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Arizona punishes DUI offenses severely. When you face aggravated felony charges, you will likely receive a prison sentence upon conviction, even for a first offense. A felony conviction will also lead to losing your right to vote and own a gun and could impact your professional licenses or immigration status.
Contact a Chandler felony DUI lawyer immediately after your arrest. An experienced attorney at Grand Canyon Law Group can challenge the police’s evidence to get the charge reduced or dismissed. When prosecutors are unwilling to reduce or drop charges, our legal team will work to secure the most favorable outcome possible.
It is illegal to drive or have physical control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 is guilty of DUI, but someone under 21 or who shows impairment could be guilty even with a lower BAC.
Most charges related to driving under the influence are misdemeanors, but certain aggravating circumstances described in Arizona Revised Statute §28-1383 could elevate a straight DUI charge to a felony charge. Driving under the influence with a child under 15 in the vehicle is a Class 6 felony. Prosecutors can charge someone with a Class 4 felony if they were driving while intoxicated and one of the following is true:
Driving under the influence and causing an accident with injuries could also lead to felony charges of aggravated assault or manslaughter.
A prosecutor could bring a felony DUI charge even if it is the driver’s first criminal offense. Our skilled Chandler attorneys will work to prove that a prosecutor has insufficient proof of aggravating circumstances to merit a felony DUI charge.
Most aggravated DUI charges are Class 4 felonies. Someone without prior DUI or felony convictions faces a mandatory minimum of four months in state prison, which cannot be suspended. The minimum prison sentence is eight months if the offender has three prior DUI convictions. The judge has the discretion to sentence a first offender to up to two years in prison. Sentences are substantially harsher if the offender has prior felony convictions, even if they are unrelated to DUI.
If the offender was convicted of a Class 6 felony for driving while intoxicated with a young person in the vehicle, the penalties mirror those for misdemeanor DUI. However, the time must be served in prison rather than county jail, and a felony conviction appears on the offender’s record. Offenders must serve at least:
In addition to prison time, felony DUIs carry other harsh penalties. The driver’s license is suspended for three years; after reinstation, they must use an ignition interlock device for at least two years (or one year if the intoxicant was drugs and not alcohol). The driver also must complete a drug and alcohol screening and take a traffic survival class. The seasoned lawyers at our firm can work to get an aggravated DUI reduced to a misdemeanor charge to prevent a felony conviction and associated penalties.
Anyone charged with aggravated DUI could defeat the charge by showing that the police’s proof of intoxication is inadequate or flawed. The felony DUI attorneys at our Chandler office could investigate whether the police used appropriate procedures to test the defendant for intoxication. We could question the equipment’s reliability, laboratory results, and training of the officer who administered the test.
Our legal team could build a defense around whether officers had a reasonable suspicion leading them to stop the vehicle and probable cause to ask for a sobriety test. If the basis for the stop or test was lacking, or the officers violated the driver’s rights, we could fight to get the charge withdrawn or dismissed.
Disputing the basis for bringing an aggravated charge is also a possible defense to felony DUI. For example, challenging whether an order for an ignition interlock was still in effect when the arrest happened could knock the offense down to a misdemeanor.
A conviction on an aggravated DUI charge has life-altering consequences. Do not risk your future by working with inexperienced legal counsel.
Contact a Chandler felony DUI lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. We have a long track record of success helping people in your position defend their futures. Call us today.