Thursday, September 26, 2019

Arizona’s Zero-Tolerance DUI Laws: What You Need to Know

What Does the Zero Tolerance Mean for a DUI Offense

Arizona is a zero-tolerance state, which means that certain things that are not punishable in other states can still lead to a DUI charge in Arizona. Don’t worry, though, the DUI laws aren’t as encompassing, intrusive, or as strict as you might think. There are certain limitations put into place as a way to protect the general public – including you as the accused.

Here’s what you should know about Arizona’s zero-tolerance DUI laws:

Zero Tolerance in Numbers

For most States, the legal limit is below 0.08%. What happens if the reading is exactly at 0.08%? That’s still the legal limit. This means that if the breathalyzer or blood test comes back with a reading of 0.08% or less than that, you’re still considered capable of driving and you won’t be arrested. In Arizona, you can be arrested even if the breathalyzer gives a reading below 0.08% because of the zero-tolerance approach. This means that if the arresting officer perceives that you are “impaired” as a driver, he can still arrest you for DUI. Note though that there’s still a limitation to this. According to State laws, it “may” be presumed that the defendant is not intoxicated if the reading is below 0.05%. Hence if there’s a return of 0.05% or less, there’s a presumption that you’re not intoxicated. Unfortunately, the term used is “may,” which means that it’s still up to the discretion of the arresting officer. This is why the input of a lawyer is crucial to help weigh the cards in your favor.

Impairment Meaning in DUI

Impairment is a technical term used in DUI with a fairly flexible definition as it pertains to cases. Since AZ is a zero-tolerance state, the degree of impairment is very strict. If the arresting officer judges that you’re in a condition less than perfect for driving, this might already be grounds for saying you are ‘impaired.’ In many cases, the BAC is the determining factor for impairment. Physical attributes such as slurred speech, failed field sobriety tests, erratic driving, glazed eyes, or any other unusual behavior may be seen as a sign of impairment. In some cases, even the smell of alcohol may be used as a justification, although this is subject to a good argument by an equally good DUI lawyer.

DUI Tiers

So let’s say you took a Breathalyzer test and the result is less than 0.08%, but you still get arrested. If this is your first time, then you’re up for a Standard DUI, and each succeeding one causes a tier increase. This is because AZ approaches DUI on tier levels. To avoid climbing the tier, you’ll need a good lawyer to make sure you don’t even get convicted for the first one. Here’s how the tier system works:

Standard DUI

Your first DUI offense is punishable in the minimum of 10 days of jail, with nine suspended, and around $1500 in fines. You also will be order to attend an alcohol screening and counseling program, and suspension of 90 days, with the possibility of a restricted permit after 30 of those days. An ignition interlock device will be installed for 12 months. Even a first offense has numerous ramifications. A low blood alcohol can be a defensible and therefore open to argument, but only if you get a good lawyer. Why is it important to have a first offense junked? Because the ramifications of a DUI as so draconian. The lasting effects of a conviction could haunt someone for years to come.

Extreme DUI

If you register more than 0.15% in the scale, this is an Extreme DUI with fines of around $2,780 for the first offense, not including jail and other associated costs. You get the same associated penalties of a program and license suspension as with the first offense Standard DUI, except there is more jail time involved - 30 days in jail, but 21 of which could be suspended if you install an Ignition Interlock Device.

Super Extreme DUI

Registering above 0.20% is classified as Super Extreme DUI with the first offense being $3,240 and 18 months’ worth of interlock installation. The same program is required and the same license suspension as the Standard DUI applies.  More jail time is involved - 45 days, with 31 of which could be suspended if you install an Ignition Interlock Device. The laws on DUI in Arizona cover a lot of factors and can be quite confusing if you’re not used to the procedure. Without proper counsel, you might find yourself being coaxed into a situation you don’t deserve. Seeking help from an established DUI defense team early on can help avoid these problems and help you get back on the road as soon as possible. Contact Robert A. Dodell for a free initial DUI consultation and find out what your rights are.    

The following article Arizona’s Zero-Tolerance DUI Laws: What You Need to Know Read more on: AZCrimLaw 

10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

(480) 860-4321


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

How Much Can An Arizona DUI Raise Your Insurance Rates?

Being convicted of a DUI is a serious matter. You will do jail time and lose your driving privileges. And there is a substantial risk your insurance premiums will go up.

DUI Arizona Laws

Under Arizona law, you can be found guilty of driving under the influence if your blood alcohol concentration is over the 0.08% limit. This is a standard DUI. You can be convicted of an extreme DUI if your BAC is above or at 0.15%. If you are a commercial driver, however, you can be convicted of a DUI with a BAC of just 0.04%. And, if you are an underage driver, even the slightest trace of alcohol can result in a “Baby” DUI. Also, you can be charged with an aggravated DUI under the following circumstances:
  • Driving while your license is revoked, canceled, or suspended
  • If you are transporting a passenger below 15 years old
  • Convicted of a DUI for the third time within a seven-year (84-month) period

Arizona DUI Penalties

Since the state has a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence, the penalties for DUI charges are severe. These harsh penalties are intended to act as a deterrent to discourage drivers from drunk driving. For a first time offender with a standard DUI, the penalties include jail time from 24 hours to ten days, minimum fines of approximately $1,600 (plus a monitoring fee and jail costs), and suspension of license for 90-days or one-year revocation. In addition, the offender must have an IID installed in every vehicle they use for 12 months, along with an alcohol or drug screening and education treatment program. They may also be required to perform community service. Repeat offenders who have had second standard DUI face 90 days jail time, approximately $3500 in fines, and a 12-month license revocation. An IID will be installed in all vehicles they use for 12 months, and they must perform 30 hours of community service. They are also required to undergo an alcohol or drug screening and education treatment program. Penalties for aggravated and extreme DUIs are much more severe, with longer jail sentences and higher fines, as well as longer suspension of driving privileges. Underage DUIs come with the most severe penalties, with a maximum 180 days of jail time, and fines and fees of as much as $4,575 as well as suspension of driving privileges for as long as two years. In Arizona, a DUI conviction will stay on your record, even if you have only been convicted of a misdemeanor. However, you can petition the court to have your conviction “set aside,” meaning it will be removed from your record.

Insurance Premium Increases

Should your insurance company learn of the DUI conviction, you should expect your car insurance to cost you much more. In fact, you should not be surprised if your average car insurance rates more than double. The insurance provider now classifies you as a “high risk” driver and thus, will charge you higher rates to be insured. You should also expect that these rate increases will last for a minimum of three years and a maximum of seven years or more, depending on the severity of the DUI and if you are a repeat offender. You may have to required by the Motor Vehicle Department to obtain a SR-22 insurance policy from your insurance company. This is also known as a financial responsibility or certificate of insurance form. This vehicle liability insurance form certifies that you have met state requirements for liability insurance. The insurance company is also required to inform the DMV if your policy has been cancelled or you have allowed it to lapse. If you have been with a DUI, get in touch with a lawyer immediately to handle your case. Hire an experienced DUI Attorney; Robert Dodell has over 30 years as a practicing criminal lawyer who has also worked as a prosecutor in the past. He is there to get you the best outcome for your case.    

How Much Can An Arizona DUI Raise Your Insurance Rates?

10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

(480) 860-4321


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Common Defenses Against Aggravated Assault Charges

What is an Aggravated Assault and Common Defenses?

Aggravated Assault is defined under ARS 13-1204. The law provides that there is aggravated assault when there is an “assault,” and the following elements occur at the same time as the assault.

What Is Aggravated Assault?

Before discussing defenses, you have to first find out what assault means. Assault occurs when a person:
  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes physical injury to another person
  • Intentionally puts another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent bodily injury
  • Knowingly touches another person with the intent to injure, insult, or provoke said person
If any of the above occurs, that’s legally recognized as an assault. For it to be “aggravated assault,” the following elements must also be present:
  • That the physical injury caused is serious
  • The person uses a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument
  • A person commits assault via the use of force that results in substantial but temporary disfigurement, substantial but temporary impairment, or loss of any organ or any part of the body

Defenses Available

Due to the complexity of the law, there are several defenses available for a person charged with aggravated assault. Since this is a criminal case, the burden of proof is on the State to prove the offense. This means that the State must be the one who proves that all the elements mentioned above are present. So what defenses can you use? Here are some options:


Arizona law allows for self-defense as a possible reason to invalidate aggravated assault charges. Self-defense is allowed if you are protecting yourself from a perceived and imminent threat. This means that, while there was physical force or threats on your part, you only did so because the other person made you believe that it was necessary to protect yourself immediately. Typically, this defense is only accepted if the force you used to protect yourself is proportionate to the perceived threat. Hence, if someone is readying himself to punch you, then you can preemptively punch him first. This is considered an appropriate response – but stabbing them is not.

Defense of Others

The law also extends the privilege of self-defense to other people. For example, if you see a loved one or a friend being threatened or in what appears to be imminent danger. If this is the case, you can step in and use the appropriate amount of force to defend that person. Note though that you are still limited by the perceived attack. It has to be an appropriate response, which means that the physical force you use is not excessive, considering the physical abuse that the other person threatens.


Causation is also a good defense. It simply puts into question the validity of the perceived connection between the “injury” and the physical violence or threat. It answers the question: is the injury caused by the person being charged with the crime? For example, if a person is drunk – it can be argued that their injury was their own fault, or the injury would have occurred even without the intervention of the accused. This is also a possible defense in instances where the injury occurred in crowded places, putting into question the possibility that some other person did the damage.

Violation of Constitutional Guarantee

Another good defense is by questioning the validity of the evidence and having it eliminated from the presentation. This occurs when authorities collect evidence without the benefit of a search warrant or warrant of arrest. Any evidence obtained without a warrant may be excluded from presentation and therefore, may not be considered when a decision is being made by the judge. This is one of the most fundamental policies of the State, and it can be tough for the prosecution to bargain against it. With vital evidence gone from the table, a State’s case becomes more difficult.

Consulting the Right Arizona Lawyer

The possibilities for an aggravated assault defense are numerous, with the law requiring the highest quality of proof before deciding on the case. This is why the right lawyer is important, giving you the chance to break down the situation into pieces that can be analyzed and presented in the best light. Due to the many factors involved here, it pays to have someone with the experience and legal know-how to present your stance in the most favorable light. Hiring the right lawyer, like Robert A. Dodell, can help get the right result.    

The following post Common Defenses Against Aggravated Assault Charges was first published on AZCrimLaw and associates

10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

(480) 860-4321