This will depend on the situation. Is the DUI a first time offense? Was there an accident involved? What is the BAC (Blood Alcohol Content)? Do you have an attorney to help represent you and speed up the process? Will there be a trial?
If you do not understand your rights or or the Arizona DUI law and process, you need to call My AZ Lawyers for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION. Let the experts in Arizona DUI law facilitate this process, which is confusing and somewhat complicated if you are unfamiliar with these procedures.
Once you are arrested for a crime, you are a defendant, an accused citizen. Basically, you are presumed innocent until proven otherwise. The DUI process in Arizona, a process in which to prove or disprove your innocence, is a formality governed by the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure. These rules set a structure in which your case will proceed through the courts.
THE ARIZONA DUI PROCESS
THE TRAFFIC STOP AND ARREST
A DUI arrest starts when you are pulled over by an officer, or when you come upon a DUI checkpoint. Some stops are made if an officer observes a traffic violation or erratic driving behaviors. Other DUI arrests are made in roadblocks or sobriety checkpoints.
An officer is required to read you your “Miranda rights” once you are arrested. Your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney will be stated then. A BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) test will be administrated either at a mobil BAC station or at a hospital or a police station.
Usually, most who are arrested for a simple DUI in Arizona will not go to jail and be booked. If you do get taken to jail for booking, you will be searched, asked some questions, fingerprinted, photographed, and put in a cell. The jail will have information for friends and family of the arrested person including bail information, where the person is being held, etc.
For a “standard” first-time DUI offense, once the police have the BAC results, they will most likely have the information they need. In the case of a felony DUI arrest, the prosecutor’s office and police may need to do more investigating into your prior record. This may take some time. Once law enforcement has adequate information to issue charges, generally they will file, issue you a citation to a court, and issue you a court date. Felony DUIs, however, are prosecuted in superior court (misdemeanors are handled by a justice or city court) and a prosecutor decides which charges to file.
COURT APPEARANCE – HEARINGS – ARRAIGNMENT – BAIL
If you are arrested and taken into custody, typically you will get a hearing within 24 hours. When you appear for the first time, the judge will look at Bail issues and conditions of your release. Usually bail is granted, but how much it is set for depends.
In felony cases, a preliminary hearing is necessary. If the charge has been brought by the prosecutor, then that preliminary hearing is where a judge will decide if there is enough probable cause and evidence to send the case to Superior Court for a trial.
THIS IS WHERE AN ARIZONA CRIMINAL / DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEY CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE IN THE OUTCOME OF YOR CASE.
The fact that a lawyer is hired may indicate that the defendant is taking matters seriously and is acting responsibly about the charges. An attorney will discuss with the court factors that may weigh in favor of the accused: lack of prior criminal history, outstanding community member, etc. Next, at an arraignment, the defendant is informed of the formal charges in open court. At this point a plea is entered (not guilty, guilty, no contest).
A pretrial conference allows your attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor. The State may offer your attorney a “deal.” An experienced attorney will then discuss the deal with you, give you options, and recommend to you what to do—- keeping in mind your best interests and best possible outcome.
TRIAL and JURY SELECTION
In a DUI case, most trials are tried to a jury. You have the right to a trial by jury. Your lawyer is an important part of the selection process. Picking the right jurors can obviously better your chances of a positive outcome for your case.
At the trial, both the prosecutor and defense attorney gives an opening statement and previews the evidence to come later. The State presents its case, then the Defense may make a motion to dismiss based on the State failing to present evidence to convict. If the case is not dismissed, then the defendant presents a case. After closing arguments and case summation, a jury will deliberate, discuss the case, then render a verdict.
SENTENCING and APPEAL
Sentencing following a guilty verdict may occur right away, or sometimes there is a delay. A defendant may appeal a conviction.