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How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Arizona?




How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Arizona?

Getting into the driver’s seat of your vehicle after drinking is one of the biggest mistakes you could ever make, and it is one that can stay with you for a long time. So, how long does a DUI stay on your record? That is one of the questions we will be answering in this article.

Not all mistakes that people make are equal. Some can have consequences that are significantly more harmful than others. Driving under the influence is one of those costly mistakes.

Find out how long that will stick with you as an Arizona resident by continuing with this article. You can also pick up tips on how to handle the DUI conviction on your record by reading on.

How Long Will a DUI Conviction Stay on Your Record in Arizona?

Your criminal record can have a huge impact on your quality of life. Individuals with blemishes on their criminal record may find it difficult to land a job, gain admission to a school, or receive approval for low-income housing.

It is also important to point out here that prior convictions can come back to haunt you. The presence of an earlier DUI charge can lead to you receiving harsher punishment.

How long the DUI conviction will affect you is one of the things you must find out. There are two ways to answer that question.

You can approach it by finding out how long an earlier conviction can affect any additional charges put forth against you. The other way involves figuring out how to clear any prior convictions.

Let’s talk about those matters in greater detail below.

How Long Can a Prior DUI Conviction Affect New Charges Made Against You?

First, let’s discuss how long a previous DUI charge can affect your current legal predicament as an Arizona resident.

Arizona law imposes harsher penalties if an individual is guilty of driving under the influence multiple times within a certain period. To be more specific, you can wind up facing stiffer penalties if you commit multiple DUI violations within 84 months.

The escalation of penalties will also depend specifically on what violation you committed.

Penalties for a Second DUI Violation within 84 Months

Let’s first look at what penalties you may face if you drive under the influence two times within 84 months.

You are staring at a potentially long jail sentence if you have two multiple DUI violations within 7 years. The minimum jail sentence for repeat offenders is 90 days. Guilty parties must also serve at least 30 days of that sentence consecutively.

Offenders will also receive a larger fine if they commit two DUI violations in a span of 7 years. The minimum fine for your first offense is $1,250. Upon being charged a second time, that fine will more than double to $3,000.

An individual guilty of driving under the influence will also have their license suspended for a certain period. If it was your first offense, they will suspend your license for 90 days. For the second offense, the suspension period will last for 12 months.

Community service is another component of the punishment that DUI offenders must face. There is no minimum amount of community service you must render if you are a first-time offender. However, repeat offenders will have to clock at least 30 hours of community service.

Penalties for a Second Extreme DUI Violation within 84 Months

A second extreme DUI violation within 84 months also nets you larger penalties. For those who may be unaware, an extreme DUI violation occurs when an individual is driving a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of at least 0.15 percent.

Starting with jail time again, offenders will spend a long time behind bars. Jail time goes up 120 days from the previous minimum of 30 days.

Offenders will also pay a more expensive fine. After getting fined $2,500 for their first extreme DUI conviction, that mandatory payment will go up to $3,250 for a second violation within 7 years.

They will also suspend your driving privileges for 12 months after a second extreme DUI violation. Violators are also required to render 30 hours of community if their second extreme DUI charge sticks.

Penalties for an Aggravated DUI Violation

What happens if you commit three or more DUI violations within 84 months? If that happens, you will face an aggravated DUI charge.

You will be sentenced to a stint in prison instead of jail if you are guilty of aggravated DUI. The prison sentence will last at least 4 months.

It is also worth noting that an aggravated DUI charge is considered a felony in Arizona. Having a felony conviction on your record can be difficult. Avoid ever putting yourself in a situation where you could potentially commit this kind of crime.

How Do You Clear a Previous DUI Conviction?

We now know more about how prior DUI convictions can affect new penalties you may potentially face. As it turns out, those earlier convictions can put you in a tough spot.

With that in mind, you may be wondering if there is something you can do about those prior convictions. Would it be possible to get those DUI convictions removed from your record?

In some states, expunging your criminal record is possible. You are essentially given an opportunity to start over without your earlier transgressions weighing you down. Or at least, people who are not privy to those earlier convictions will not find anything about them.

Notably, Arizona does not provide that legal tool. Instead, what the state offers is something known as “setting aside a conviction.”

What Does “Setting Aside a Conviction” Mean?

Setting aside a conviction is what Arizona has as a functional equivalent to expungement. The two legal mechanisms are not completely the same, though.

Expungement means that they will remove any prior arrests or convictions from your record.

Other states offer something like expungement, and it comes in the form of sealing records. Basically, they will seal your criminal record, and individuals will not view it whenever they want to. Sealed criminal records can usually only be opened after a court order is issued.

Setting aside a conviction works differently from those two.

First, they do not clear your record if they set a conviction aside. If someone looks at your criminal record, they will still see that you drove under the influence in the past.

Furthermore, setting aside a conviction will also do nothing to limit who can see your criminal record. An employer can look up that record and see your earlier conviction.

At this point, you may be asking what the point of setting aside a conviction even is. If everyone can still see your convictions, is it worth pursuing?


Setting aside the conviction can still benefit you because it is an order indicating that “the person be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction.” It will let anyone viewing your record know that you have been held responsible for that conviction already and that you finished what the state required of you.

Is Getting a Conviction Set Aside Worth It?

Whether or not getting a conviction set aside will be worth the effort is up to you to decide.

Still, it may be easier to talk about a prior conviction with a potential employer if they set the conviction on your record aside. You can talk about what happened if you like and explain that you have done everything by the law to earn back your freedom.

Getting a conviction set aside can make it easier for you to show an employer that you have grown as a person. It shows that you have moved past that point in your life when you were irresponsible and reckless.

Can All Convictions Be Set Aside?

Not all convictions can be set aside in Arizona. The following convictions cannot be set aside:

  • Crimes with a Sexual Motivation
  • Crimes That Required a Defendant to Register as a Sex Offender
  • Crimes That Led to Serious Physical Injury
  • Crimes That Involved the Use or Exhibition of a Deadly Weapon
  • Crimes That Involved a Victim under fifteen

Those are the main categories of convictions that cannot be set aside. Any conviction that falls under one of those categories will remain untouched on your record permanently.

There are some driving-related offenses as well that cannot be set aside. Crucially, though, a DUI conviction is not one of them. You can get your prior DUI conviction set aside after following the appropriate procedure.

What Is the Process of Setting Aside a Conviction in Arizona?

The process of getting a conviction set aside in Arizona is straightforward. Follow the steps below if you want to go through the process as well.

Step 1: Acquire and Fill Out the Appropriate Forms

To get the process started, you must first obtain some forms.

You will need an application to Set Aside Conviction. Apart from that, you may also need a Certificate of Absolute Discharge from Imprisonment and/or a document detailing your Discharge from Probation. Secure whichever documents apply in your case.

Other documents may also be required depending on the circumstances of your case.

Also note here that the required documents will change depending on what conviction you want to have set aside. You will need different documents to set aside a misdemeanor and different documents to set aside a felony.

Step 2: File the Forms

The next step is to file the filled-out forms. Visit the Clerk’s Office in your county and have the Clerk process your documents. The Clerk will stamp and date the documents you submitted.

They will return some copies of documents after they process them.

Petitioners also have the option of sending the forms via mail, depositing them in a depository box, or filing them online. Talk to a lawyer about how the process of filing will go depending on your chosen method.

For those hoping to get a felony conviction set aside, they must also send the forms to the prosecutor covering their area.

Step 3.1: Receive Notice That the Conviction Has Been Set Aside

The process can now take on one of four branching paths after you filed the appropriate forms. The first is the simplest.

Upon receiving your request to get a conviction set aside, the court may decide to approve it right away. In that case, they will send a copy of the order to you.

Step 3.2: Attend a Hearing

The court may also decide to set a hearing regarding your petition. Attend the hearing together with your lawyer and prepare to answer some questions.

During that hearing, the court may seek arguments from both your side and the prosecutor regarding the matter of setting aside the conviction. If the prosecutor does not agree with your petition, they will argue against you. You and your lawyer must also form an argument indicating why your conviction must be set aside.

The court will make a final decision regarding your petition after the hearing.

Step 3.3: Follow the Court’s Supplemental Orders

Instead of deciding on your petition, the court may instruct you to complete certain actions first. That means you probably failed to complete certain steps that are necessary to get a conviction set aside. Finish those tasks first if you want to find out the court’s ruling.

Step 3.4: Receive Notice That the Conviction Has Not Been Set Aside

The court may also deny your petition to get a conviction set aside. They may decide to do so depending on different factors.

Tough as it is to find out that they denied your petition, all is not lost. You can still file another petition in the future and perhaps make a different argument then.

It is also possible that the court denied your petition because not enough time has passed since you completed your sentence. The court may approve your petition after more time has elapsed.

Figure out how to properly deal with the aftermath of a DUI charge by working with us at the Schill Law Firm. Contact us today to learn how we can help with your case.

Questions to Ask Your DUI Lawyer



Questions to Ask Your DUI Lawyer

The prospect of facing a DUI charge is intimidating, and it can even be downright scary. You need a DUI lawyer on your side to fight that charge. The success of your defense could be significantly impacted by who you decide to hire as your lawyer. Settle for someone without the requisite level of skill and experience, and you could soon be on the way to jail. Even if the facts of the case are in your favor, a slam dunk defense could turn into a dicey affair because you hired the wrong lawyer. So, how can you ensure that you hire the right lawyer? It helps to ask the right questions. In this article, we have highlighted the questions you must ask the DUI lawyer you are thinking of hiring. Gauge their responses carefully and see if you are comfortable with them representing you.

Determining Who Your Lawyer Will Be

When you get in touch with a law firm and seek their assistance, you will likely talk to different people there. During your conversations, you may start to develop strong impressions of the people at the firm and want a specific lawyer there to represent you in your case. It is important to determine who your lawyer will be before you decide to partner with a specific firm. Asking the questions below should help you obtain the answer you need.

What Is Your Current Caseload?

If you want to ascertain a lawyer’s availability without directly asking, inquiring about their current caseload is a good way to go about it. Find out if they are currently juggling several cases. Asking about your preferred lawyer’s current caseload helps you understand if they can take on your case. Doing so will also let you know how high you up are on their current list of priorities. You do not want to end up low on that totem pole and end up with your case potentially getting neglected.

Will You Be the Lawyer Handling My Case?

Perhaps you are not a fan of beating around the bush. In that case, you can be more direct and ask the lawyer you are speaking to directly if they will be the one to represent you. Putting forth this question can also help you secure a commitment from the lawyer you want on your side. It is worth asking if you are up for it.

Will You Be the One to Show Up to Court with Me?

Also, ask if the lawyer you are speaking to will show up with you in court. You obviously do not want them pulling the bait and switch on you, so secure this commitment from them as well.

Learning More about the Experience Level of Your DUI Lawyer

You should take the time to know more about the legal professional who will potentially be your representative at the trial. Are they capable of playing good defense for you? The questions we have included below should you obtain your answer.

How Long Have You Been a DUI Lawyer?

Experience matters in DUI cases. You do not want to hand the reins to your case over to an inexperienced lawyer. Their inexperience could prove costly. It is not only inexperience when it comes to handling cases that you should inquire about. Go ahead and ask about how long they have been a DUI lawyer as well. DUI cases can be nuanced. You do not want your lawyer missing something important because they have not handled a lot of DUI cases in the past. Even if they have many years of working as a legal professional under their belt, you still need them to have specific experience about your current predicament.

How Many DUI Cases Do You Handle Per Year?

Partnering with a lawyer who has plenty of experience when it comes to working DUI cases would be ideal. However, you need to ask about how recently they acquired that experience. Being experienced is great, but it may not mean as much if they have not personally handled a case in years. As much as possible, you should seek out a lawyer who has remained relatively active. Ask about how many cases they handle each year to get a read on that.

How Long Have You Been a Practicing DUI Lawyer in This Area?

Familiarity can give lawyers an edge in the courtroom. If they know how to handle matters in a certain place, they can operate more effectively. You should ask how long your lawyer has been practicing in your neck of the woods. Gauge how well they know the area because that will undoubtedly matter in your case. Go ahead and ask as well if they have dealt with the prosecutor in your area before. While you are at it, ask if they have any prior history with the judge for your case. Their prior history can have insight into how your case may potentially go. Hopefully, what you learn will shine a favorable light on the potential outcome of your case. If you are not seeing that, it is not too late to go in a different direction.

Have You Worked as a Prosecutor Before?

It is not uncommon for some defense lawyers to start out as prosecutors. You should ask the attorney you are talking to if they have that previous working experience. To be clear, hiring a DUI lawyer who has previous experience working as a prosecutor is a good thing. First off, prosecutors-turned-defenders have a better grasp of how the other side may tackle your case. They can also predict which areas may serve as weak spots in the prosecution’s case. Even if you will have a tough time being found not guilty, your defender’s prior experience working as a prosecutor can still come in handy. They can use their experience to strike better plea deals with the other side. They may even know the prosecutor in your case, and that could lead to you landing a more favorable deal.

Is My Case Similar to Anything You’ve Handled Before?

DUI cases are not typically known for including unusual elements, but that is still a possibility. For example, you may be charged with aggravated DUI, but the conviction is hinging on some complex technicalities. You need to know that your lawyer can understand those complexities. Ask your lawyer if they have handled something like your current case. You do not want them to react with surprise upon seeing your case file.

Have You Ever Been Disciplined by the State Bar?

There are certain red flags you need to look for before deciding if you should hire a particular lawyer. Something that warrants a closer look is the lawyer’s history as it pertains to the state bar. Ask the lawyer you are speaking to if they have ever been disciplined by the state bar. While you are at it, ask if they have by other state bars. Being disciplined does not automatically mean that a lawyer cannot defend you well. That may have just been a lapse in judgment. Since then, they may have demonstrated nothing but responsible behavior towards all their clients and cases. All that said, you cannot ignore their disciplinary history. Try asking about what happened if they do have a disciplinary record. That should clue you in to whether the legal professional you are speaking to is someone you want as your lawyer.

Ascertaining Your DUI Lawyer’s Credentials

Every lawyer goes through a long and difficult journey to earn a degree as a legal professional. There is no denying the fact that they have earned their status. However, you should still check to see if a particular lawyer is well suited to handle a DUI case. You can do that by checking on how they have kept up with their education. Asking the questions below should help.

Have You Talked to Police Officers about DUI Cases?

Lawyers can specialize in different areas if they want to. According to LawyerEdu.org, certification areas in Arizona include bankruptcy law, criminal law, estate, and trust law, family law, personal injury and wrongful death, real estate law, tax law, and workers’ compensation law. As you can see, DUI is not a specific area of specialization. Still, lawyers can gain supplemental knowledge and experience in that field by talking to other professionals. Talking to police officers for additional knowledge and experience should prove helpful as a lawyer. Go ahead and ask if that is something they do regularly.

Are You Board Certified by the National College for DUI Defense?

Certain organizations offer certification to lawyers who undergo additional education to build upon their knowledge base. The National College for DUI Defense (NCDD) is the organization in charge of that when it comes to driving under the influence cases. To receive certification from the NCDD, lawyers must pass written and oral examinations related to the field of DUI. NCDD members benefit greatly from being certified. The organization gives them access to the latest resources related to driving under the influence cases. They can check out the latest scientific studies on alcohol, drugs, testing devices, testing accuracy, and other relevant matters. Lawyers are also given additional training so they can wield specific trial techniques better. The organization also helps them find reputable experts who can prove immensely helpful during a trial. It is easy to see how a DUI lawyer can benefit from being certified by the NCDD. You should ask your lawyer if they are a member of that organization.

Understanding Your DUI Lawyer’s Approach

There is no one way to handle a DUI case. Some lawyers may prefer a particular approach over the other available options. It is important to understand what approach your lawyer employs. Once you know that, you can figure out if their preferred approach works for you.

How Often Do You Go to Trial?

Going to trial is not necessarily a good or a bad thing. On one hand, heading to trial could clear your name completely. That gives you a chance to forget about the whole ordeal once the trial is over. On the other hand, going through a trial can be a stressful ordeal. Some individuals may want to do whatever they can to avoid the courtroom. You should find out what your lawyer’s attitude is as it pertains to trials. See if their approach aligns with your preferences before hiring them.

How Often Do You Go for Plea Deals or Dismissals?

Like with going to trial, seeking a plea deal or a dismissal in a case is not a good or bad thing either. There are instances where seeking a plea deal could be the sensible move for your part. You do not want to partner with a lawyer who is opposed to negotiating a plea deal no matter the circumstances. The lawyer you hire should be open to any option if it puts you in the best situation legally.

Additional Questions to Ask Your DUI Lawyer

Let’s wrap things up by highlighting some other essential questions that you should ask any DUI lawyer offering their services to you.

Will I Have to Pay Additional Fees if We Go to Trial?

Some lawyers may advertise a certain fee but then charge something different depending on how your case progresses. To be more specific, they may charge you extra if your case heads to trial. They may also charge you more to bring in experts and to secure some forms of evidence. Ask your lawyer right away if the payment they are seeking covers everything. You do not want to be caught off guard by additional expenses while the trial is underway.

How Quickly Will You Respond to My Questions?

Being charged with driving under the influence can be stressful. You may feel uneasy as your case slowly develops. During that time, you may have questions for your lawyer. You should ask your lawyer how quickly they can respond to your questions. Ask them as well if it is okay for you to contact them on weekends. Set your expectations when it comes to how quickly your lawyer can respond so you can alleviate the stress you are experiencing. Do you need a DUI lawyer in Arizona? We at the Schill Law Group are here to offer our services. Contact us today, ask us any questions you have, and let us help you through your current ordeal.

Can You Get a DUI for Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana?



Can You Get a DUI for Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana?

Driving is a privilege, and as such, you need to handle it responsibly and thoughtfully. Taking to the road when you are in no condition to do so is a flagrant abuse of that privilege. Irresponsible drivers could end up incurring a marijuana DUI charge or something similar.


You may be wondering if DUI charges related to marijuana are a real thing. After all, when people hear about DUIs, they immediately think about violations related to alcohol. We’ll be addressing that and many other relevant topics in this article.

Please feel free to read on and learn more about how you could be in violation of the law by driving under the influence of marijuana. The information you pick up here could wind up saving you from legal troubles down the road.

The Legal Status of Marijuana in Arizona

Before we go deeper into DUIs and how they relate to marijuana, let’s take a few moments to go over another topic of importance.  To be more specific, let’s talk about the legality of marijuana in the state of Arizona.

In case you missed it, Arizona residents made a huge decision regarding marijuana usage in the state during the last general election. Proposition 207, also known as the Smart and Safe Arizona Act, put forth the initiative to legalize the adult use of marijuana. The proposition also sought to legalize the possession and transfer of marijuana, provided that people follow certain rules.

Once Election Day came, the majority of Arizona residents decided to vote “yes” on Proposition 207, and thus the adult use of marijuana became legal.

With the passage of Proposition 207, Arizona residents over the age of twenty-one can now legally possess, use, and/or transfer up to one ounce of marijuana. Growing your own marijuana plants is legal now, but there are also restrictions placed on that.

The passage of Proposition 207 marks a clear turning point when it comes to how the state of Arizona treats and views marijuana. However, the passage of that proposition does not mean that Arizonans now have carte blanche to use marijuana any way they please. There are still activities related to marijuana that remain outlawed.

Marijuana-Related Activities That Remain Illegal in Arizona

Adults can now legally use marijuana in Arizona, but there are still existing rules limiting the usage. Let’s go over those restrictions so you can avoid violating them.

Smoking Marijuana in Public

If you do intend to use marijuana, you must do so only at home. Using marijuana in a public space is a violation of the law. Officials consider parks and other open areas public spaces.

Selling Marijuana

The sale of marijuana is guarded carefully by the state of Arizona. Even though individuals are now allowed to cultivate their own marijuana plants at home, selling what they grow is another matter altogether.

As of now, only licensed entities are allowed to sell marijuana in Arizona. More specifically, only medical marijuana dispensaries and marijuana establishments can sell those products.

Using Marijuana in the Workplace

The subject of using marijuana in the workplace is tricky because rules can vary from one place to another. Some employers may enact rules that ban the usage of marijuana in the workplace, and that is their right.

Employees must abide by the rules set in their workplace regarding marijuana usage. Failing to do so could lead to them losing their job or potentially facing other legal troubles.

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Arizona is committed to keeping their roads safe for everyone. The state has  harsh laws related to driving under the influence to deter everyone from engaging in such a dangerous activity.

It should come as no surprise that driving under the influence of marijuana still remains illegal. According to Arizona law, operating any motor vehicle, boat, or aircraft right after using marijuana is not allowed.

What Constitutes a Marijuana DUI Violation in Arizona?

The threshold for committing a marijuana DUI violation in Arizona is not particularly high. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the authorities finding any trace of marijuana metabolites in your body can lead to a DUI violation.

Other states handle DUI violations a bit differently. Many of them will not charge you with violating any drug laws unless the level of marijuana metabolites in your bloodstream exceeds 0.08 percent. In Arizona, you can be cited for a marijuana violation even if the metabolite concentration in your blood is less than that threshold.

What that means is that Arizona residents should avoid using marijuana altogether if they plan on driving anytime soon. Most of the time, marijuana should only remain traceable in your body for about a couple of days. However, there are times when it could linger for a week or even longer than that.

What Are the Penalties for Committing a Marijuana DUI Violation?

Given how committed the state of Arizona is to discourage driving under the influence, you cannot be surprised that they have some harsh penalties. The penalties change depending on whether you are a first-time or repeat offender.

Penalties for the First DUI Violation

The penalties that come with your first marijuana DUI arrest include a jail sentence. At a minimum, you can expect to spend at least ten consecutive days in jail. That jail sentence could also be up to one hundred and eighty days.

You may also need to pay a fine of no less than $1250. Offenders must render community service and receive probation. The probationary period could last for up to five years.

Anyone found guilty of driving under the influence will also attend drug screening, treatment, and education programs. They will also install a certified ignition interlock device in your vehicle.

Lastly, they will suspend your driver’s license after your DUI violation. The suspension period will only last for ninety days if you attend Traffic Survival School. Failing to attend Traffic Survival School will lead to suspension of your driving privileges for one year.

Penalties for the Second DUI Violation

The jail sentence for a second DUI violation carries a heavy minimum. You’re looking at ninety days in jail at the least for that second violation, but that can still go up to one hundred and eighty days.

The fine goes up significantly too. The minimum fine will be set at $3000.

Like before, you will attend drug screening, treatment, and education programs. Community service and probation also remain as penalties.

They will suspend your driver’s license again. This time, the suspension will be a year, and attending Traffic Survival School will not change that.

Penalties for an Aggravated DUI Violation

A person can be guilty of aggravated DUI if they commit a third DUI violation within eighty-four months. Individuals who drive under the influence with a suspended license or with a person under fifteen in the vehicle can also receive charges of aggravated DUI.

The penalties for aggravated DUI are serious. You will still attend drug education, screening, and treatment programs while rendering community service, but there are other harsher penalties.

They will revoke your driver’s license for one year after an aggravated DUI charge. The state will also hit you with an onerous fine. The fine in question here could balloon up to $150,000.

Offenders are no longer looking at jail time. Instead, you will go to prison and receive a sentence of at least four months there. Depending on how the court views your case, your prison sentence may extend up to two years.

An Additional Note about DUI Marijuana Convictions

Although not a direct penalty of your negligent decision, you should know that an offense of that nature will stick with you. The passage of Proposition 207 has made it possible for individuals to erase various marijuana violations from their records. Possessing, using, and growing marijuana are examples of previous violations they can delete.

Those who are guilty of driving under the influence will not have that same opportunity. The error they made will stay on their record permanently.

Considering the effects of having any blemish on your record, you should think twice about driving your vehicle under the influence of marijuana. That risk is not worth taking.

How Do You Fight against a Potential Marijuana DUI Charge?

After being cited for a potential marijuana-related DUI violation, you may be coming up with ways to defend yourself. At that point, your most effective defense is to prove that you are a qualified medical marijuana patient.

It’s important to note here that you can use the medical defense if prescribed by a doctor. A recommendation is not the same thing as a prescription, so you can still get in trouble if the former is the only thing you have.

But what if you are not a medical marijuana patient? What can work as your defense in that scenario?

You should call a lawyer at that point. A lawyer can help by casting doubt on the legitimacy of the drug test results. They can request to have the sample retested in a bid to prove your innocence.

If you truly were not driving under the influence of marijuana at the time, a second test should provide a result that conflicts with the earlier false positive. Your lawyer can then use that other test result to demonstrate that it was the test that made an error and not you.

A lawyer could also suggest that the sample used in your case was tainted. If that is proven, then the DUI charge against you will look flimsy.

In any case, you should get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible if you receive a DUI violation. Suspected DUI violators are usually allowed to contact a lawyer as soon as they’re in custody.

Can You Refuse to Take a Drug Test After Being Pulled Over?

Arizona operates under the Implied Consent Law, and that makes a big difference in DUI cases. You might have assumed that refusing a drug test is allowed, but that is not the case in Arizona.

After you get your Arizona driver’s license, you automatically consent to any alcohol or drug tests while you’re operating your vehicle. Technically, you can still refuse the test, but that will lead to you facing stiff penalties.

For instance, they will instantly suspend your driver’s license after you refuse the test. Refusing the test once will lead to a suspension for at least a year.  If you refuse a second time, your suspension will be for two years.

On top of that, you must complete a drug screening program before you become eligible to have your driver’s license reinstated. Completing that program will be necessary if you want a restricted driving permit.

Can You Be Charged with a Crime for Using Marijuana in Your Vehicle?

One last thing to note here is that you can be charged with a crime if you used marijuana while you were inside your vehicle. It doesn’t matter whether you were driving the vehicle or not. As long as there’s proof that you used marijuana inside your vehicle, you can be charged with a crime.

If you intend to use marijuana, do so only while inside a private residence. Nothing good can come out of using marijuana elsewhere unless you have a medical exemption.

Marijuana DUI violations carry heavy penalties, and they can also stay with you for the rest of your life. Don’t sit idly by if you are staring at a mistaken DUI charge. Contact us at the Schill Law Group and allow us to help you prove your innocence.

What Is an Aggravated DUI?



What Is an Aggravated DUI?

There is never any scenario where driving under the influence is okay. It’s an irresponsible act that needlessly endangers you and the people around you. Notably, there is an even more irresponsible version of that action known as an aggravated DUI.

DUI and aggravated DUI charges are not the same. They come into play under different circumstances. The penalties associated with them also differ.

A DUI charge can get you into a lot of legal trouble. An aggravated DUI conviction will be even more troublesome from that perspective.

It’s important to know the differences between DUI and aggravated DUI charges. You can learn more about them by continuing with this article.

Defining an Aggravated DUI Charge

A person can be found guilty of driving under the influence if their blood alcohol concentration level exceeds a certain threshold. In Arizona, a person with a blood alcohol concentration level over 0.08 is guilty of driving under the influence. For drivers of commercial vehicles, that lowers the threshold to 0.04.

Those thresholds still come into play in aggravated DUI charges. It’s not the amount of alcohol in a person’s body that turns a DUI charge into an aggravated DUI charge. Rather, other factors that emphasize the recklessness of the guilty party are the ones that usually elevate the severity of a particular DUI offense.

Officials can cite multiple factors in aggravated DUI cases. Let’s talk about them in greater detail below.

Being Charged with Driving Under the Influence Multiple Times

First, officials can charge a person with aggravated DUI if they repeatedly commit the offense within a certain amount of time. To be more specific, getting three DUI convictions within eighty-four months would result in an aggravated DUI charge.

Driving Under the Influence with a Canceled, Revoked, or Suspended License

The state of Arizona does not cancel, revoke, or suspend driver’s licenses for no reason. That is only carried out as a form of punishment if the driver was irresponsible or reckless on the road.

When the state takes away a person’s driving privileges, the concerned party must abide by that. Failure to acknowledge that can prove costly. Those who drive under the influence with a canceled, revoked, or suspended driver’s license can receive aggravated DUI.

Refusing a Blood Alcohol Test while Their Vehicle Is Equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device

Once a person is found guilty of committing a DUI violation in Arizona, their vehicle has a certified ignition interlock device installed. The job of the ignition interlock device is to prevent drivers from operating their vehicle while they’re intoxicated.

To use a vehicle equipped with the ignition interlock device, the driver must first blow into it. After that, the device will examine the driver’s blood alcohol concentration. If the driver’s blood alcohol concentration level exceeds a certain threshold, they cannot use their vehicle.

Notably, a driver may need to blow into the ignition interlock device multiple times while operating their vehicle. That feature is baked into the device’s design so drivers cannot ingest alcohol as soon as they start the car.

The ignition interlock device can limit the driver’s control because it connects directly to the vehicle’s power system, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The presence of the ignition interlock device on your vehicle can also open you up to an aggravated DUI charge. Any DUI violation you commit while an ignition interlock device is in your vehicle will turn into an aggravated DUI charge right away. On top of that, refusing to take a blood-alcohol test when you have that device is grounds for an aggravated DUI charge as well.

Driving Under the Influence while a Person Under Fifteen Years Old Is in the Vehicle

Being careful on the road is expected of all drivers in all situations. Even so, more emphasis is on that whenever you have someone under the age of fifteen inside your vehicle. People under that age are more susceptible to injuries, so you need to be more responsible while driving them around.

If someone is driving under the influence while a person under the age of fifteen is in their vehicle, they will receive an aggravated DUI charge.

Driving the Wrong Way on the Highway while Under the Influence

Lastly, a DUI charge can also be elevated to an aggravated DUI if the driver was spotted going the wrong way on a highway. It’s easy to understand why driving the wrong way is considered an aggravating factor for a DUI charge.

Operating a vehicle in that manner can be incredibly dangerous. The danger level only increases if the driver was also intoxicated.

Is an Aggravated DUI Charge Considered a Felony?

Driving under the influence is considered a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona. But what about an aggravated DUI? Is it viewed in the same way?

Arizona law considers aggravated DUI offenses to be more serious than the typical DUI violations. That’s why officials see all aggravated DUI offenses as felonies. Crucially though, they are not all on the same level in terms of severity.

Individuals driving under the influence while a person under the age of fifteen is in their vehicle can receive a class 6 felony. If your aggravated DUI charge stems from the other four causes, then you’re potentially facing a class 4 felony.

Distinguishing between those charges is important. The penalties a person may receive will change depending on whether they are guilty of a class 6 or 4 felony.

The Penalties for a Class 6 Felony Aggravated DUI Charge

Since aggravated DUI offenses are felonies, you will be looking at potential prison time instead of a jail sentence.

The minimum prison sentence for a class 6 felony is six months. The presumptive sentence is set at twelve months, while the maximum is at eighteen months.

In addition to the prison sentence, those found guilty of class 6 felony aggravated DUI will also render community service and undergo alcohol education, screening, and treatment. They will also revoke the guilty party’s driver’s license for one year after the verdict.

Fines are usually also assessed in DUI cases, and the same goes here.

The Penalties for a Class 4 Felony Aggravated DUI Charge

Class 4 felonies are more severe than their class 6 counterparts. That means the prison sentence will be longer.

The shortest prison sentence handed down to someone guilty of committing a class 4 felony is eighteen months. The presumptive sentence is then set at thirty months, while the maximum is thirty-six months in prison.

People who are guilty of committing class 4 felony aggravated DUI will also receive fines,  perform community service, and attend alcohol treatment programs. They will also revoke their driver’s license for at least one year.

The Aggravating Circumstances for Felony Violations

Although there are maximum prison sentences for aggravated felony DUI charges, someone can receive a longer penalty. That can happen if certain aggravating circumstances exist in a particular case.

There all kinds of aggravating factors that can be cited in felony cases.

Someone getting seriously injured because of the guilty party’s actions is an aggravating factor. The same goes for any property damage that stems from the crime.

A person’s intent may also be an aggravating factor in a particular case. If they prove during the trial that the defendant was acting with malice during the crime, their charges may elevate.

A guilty party may also incur more penalties if their actions affected a disabled individual or someone over sixty-five.

The prison sentence gets significantly longer if they note aggravating circumstances in a felony DUI charge.

For class 6 felonies, the maximum prison sentence goes up to twenty-four months. For class 4 felonies, the maximum prison sentence if aggravating circumstances exist goes all the way up to forty-five months.

Another thing to note here is at least two aggravating factors must exist in a specific case for the maximum sentence to increase. Without at least two aggravating factors present, they will follow the original sentencing guidelines.

The Mitigating Circumstances for Felony Violations

Whereas aggravating factors raise the potential maximum sentence for a felony DUI violation, mitigating circumstances do the exact opposite. They can further reduce the minimum prison sentence for a defendant.

They consider the defendant’s state of mind when figuring out what punishment they should receive. Those who are under a substantial amount of duress at the time are likely to receive more leniency.

The court will also look at how the defendant behaved after they were apprehended. Defendants who were more obedient have a better chance of receiving a mitigated sentence.

Whether a defendant could fully appreciate that they were committing a crime also matters. In DUI cases, though, this mitigating factor is unlikely to play a role.

A defendant deemed to have a minor role in the crime may also receive a mitigated sentence. However, that mitigating circumstance is also unlikely to apply in a DUI case.

The age of the defendant could also make a difference.

In a class 6 felony case, the minimum prison sentence drops from six to four months due to mitigating factors. Meanwhile, the minimum sentence for a class 4 felony case goes from eighteen to twelve months.

Also, note that at least two mitigating factors must be present to impact on the case.

How Parole, Commuted Sentences, and Suspended Sentences Affect Aggravated DUI Cases

After receiving an aggravated DUI, you may be hoping that your stint in prison will not be as long as your original sentence. You may be hoping that you can get out after a couple of weeks or maybe one month.

Defendants should know that such a thing cannot happen in many aggravated DUI cases. Although it is possible to be paroled or to have your sentence cut short in an aggravated DUI case, that can only happen if you meet certain conditions.

Only those who were convicted of aggravated DUI due to having a person under fifteen years old in their vehicle and those who received that charge due to the presence of the ignition interlock device can be released from prison early.

If you’re aggravated DUI charge stems from the other causes, then you’re looking at a longer prison stay. You will spend at least four months in prison before you’re eligible for parole or a suspended sentence.

What Is the Difference between Aggravated DUI and Extreme DUI?

Arizona motorists may be confused by some of the terms used in DUI cases. For example, the courts can impose aggravated and extreme DUI charges on residents of the state. You may be wondering if they’re the same thing.

Aggravated and extreme DUI cases are not the same. We’ve already talked at length about aggravated DUI cases so let’s highlight what extreme DUI cases are.

Extreme DUI cases link to the blood alcohol level of the person who committed the crime. If your blood alcohol level is over 0.15 when the authorities pull you over, you can receive an extreme DUI.

Extreme DUI also counts as a class 1 misdemeanor, meaning it carries lighter penalties than an aggravated DUI charge.

Officials must handle an aggravated DUI charge seriously, and you can do that with a skilled and experienced lawyer by your side. Reach out to us at the Schill Law Group, and we will ensure that you receive justice in your aggravated DUI case.

What’s the Difference Between a Felony DUI and a DUI?

What’s the Difference Between a Felony DUI and a DUI?



What’s the Difference Between a Felony DUI and a DUI?

The inherently dangerous act of driving under the influence can never be excused or shrugged off. If the authorities arrest you, the law will punish you accordingly depending on whether you committed a misdemeanor or felony DUI violation.

Knowing the difference between a misdemeanor DUI charge and a felony DUI charge is important. The dangers of impaired driving should already be reason enough for you to sober up before getting behind the wheel. If they are not enough, though, the penalties you could receive should give you more reasons to reconsider.

Let’s talk about the differences between a misdemeanor and a felony DUI charge in this article. The information here should tell you all you need to know about how seriously Arizona takes impaired driving and why you should avoid it.

A Refresher on Drunk Driving in Arizona

Before we get into differentiating the misdemeanor and felony variants of DUI charges, let’s focus first on what drunk driving is. Alcohol intoxication can impact how you perceive your surroundings and how you control your body. Given alcohol’s effects on the body, individuals who are intoxicated while driving pose a greater risk to themselves and the people around them.

The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent. The authorities can charge drivers with a BAC level that exceeds 0.08 with a DUI violation.

Notably though, that legal limit only applies to drivers of private vehicles who are twenty-one years old or older.

In the state of Arizona, they can still charge drivers of commercial vehicles with a BAC level above 0.04 with DUI. For drivers under the age of twenty-one, any level of alcohol in their bodies will warrant a DUI charge.

When Is a DUI Charge Considered a Misdemeanor Violation?

Most of the time, they will regard a DUI charge as a misdemeanor if it’s your first violation. That is usually the case regardless of whether you were driving a private or commercial vehicle. Drivers under the age of twenty-one who get a DUI are likely to receive a misdemeanor violation.

A first-time DUI charge remains a misdemeanor violation if you did not harm anyone due to your negligence. They would not elevate the charge if you did not have anyone under the age of fifteen inside your vehicle.

What Are the Penalties for a Misdemeanor DUI Violation?

You can expect to receive some significant penalties even if it’s your first misdemeanor DUI charge. Jail time will be among the penalties you face. To be more specific, you may spend time in jail for no less than ten consecutive days.

Arizona residents in violation of the state’s DUI laws for the first time will also pay a fine. The minimum amount you’ll pay is $1,250.

Violators will also render community service and take part in alcohol education, screening, and treatment. In Arizona, individuals found guilty of violating their DUI laws will also get a certified ignition interlock device attached to any vehicles they drive.

Points are additional aspects of DUI penalties. Eight points are added to your record if you commit a DUI violation.

Because you have eight points on your record, you are a candidate to have your driving privileges suspended for up to twelve months. You will need to attend Traffic Survival School to avoid getting your driving privileges suspended.

One more thing to note here is that the penalties apply only to those with a misdemeanor DUI violation. That means your BAC level is at 0.08 percent or higher but below 0.15 percent. If you receive an extreme or super extreme DUI misdemeanor charge, the penalties will be different.

How BAC Level Affects Your Penalties

A subject of significant confusion is whether your BAC level will affect the kind of charge you receive. It’s easy to see why Arizona residents can get confused considering the state uses different terminologies when referring to DUI charges based on BAC levels.

For instance, if your BAC level is over 0.15 percent, you could get an extreme DUI charge. You could also receive a super DUI charge if your BAC level is 0.20 percent or higher.

Those distinctions don’t mean much in terms of whether you’ll get a misdemeanor or a felony. Even if your BAC level qualifies you for a super extreme DUI charge, they will regard it as a misdemeanor.

So, if the BAC level does not change a misdemeanor to a felony, why do extreme and super extreme DUI charges still exist? The distinction is necessary because it affects the penalties assessed.

In the case of an individual hit with an extreme DUI misdemeanor charge for the first time, jail time will be a minimum of 120 days. The individual will also pay a minimum fine of $3,250 and have their license revoked for twelve months. The same penalties regarding alcohol education, screening, and treatment, plus community service and the certified ignition interlock device will remain in effect.

Is a Second DUI Violation Considered a Felony?

Like we noted earlier, you’ll likely receive a misdemeanor violation the first time you’re guilty of impaired driving. But what about the second time you violate Arizona’s DUI laws? Will you be charged with a felony then?

The answer depends on a few factors.

The charge you ultimately receive will depend on whether you caused injury while drunk driving. Causing serious injury typically means that your charge will go up to a felony.

They can also charge you with a more serious crime if you were drunk driving while someone under the age of fifteen was in the vehicle.

Basically, the same criteria that could lead to you receiving a felony for your first DUI violation still apply the second time around. However, there are additional factors they will look at.

Remember, they can suspend your driving privileges if you fail to attend Traffic Survival School. If they suspend your driving privileges, getting caught drunk driving again will result in a felony charge.

If the arresting officer finds that a certified ignition interlock device was attached to your vehicle when you were driving drunk, you can expect to receive a felony. That device is supposed to prevent the vehicle from starting if your BAC level is over the legal limit. The fact that you were drunk driving means that you either tampered with or circumvented the device in some way.

What Are the Penalties for a Second Misdemeanor DUI Violation?

The penalties will be harsher the second time you receive a misdemeanor DUI violation.

Mandatory jail time will be a minimum of ninety days. Meanwhile, your minimum fine will be $3,000. You will also render community service again.

A certified ignition interlock device will again be attached to your vehicle. Repeat violators will also undergo alcohol education, screening, and treatment.

Lastly, they will revoke your driver’s license for twelve months. That will be the case even if you decide to attend Traffic Survival School.

What Is Aggravated DUI?

To put it simply, aggravated DUI is what you’ll receive if your DUI violation goes from being a misdemeanor to a felony. So, what constitutes an aggravated DUI charge in Arizona? The courts will look at a variety of factors when determining that.

First, they’ll consider if your drunk driving led to injury or possibly even cause someone’s death.

Next, the courts will consider if you were driving recklessly while under the influence of alcohol. A factor they consider is the age of the passengers with you.  If someone under the age of fifteen was in your vehicle while you were driving drunk, you would likely receive a felony.

Also, driving in the wrong direction while drunk is another example of being reckless on the road. You could get a felony because of that.

The courts will also not take kindly to you if you ignored their orders. Driving sober with a revoked license can already get you in plenty of hot water. Driving drunk with a revoked license will lead to a felony charge.

You should also avoid messing with your certified ignition interlock device. Felony charges will be handed down to a drunk driver with certified ignition interlock devices attached to their vehicle.

One more factor that matters in aggravated DUI cases is the number of times you’ve been arrested for this same violation. Arizona law dictates that drivers who are caught driving drunk a third time within a span of eighty-four months will be charged with a felony. Subsequent violations will also lead to a felony.

What Are the Penalties for an Aggravated DUI Charge?

The penalties handed down for aggravated DUI charges are mostly similar to the ones that are attached to misdemeanor cases. Guilty parties will attend alcohol education, screening, and treatment. They will also need to perform community and get a certified ignition interlock device attached to their vehicle.

A person guilty of aggravated DUI will also have their driver’s license revoked for twelve months.

The most significant difference between the penalties handed down for misdemeanor and felony DUI charges is the type of incarceration they will receive.

Individuals guilty of aggravated DUI can count on harsher punishment in that regard. The time they spend incarcerated will be no more than two years. On top of that, they will also serve their sentence in prison instead of jail.

felony dui checkpoint

What Are Other Ways a Person May Be in Violation of Arizona’s DUI Laws?

Arizona residents should know that you don’t need to fail a test to violate the state’s DUI laws. If you’ve been stopped because they suspected you were driving under the influence and you refused the tests, they can revoke your driver’s license for up to twelve months.

Drivers who refuse the test a second time within 84 months may lose their license for a longer period. In that case, the period of revocation could last for two years.

Losing your driver’s license is already a significant inconvenience, but that’s not all you need to worry about. Drivers who refuse the test will also undergo alcohol screening before their driver’s license can be reinstated.

How Can an Attorney Help if You’ve Been Charged with Drunk Driving?

There is no excuse for drunk driving. If you’ve had a few drinks, you have no business getting behind the wheel of your vehicle. Ride with a sober friend, book a ride via a ridesharing app, or hop into a taxi if you want to get home while you’re still intoxicated.

Still, even responsible people can make mistakes from time to time. If you believe that you did make a mistake, but you did not commit a felony, an attorney can help you out.

Your attorney could argue that the police officers were using faulty equipment when they tested your BAC level. An attorney could also argue that you did not know you had consumed an alcoholic drink before you got into your vehicle.

They can use different defenses in DUI cases to prove your innocence. Partner up with a skilled and experienced Arizona attorney if you want justice for your case.

Arizona residents in need of an attorney can approach us at the Schill Law Group for assistance. Contact us today, and we’ll help you fight any erroneous charges against you.