Arizona DUI Process and Punishments

Most DUI arrests start with a traffic stop. An officer may pull you over for a moving violation, such as speeding or making an unsafe lane change, or for a nonmoving violation, such as an expired registration plate. At that time the officer will collect your information to decide whether to write you a ticket, at which time he or she may feel there is reason to believe you may be impaired. Arizona’s implied consent laws require you to submit to certain tests or face a driver’s license suspension.

Other DUI arrests may occur afterwards if you were in a traffic accident and sent immediately to emergency care, and the investigating officer found reason to believe the accident was the result of intoxication.

Court Processes

The arresting officer takes you to a booking center, where you are searched, photographed and fingerprinted. The charges may not be filed immediately, as the prosecutor can review the probable cause and wait for test results and prior DUI history. You may want to talk to an attorney at this critical time, in order to begin preparing potential defenses.

Once you are slated into court, a judge will explain your charges and rights at an initial hearing. You will then be allowed one or more pretrial conferences, at which you will receive all the evidence the prosecutor plans to use against you and possibly negotiate a deal. Your attorney may be able to use that time to have some of the evidence excluded, so it can’t be used against you.

If you successfully negotiate a plea, you will submit your plea in open court and have it approved by a judge. Otherwise, you will go to trial, where you will have a chance to convince a jury of your peers that you are not guilty.


There is a large difference between the possible minimum and maximum punishments for a DUI case. At stake are your freedom, your money, and your driving privileges. Anyone convicted of DUI is subject to drug and alcohol screening and can be ordered to pay for the use of an interlock device for at least 12 months.

For a first offense DUI, you can be punished by at least one to ten days in jail. The court can fine you at least $250, but you will probably pay closer to $1,500. You will have a license suspension of 90 to 360 days, and could be ordered to a year of probation, which you would need to pay for. Your attorney may be able to negotiate a more favorable outcome, even asking for alternatives to jail time. A second DUI carries a one year license suspension, and at least 30 to 90 days in jail. With felony DUIs, you can be ordered significant prison terms, with for instance a two-year sentence for an Aggravated DUI charge.

At Horan Law Offices, P.C., we are experienced at dealing with DUI cases and fight hard at every level. We will continue to work aggressively to win your case through the end. Please call or email today if you have a DUI, or believe you may be charged with one.

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