The consequences of being convicted of drunk driving in Arizona are severe and could have life-altering consequences. If you’re questioning, “Is it worth it to hire a DUI lawyer,” the answer is usually yes.
Even in seemingly simple, relatively straightforward cases, an attorney can identify potential defenses and help you negotiate. The Law Office of Karl A. Mueller, PLC, is Gilbert’s trusted DUI attorney, representing clients facing DUI charges. Contact us for a free consultation.
5 Reasons to Consider Hiring a DUI Attorney
While you are not required by law to have an attorney represent you in a drunk driving charge, it can be incredibly beneficial. Even if you have a working knowledge of the criminal court system, a lawyer will be able to guide you through the legal process and help you achieve the best possible outcome, given the circumstances.
If you’re on the fence about whether to hire a DUI attorney, consider these five benefits:
- Legal knowledge and experience: Arizona DUI laws are complex, and the law is constantly changing. Even if you know the law, there could be a new update or court case that can affect your case. An experienced DUI attorney can navigate the court system with ease.
- Ability to challenge evidence: If you’ve been arrested for DUI charges, the cops have evidence they plan to use against you to result in a conviction. This evidence could include field sobriety tests, breathalyzer and blood test results, police reports, and your own testimony.There are specific rules about how police can gather evidence, and even whether they are legally allowed to pull you over. An attorney will thoroughly examine the case against you to find any evidence collected in violation of your rights.
- Advocate for your rights: No matter what crime you’re being charged with, you have legal rights that deserve to be protected. An attorney can serve as a powerful advocate, ensuring treatment and identifying any areas where your constitutional rights may have been violated.Having a lawyer by your side is also important for getting advice about how to interact with law enforcement and common mistakes to avoid that could compromise your case.
- Plea bargaining: If you decide to plead guilty to the charges, an attorney can guide you through the plea bargaining process. This can result in a resolution of your case without a trial and reduced charges.
- Legal representation: Whether your case goes to trial or you are able to negotiate outside of the courtroom, an attorney will be by your side to either have charges dismissed, get a not-guilty verdict, or minimize the potential consequences of a conviction. For example, your attorney may propose alternative sentencing measures or diversion programs to minimize the long-term consequences of a conviction.
No matter how highly the odds seem stacked against you, The Law Office of Karl A. Mueller, PLC, can help. Depending on the facts of your case, we will seek minimal penalties or argue to have your charges dropped.
Consequences of Being Convicted of DUI Charges
Because Arizona is ranked among the top 10 states for drunk driving fatalities, penalties in this state can be incredibly harsh. If convicted, you could face some or all of these consequences:
- Fines: Even for a first DUI offense, fines may be significant. The fine also depends on how much alcohol you have in your system. Fines range from $1,250 to more than $3,250.
- Jail time: Again, the amount of jail time varies. A first-offense conviction carries a sentence of at least 10 days, and an aggravated DUI conviction can lead to a sentence of up to two years.
- Revoked Arizona driving privileges: Repeat DUI offenders are subject to license suspension lasting 12 months.
- Mandatory vehicle devices: An ignition interlock device may be installed on your vehicle as a condition of being released from jail and having driving privileges restored. This device functions like a breathalyzer and must be used every single time you wish to operate your vehicle.
- Higher insurance premiums: Car insurance companies typically increase the cost of coverage for drivers convicted of a DUI.Further, you may also be required to obtain SR-22 insurance, which is a certificate of proof of insurance that Arizona mandates for drivers with violations such as DUI or reckless driving. This certification may also increase your insurance premiums for up to three years.
- Driver training: After a DUI, you will likely be required to attend defensive driving school, which can be a substantial time and financial investment.
- Missed work: Fighting DUI charges and any resulting conviction can lead to taking time off work for hearings, community service, and other duties.
- Vehicle impounding: Your vehicle could also be impounded for 30 days. There is an impound fee and daily storage fees associated with vehicle impounds.
- Criminal record: If you get convicted of DUI, these charges can become a part of your permanent criminal record. This could affect your ability to secure employment or housing.
Please note that every DUI case is different. The circumstances of the arrest, the evidence against you, and whether you have prior DUI convictions will greatly influence outcomes.
Qualifications To Seek in DUI Attorneys
For the most effective DUI defense, you need an attorney prepared to handle your case and will put forth their best effort on your behalf.
First and foremost, you should look for a DUI attorney who has experience handling DUI cases. That might seem obvious, but there are multiple fields of law, and an attorney who does real estate or divorce, for example, is unlikely to have the knowledge of DUI laws that is required to adequately represent you.
It’s also recommended that you inquire about an attorney’s track record and ask how they would approach your case. Every attorney is different, so you may need to shop around to find a good fit.
The Bottom Line
Don’t risk your future by forfeiting your right to have an attorney in your DUI case. At The Law Office of Karl A. Mueller, PLC, we offer free consultations and will give your case everything we’ve got. Call us at (602) 697-8761 to discuss your c