Tucson DUI Attorneys
The DUI Defense Firm You Want on Your Side — the Other DUI Squad
Nesci & St. Louis is a nationally recognized, highly respected Tucson DUI firm. We have earned our reputation as uncompromising, effective DUI defense lawyers by employing our aggressive litigation style and using our extensive training in all areas of DUI defense to obtain the best possible results for our clients. Learn how our attorneys’ combined experience of nearly 40 years and vast knowledge of Arizona DUI laws bring you the best possible outcome in your drunk driving charge.
All drivers should be aware of their rights when being pulled over for a DUI, click here to read Joe St. Louis' article regarding the Do's & Don'ts when being pulled over for a suspected DUI.
DUI Laws in Arizona
In Arizona, you can be charged with "driving under the influence" if you are operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. DUI laws in Arizona also apply for those under the influence of drugs. Arizona also applies the "Zero-Tolerance" laws to its underage drivers. Those under the legal drinking age of 21 can be charged with a DUI if they have any alcohol in their systems.
Effective Defenses in Challenging DUI Cases
Because our law firm is 100% dedicated to criminal and DUI defense, and representing individuals who have been injured or had their rights violated by the state or government, we devote our efforts and resources to developing successful tactics to fight charges in the criminal justice system. We take on the most challenging DUI cases, including:
- DUI Manslaughter & DUI Homicide — If you are accused of DUI driving (drugs or alcohol) and are involved in a fatal accident, you can be charged with negligent homicide, manslaughter or even second degree murder, which requires anyone convicted of that crime to serve 10-25 years in prison.
- DUI Felony Aggravated Assault — You can be charged with aggravated assault (carrying mandatory prison time if you are convicted) if you injure someone in an accident where you are accused of DUI driving (drugs or alcohol).
- DUI Felony Criminal Damage — You can be charged with a felony if you damage someone’s car or property while you are accused of DUI driving (drugs or alcohol).
- DUI Felony Endangerment — You can be charged with felony endangerment if you are accused of recklessly endangering the safety of others on roadway “with a substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury” (note how broad that category is) while you are accused of DUI driving (drugs or alcohol) This is typically charged when someone is charged with a DUI and there has been an accident, but no one was seriously injured.
- DUI with Child Abuse Charges — In addition to felony aggravated DUI charges, you may face companion child abuse charges if you are accused of driving while intoxicated (drugs or alcohol) with a child under the age of 15 in your vehicle.
- Felony Aggravated DUI Offenses — Felony aggravated DUI charges (drugs or alcohol) are filed if: 1) You have had two prior DUIs within seven years; 2) you were driving on an invalid driver license at the time of your DUI arrest; 3) you had a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle while driving under the influence; 4) you were ordered to have a breath-testing device (an ignition interlock) in any vehicle you drive at the time of your DUI arrest; or, 5) you were driving the wrong way on the highway when you were arrested for DUI.
- Extreme DUI and Super Extreme DUI — Extreme and super extreme DUI are defined by drunk driving statutes that apply to blood or breath alcohol content (BAC) of .150 or greater (extreme DUI) or .200 or greater (super extreme DUI), and these charges result in enhanced penalties.
- Minor Driving with Alcohol — Arizona applies zero tolerance DUI laws that penalize underage drinkers for driving with even trace amounts of alcohol or drugs in their systems and require the loss or restriction of the minor’s driving privileges for two years.
- DUI with Prior DUI Offenses & DUI while on Suspended License — A DUI arrest (drugs or alcohol) with prior DUI offenses or a DUI while driving on a suspended license can result in a more severe sentence, and you may be charged with an aggravated felony DUI.
- DUI Drugs (Driving Under the Influence of Illegal Drugs or Prescription Medications) — You can be charged with DUI for driving with a drug in your bloodstream, not just based on having an illegal drug in your system, but even if you are taking a medication pursuant to a doctor’s prescription.
- DUI Roadblocks & DUI Checkpoints — Protect your rights if you encounter DUI checkpoints or roadblocks by reading suggestions from our experienced lawyers.
- Commercial DUI — Being charged with DUI (drugs or alcohol) while driving on a commercial driver’s license may result in the loss of your CDL for a year, with a second DUI leading to lifetime loss of your CDL.
- License Suspension Hearings — Arizona allows you to challenge the suspension of your driving privileges at a motor vehicle license suspension hearing, which is a separate procedure from your criminal case, if you ask for the hearing within 15 days of the officer’s request that your license be suspended.
Arizona Implied Consent Law: What Are My Rights?
The implied consent law obligates anyone driving in Arizona to consent to a chemical test if an officer arrests the person for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. A chemical test can be a blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance test for determining the blood alcohol content (BAC) or blood drug content, but in the vast majority of cases the arresting officer requests a blood sample, a breath test, or both.
Law enforcement officials have the discretion to decide the type of test, or tests, you must take. To require that you submit to a breath or blood test, the officer must have probable cause to believe you were driving while intoxicated on drugs or alcohol, or that you were under the age of 21 and drove after drinking alcohol, and arrest you on a DUI charge. If a test result shows a BAC of .08 or higher, the state will add a second charge – DUI based on having an alcohol concentration of .08 or greater within two hours of driving. If the BAC comes back at .15 or higher, the state will add an extreme DUI charge, and if it comes back .20 or higher a super extreme DUI charge. When driving a commercial vehicle, it is a violation of the law if the BAC result is .04 or higher.
Can I Refuse a Chemical DUI Test in Arizona?
You can refuse a chemical test, but if you do so you face a twelve month suspension of your driving privileges, although you can get a restricted driver’s license after 90 days if you complete an alcohol evaluation and put a breath-tester (ignition interlock) in any vehicle that you drive. If the arresting officer believes that you are refusing to provide a blood or breath sample after being requested to do so, the officer must inform you of the consequences of refusal: Your license will be suspended for ninety days if you submit to the test and the result is .08 or above if you are 21 or older (or .04 if you are driving a commercial vehicle), although non-CDL drivers can get a restricted license - to and from work, school and medical appointments - after 30 days, if they complete an alcohol evaluation. However, if you refuse to provide a blood sample or complete a breath test, Motor Vehicle Division will impose the 12-month suspension described above.
Out of State DUI in Arizona
If you have an out-of-state driver’s license, Arizona’s MVD cannot suspend your driver’s license, but will suspend your right to drive in Arizona for the period of suspension. The state where your driver’s license was issued may take their own action against your license based on Arizona’s suspension of your driving privileges. Depending on the laws in the state where your license was issued, the suspension may be longer than 90 days. If the suspension by the Arizona MVD is based on a BAC result over .08, the suspension of your driving privileges in Arizona will be for a full 90 days, with no ability to get a restricted license after 30 days.
The officer can also apply to a judge for a warrant to draw your blood for testing, regardless of whether you consent (these warrants are routinely granted by judges). This means you can refuse to provide a blood sample or take a breath test, lose your license for a year, and the state can still obtain a blood test result to use against you in court. Refusing to submit to the chemical test results in the officer seizing your driver’s license or permit and issuing you an admin per se form which serves as a temporary license, valid for 15 days. This may also occur if you submit to a breath or blood test, however many officers wait until they have a BAC result to request that your license be suspended. This means that they will seize your license and issue an admin per se temporary license if your BAC from a breath test is .08 or above, and may issue an admin per se form at the time of your arrest if you provide a blood sample, or may wait until the blood test result is reported by the crime laboratory (usually 30-60 days later).
After 15 days, the Motor Vehicle Division will suspend your driving privileges, as described above, if you take no action. However, you have the right to an administrative hearing before your driving privileges are suspended, if you make that request within 15 days of the officer submitting a request to suspend your license, so time is of the essence. Call the experienced DUI lawyers at Nesci & St. Louis today.
Aggressive DUI Attorney in Arizona
When you take the chemical test, even though the officer decides whether to collect a blood sample, a breath sample, or both, you also have the right to obtain your own independent test, typically by going to a hospital and having a blood sample collected and tested privately. You can also ask to retest a sample of the blood collected by the state, although if the blood was not collected and stored properly, or has changed since it was collected, you will not get a reliable test result from a retest of the sample that the state collected.