of offense in question and how long ago it occurred. The state tends to go easier on first-time offenders than those with repeat offenses on their record. So, if you had a clean record before and since your DUI conviction, it should count in your favor.
The state may also look at how closely you followed the terms of your sentence and whether you’ve had additional run-ins with the law since your conviction. The court will make sure you’ve paid all fines and fees for the offense and completed any mandatory classes. If you were ordered to install an Ignition Interlock Device in your car, the state may examine whether you did so.
Make sure you keep records of anything that proves you fulfilled the terms of your sentence.
Considering the benefits to having your crime set aside, it’s best to pursue this option if you already have a DUI conviction on your record. Speak with an experienced lawyer if you’d like to apply to have your conviction set aside. They’ll help you prepare the paperwork and answer any questions you have along the way.
If you’d like to challenge your DUI charge and find out what you can do to beat it, it’s essential that you have a lawyer look over your case. They can examine your arrest details to find a suitable defense and pursue a lessened or dismissed charge. If possible, speak with a criminal defense attorney some time in advance of your initial appearance in court.