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Law enforcement officers prioritize catching drunk drivers and getting them off the road. If you were arrested for a first-time DUI in Chandler—or your first DUI charge in the past seven years—contact an experienced attorney immediately.
DUI is a serious crime punishable by severe penalties in Arizona. The law imposes mandatory jail time and stiff fines even for a first offense. However, a failed breath or blood test is not the end of the matter. Grand Canyon Law Group knows how to craft effective defenses and protect your way of life.
A first-time DUI seems self-explanatory. If a defendant has not been convicted of a DUI in the past, they qualify for the somewhat more lenient punishment afforded a first offender in Arizona.
However, a person with a previous DUI conviction also could face first-time DUI charges if the conviction happened more than seven years ago. In other words, prosecutors only look back seven years when deciding how to charge a DUI. Prior convictions do not count if enough time passes between an arrest and the most recent conviction.
Arizona Revised Statute §28-1381 defines DUI as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08 or driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. A driver’s alcohol levels could be within the legal limit, but they could face a DUI charge if an officer noted signs of impaired driving. A defendant faces strict administrative and criminal penalties even for a first offense.
The Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) will suspend a driver’s license for 90 days when the police notify of a failed or refused sobriety test or a DUI arrest. The driver is entitled to a hearing to challenge the suspension.
A Chandler first-time DUI attorney can request a DMV hearing and represent the driver. The arresting officer typically will testify at the hearing. The administrative judge only needs to find it more likely than not that a driver was intoxicated to uphold the license suspension.
If the driver completes 30 days of a license suspension, they could petition for a restricted license to drive to and from work or school. When the defendant resumes driving, they must install and maintain an ignition interlock device for at least one year.
A first-time DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor. It carries a potential sentence of six months in jail, but ten consecutive days are “mandatory.” In many cases, our skilled Chandler lawyers can arrange for a suspension of nine days of the sentence if the first-time DUI offender completes drug or alcohol screening. Fines are a minimum of $1250, plus surcharges.
Defendants also must take a driver education course and any treatment recommended after drug screening. They could receive probation which might include community service.
If a defendant admits to drinking and fails a chemical test, they might decide that pleading guilty to a DUI is the most cost-effective response. This would be a mistake. The costs of a DUI conviction far exceed the costs of criminal defense in most cases.
A defendant must pay the costs of the drug screening, any drug treatment, traffic school, counseling if the judge orders it, and the nights they spend in jail. They will incur transportation costs while their license is suspended, and once they begin driving again, the ignition interlock device installation and maintenance could total $1500 annually. Car insurance rates could go up by $3000 a year or more. These expenses are in addition to the criminal fines and surcharges.
Grand Canyon Law Group will fight to get a first-time DUI reduced or dismissed, avoiding many of the costs of conviction. Speak with an experienced lawyer before making any decisions about handling the charges.
A DUI arrest can be terrifying, and with good reason. You face significant consequences if you are convicted. However, you have many legal options for defending your case with seasoned legal counsel.
Working with a capable attorney at Grand Canyon Law Group is your best chance to protect your rights and preserve your future. Reach out if you have been charged with a first-time DUI in Chandler. Call our firm for a consultation.