Arizona DUI Attorneys
Defense for Drunk Driving Charges in Arizona
DUI, or driving under the influence, is a crime or offense of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Drunk or impaired driving is taken seriously in all states. If you have been convicted of a DUI, you might lose your license, pay fines, and/or face jail time.
Having the right DUI attorney in Arizona is important to defend your rights and minimize damage. Call Oliverson & Huss Law PLLC at (480) 351-2228 to discuss your case.
DUI Laws in Arizona
The State of Arizona takes all DUI prosecutions seriously. Impaired driving may escalate into more severe crimes, depending on the facts and what transpires. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Arizona is a Class 1 misdemeanor for a first-time offense, unless some additional aggravating elements are present. The reality of DUI cases is that many upstanding citizens commit this offense at some point. Some people do not get arrested for it, and they go on with their lives not thinking twice about it. However, those who do get arrested quickly realize that an arrest and conviction for DUI/DWI in Arizona will have significant consequences.
It is very important to consult with and retain an aggressive and experienced Arizona DUI attorney who is knowledgeable on how these cases are investigated, prosecuted, and defended.
Misdemeanor DUI Offenses in Arizona
DUI under A.R.S. 28-1381(A)(1) through (A)(4). Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is governed under ARS 28-1381(A), which states:
It is unlawful for a person to (A) drive or (B) be in actual physical control of a vehicle in Arizona under any of the following circumstances:
- While under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance, or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree. ARS 28-1381(A)(1).
- If the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within two hours of (A) driving or (B) being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle. ARS 28-1381(A)(2).
- While there is any drug defined in [ARS] section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body. ARS 28-1381(A)(3).
- If the vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle that requires a person to obtain a commercial driver license as defined in section 28-3001 and the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more. ARS 28-1381(A)(4).
Were You Driving or in Actual Physical Control of a Vehicle?
DUI statutes in Arizona require a person to be either driving or be in “actual physical control” of a vehicle.
“Driving” means exactly what it states. This is the typical situation of a person being stopped while in the act of driving. There is not usually much factual dispute as to this element when the person is stopped while driving. However, a prosecution where a legitimate defense of “actual physical control” is raised may present some difficulties.
Actual physical control involves situations where law enforcement, or another witness, does not observe a person driving. This can occur in situations where a person’s vehicle is disabled for some reason, or is parked at a location with the person within a short proximity. There is a factual analysis in determining whether or not someone is in “actual physical control” of a vehicle. This is based on a 1995 Arizona Supreme Court case that ruled whether or not a driver could be found in actual physical control of a vehicle depended on the “totality of the circumstances,” which meant a jury was to look at all available facts (not just where the vehicle was, and whether the keys were in the ignition).
In fact, juries should consider the “totality of the circumstances” to determine whether the person’s current or imminent control of the vehicle presented a real danger to himself or herself or others at the time alleged.
Some of the factors to be considered in a “totality of the circumstances” analysis are:
- Was the vehicle running?
- Was the ignition on?
- What was the location of the keys?
- What position was the driver found in?
- Was the driver awake or asleep?
- Were the headlights on or off?
- Did the driver voluntarily pull off to the side of the road?
- What was the time of day?
- Was the heater or air conditioner on?
- Were the windows up or down?
- Was there any explanation for the circumstances shown by the evidence?