Drunk Driving Laws
DUI Attorney Serving Tempe and the Surrounding Areas
James Novak is a Tempe DUI lawyer who represents people throughout the Phoenix area who have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As a former prosecutor, he is familiar with the strategies that may be used against a defendant and can craft a persuasive case to fight back against them. With more than 17 years of experience in DUI defense, he fights aggressively to get charges dropped or reduced whenever possible. Mr. Novak is committed to a comprehensive approach to legal representation, taking the time to understand each person’s needs and carefully guiding clients through the legal process.
Drunk Driving Laws in Arizona
Drivers in Arizona need to understand that state laws are strict when it comes to operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Knowing your rights and protections under the law is a key part of avoiding an arrest or conviction. So is consulting an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you assert those rights and protections in the courtroom.
Most DUI charges in Arizona are based on blood alcohol content, which can be measured using a breathalyzer device or a chemical blood, breath, or urine test. It is illegal to get behind the wheel with a BAC of .08 percent or higher. Penalties vary based on the circumstances and the driver’s prior DUI history, but they may include up to six months in jail, substantial fines, a license suspension or restriction, community service, and counseling.
A driver who has a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher is likely to be charged with extreme DUI, a crime that leads to stiffer penalties. These may include the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), which forces a driver to take a breath test before being able to operate a vehicle and throughout the course of each trip. A super extreme DUI involves drivers who register a BAC of more than 0.20 percent. This is a class 1 misdemeanor that comes with a minimum 45-day jail sentence, a license suspension, heavy fines, and up to five years of probation. Other circumstances, like driving under the influence with a minor in the car or fleeing the scene of a DUI accident, also often warrant more stringent penalties.
Proving Control of the Car
State law requires prosecutors to show that a person charged with DUI was in “actual physical control” of a vehicle at the time that he or she was intoxicated. This may be clear in cases in which the driver is pulled over and observed behind the wheel. But state law also allows law enforcement to charge a person with DUI even if they cannot prove that he or she was actually driving at the time. In those cases, prosecutors need to show that the person’s control of the car was imminent and that this control presented a danger to the public. Courts typically look at circumstances like the location of the keys and the person in the car, the time of day, whether the person was found awake or asleep, and whether the vehicle was stopped.
Legal Protections in DUI Cases
Arizona law also gives drivers a number of protections in the event that they are suspected of or charged with DUI. In order to pull a car over in the first place, the police must have a reasonable suspicion of a traffic offense or other criminal activity. At that point, you also have the right to remain silent and to decline any requests to search your car. It is important that you take advantage of these rights, even if an officer continues to question you or searches the car without your permission. Simply state in a calm, polite manner that you will not make any statements until you have a lawyer present and that you do not consent to any searches.
Discuss Your DUI Case with a Tempe Lawyer
Tempe DUI attorney James Novak helps his clients build the strongest possible defenses as early in the process as possible. He guides defendants through this stressful and complicated process with knowledge, experience, and compassion. Mr. Novak has a strong history of helping clients minimize or avoid penalties in drunk driving cases. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI in the Phoenix area, contact our firm online or at (480) 413-1499. From our Tempe offices, we proudly represent people in Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and throughout Maricopa County. Schedule a free consultation with knowledgeable drunk driving attorney James Novak today.