Friday, November 5, 2010

Third Time Around : Felony DUI Penalties in Arizona

You feel like you have been here before. You've made few mistakes in the past, and the two previous DUI convictions were challenging to deal with. Once you have been convicted of a first DUI offense, the penalties become increasingly steep. While the law is more lenient toward first time offenders, as your charges accumulate the judges are less and less likely to be forgiving.

In Arizona, while most drunk driving charges are misdemeanors, after your third DUI within seven years, the charge is considered a felony, regardless of the level of your blood alcohol content. The penalties are harsh, including:

• Being charged with a class four felony
• A minimum prison sentence of four months, which could br greater, depending on your individual factors
• Fines can be levied in excess of several thousand dollars, depending on your violations
• Revocation of your drivers' license for three years
• If you receive probation, you will likely have to attend and pay for counseling and treatment sessions
• After your release, you could be placed on probation for up to five additional years
• If you are the owner of the car you were driving when you were arrested for drunk driving, the court may seize your vehicle from you

It is important to note that if you have any sort of additional criminal history, other than your previous DUI convictions, some of these penalties may be assessed more harshly, including the imposition of a longer jail term if the court finds appropriate.

If you have been charged with a felony DUI in Arizona, it is imperative to hire an experienced DUI attorney to represent you. A DUI lawyer in Phoenix can explain to you what to expect from the local court system in light of the serious nature of the charges, plan a strategy to fight for your rights, and assist you in obtaining the best possible outcome. Some ways in which an experienced DUI lawyer in Arizona can help include:

• Getting inadmissible evidence thrown out
• Looking for any violation of your constitutional rights
• Inquiring into the arresting officer's background and experience
• Questioning whether probable cause for the initial stop existed
• Asking about the officer's reasonable suspicion that led him to pull you over
• Finding errors in the blood alcohol testing methods and procedures

By making sure you have someone to help you tell your side of the story, you increase your chances of success and make a positive resolution to your DUI charges. Remember, Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws on record, so make sure you take the charges seriously and protect your rights.


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