For many people, a DUI stop and arrest is many things: It is terrifying (it is often a first encounter with law enforcement), it is stressful and it can also be deeply embarrassing.
Because of this, many people simply want to get through the process as quickly as possible. In many cases, people choose not to hire an attorney, and simply plead guilty to the DUI charge. Make no mistake: Here in Arizona, a DUI arrest is extremely serious. If you do not talk to a lawyer about your rights and options, you could face serious consequences.
What is at stake?
In Arizona, a first offense standard DUI could mean up to 10 days in jail, $1,500 in fines, a loss of driving privileges for 90 days to a full year and mandatory use of an ignition interlock device for a year. The penalties greatly increase if your blood alcohol content was .15 or higher. You could be looking at a month or more in jail.
What an attorney can do for you
When you talk with an attorney, you are sending a message to prosecutors and law enforcement that you are taking your rights seriously.
Your attorney should be familiar with Arizona's DUI laws and police procedures for executing a DUI stop. He or she will then be able to look into the details of your stop. You may be surprised to learn that police performing the stop incorrectly - such as administering a breath test incorrectly or failing to provide probable cause for your arrest - could give you grounds to have a judge dismiss or reduce your charges.
When you do not talk to a criminal defense lawyer, you are essentially giving up the opportunity to minimize the effects of your arrest. Do not assume that judges or prosecutors will take pity on you because this is a first offense or a mistake.