People who don't live in Arizona, or even Arizonians who don't live in Scottsdale or Maricopa County, are shocked when they learn about how DUI charges are initiated and prosecuted in Arizona. Not only are people horrified to learn that the police officers here can haul you into the jai and forcibly draw your blood themselves, but are more shocked by the draconian the sentencing scheme which provides for some of the harshest penalties in the nation.
Unfortunately, as many DUI defendants learn first-hand, the attitudes of the government officials prosecuting DUI's in Arizona demonstrates the absurdity as to how DUI's are handled in this State. Usually, DUI charges are prosecuted by City Prosecutors in one of the various City Courts around the Valley. City Courts do not handle felonies, only misdemeanors, and DUI's are often the most numerous types of cases in those courts. Sadly, instead of looking at a DUI charge as another misdemeanor offense, some of the Prosecutors view DUI charges as much more serious than other misdemeanor offenses like Criminal Damage or Misdemeanor Assault. These overzealous Prosecutors treat DUI charges more like a felony Robbery or Burglary case, attempting to punish to the maximum extent, whether the circumstances justify it or not.
The Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Regime enacted by the Legislature has compounded the exorbitant sentencing problem by taking the power away from the impartial Judge to determine a sentence that is appropriate and tailored to the specifics of an individual defendant's case. A Judge in Arizona now has certain sentences he must by law impose depending on what charge a Prosecutor has alleged. Thus, the State really does hold all the power in these situations. At our firm, we pride ourselves in maintaining good relationships with the State, and will work with the Prosecutors to show them your individual circumstances and try to get you the best deal possible.
If you are from out of state and are worried about a DUI charge in Arizona, or even if you live in Arizona, you need an attorney to help explain to you what potential punishments you are facing and how best to work your case going forward. At the Rosenstein Law Group, we strive to help our clients in every way possible. We even the odds.