By: James Novak, Arizona DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are arrested for a DUI in Arizona, there are things you can do to increase your chances of getting a good outcome in your case. It begins with you. Here are at least 10 things you can to do or begin to do within 24 hours of your DUI arrest in AZ. (Excerpts are from the book “24 things you should do Following Your AZ DUI Arrest” © from the DUI winning strategies book series, written by James Novak, experienced Arizona DUI defense attorney. These DUI defense tips, elements, facts and things you need to do and can do could make the difference between an Arizona DUI conviction and a total dismissal of your charges:
1) AZ DUI Defense: Consult a DUI Attorney who defends charges in the city and state where you were arrested to discuss your charges, and defense options. Retain an Arizona DUI or criminal defense attorney who defends DUI charges often in that court. The criminal justice system is a maze of laws, procedures, protocols and time lines. Attempting to fight your DUI without a good Arizona DUI defense attorney is almost always a fast track to a conviction or guilty verdict.
2) Write, Type, or Document in some form a Detailed Narrative of the Incident: Your Arizona DUI Defense will depend on these specific facts about your DUI and what took place at the DUI stop including statements by both you and the police officer. Your Attorney will examine all the facts to determine if there is an argument of violation of any of your Constitutional Rights in your defense. Document events who, what, why, where, and when that night or day, what and when you ate, drank, or took any medications or drugs Document weather conditions and landscaping such as large snow drifts blocking a sign, large hail stones slamming on to your windshield and the like. Note, a photo of the scene of the arrest and/or sobriety testing, photo or video of the terrain or landscaping, damage to a vehicle, injury to you or others may be critically important later when the actual evidence has disappeared.
3) Medications and Physical Limitations: Your condition(s) may have impaired your ability to perform the field sobriety tests or could be a reason for the officer’s improper conclusion that your driving was impaired.
4) Arizona DUI Documentation: Include copies for your DUI lawyer of all documents you were given during or after the arrest including citations, and tickets. Also, indicate what documents you told or presented to the police at the time of your arrest or thereafter. Documents belonging to you may contain dates, or evidence that may affect on your charges, and defense.
5) Contact the Arizona MVD If You Want a Hearing: In most cases the Arizona police will take your driver’s license and give you a copy of a notice of suspension and temporary license, unless you had an out-of-state license or the alleged DUI is drug-related instead of alcohol related. You have only 15 days from the date you received the notice, usually the arrest date, to request an MVD hearing. This hearing is also referred to as am Admin Per Se hearing. The MVD hearing and matter is a second civil matter, separate from your criminal charges. So there are two different entities to deal with A) the Arizona State or County Court & Prosecution and B) The Arizona MVD -Motor Vehicle Department.
6) Calendar Your Court Date, Time and Location: If you ignore or forget to appear or are late at your designated court date and time, the Arizona court will immediately issue a warrant for your arrest. The court date and time is on your citation. This may change if you hire an experienced DUI attorney. Depending on the charges and circumstances, your Attorney may be able to vacate that date or otherwise appear on your behalf.
7) Get Your Auto Back If Impounded: Arizona grants authority to law enforcement agencies to impound of the vehicle you were driving for up to 30 days if arrested for DUI, at the expense of the owner or driver. If not, you will need to request an impound hearing. It is an informal hearing, and you do not need an attorney at that hearing. Most are conducted by phone. Therefore, read the impound instructions and request a hearing immediately so that the vehicle can be released from impound.
8) Photograph the Location and Vehicle involved in the Stop or Arrest: Your DUI attorney will explain that photographs of things that the police relied on as a reason for the stop may be challenged if the facts support it. Photograph anything that is related and referenced by the police such as objects that may have been hit or otherwise barriers such as other vehicles, light signals, trees, mechanical items such as failed turn signal lights, brake lights, tail lights, traffic signs or signals, visual barriers such as long branches, trees, large objects, downed electrical lines, covering a
9) Get Proper Insurance, Registration and resolve unpaid fines or tickets: If you were cited for not having insurance or proper registration you must get either and provide proof. If you neglect past problems with your driver’s license it may pile up and become worse with after any DUI conviction or any other points you may receive on the citation such as a reduced charge of reckless driving which carries 8 points against your driving record just like a DUI.
You can take control of your criminal or DUI charges now, by hiring a good Arizona DUI lawyer. The police have made up their mind. The Arizona prosecution will be working hard to get You convicted. By doing these things you will enable your Attorney to build a solid defense case on your behalf. An Arizona DUI arrest or other criminal charge in Arizona is not a conviction. You are innocent until and only if you are proven guilty. Everyone makes mistakes. More importantly is how we recover from them, and what we do to get back on our feet to work toward a favorable outcome.