Arizona tourism has grown substantially in recent years. Whether you are talking about people from the north coming to get away from the cold or visitors who come here to enjoy our increasingly plentiful year-round recreational activities at other times of the year, Arizona has come into its own as a tourist destination. With the increased number of visitors, however, comes the increased chance that some of them will find themselves on the wrong end of Arizona’s notoriously strict DUI laws.
Being arrested in your own hometown is frightening enough. Finding yourself behind bars while you are away on vacation is a completely different matter altogether. If you have been arrested for DUI while visiting Arizona, your first call should be to a qualified criminal defense lawyer who can protect your interests and resolve the matter in the least stressful manner possible. At Rosenstein Law Group, our DUI defense attorneys represent out-of-state clients from across the United States in Arizona drunk driving cases.
One of the most frequent questions we receive from out-of-state clients is with what lies ahead in terms of conviction and sentence. First, a conviction is not necessarily the only way out of this situation. As soon as you are arrested, you should contact our office. There is a chance that your DUI charges could be dropped or significantly reduced if we can successfully challenge the facts and evidence against you. However, in the unfortunate event that you are convicted, you will need to know the logistics of your potential sentence.
When you are convicted of DUI in Arizona, you may be facing very heavy fines and sanctions from the state of Arizona and from the Motor Vehicle Department in your home state. A DUI conviction in Arizona includes the payment of several types of fines concerning fines, court costs and jail costs. If you are convicted, you will pay these fines to the state of Arizona. This is because a DUI in Arizona is first and foremost a violation of Arizona’s traffic laws and because the processing of your case is handled in Arizona using the state’s resources. The fines cannot be paid to your home state, and you cannot appeal the fines when you go back to your home state.
The subject of jail time is perhaps the most troubling for out-of-state drivers convicted of DUI in Arizona. The laws of the state require jail time for all DUI convictions, even a regular first-time offense. A jail sentence can be the most burdensome element in a DUI conviction because it keeps you from returning to your home and to your employment. DUI sentences can carry a jail sentence of at least one to 45 days in jail depending on the circumstances. While jail time is inconvenient for anyone, even an Arizona resident, alternatives such as work release that allow convicted parties to keep their day jobs do not help out-of-state drivers.
The mandatory jail sentences require a special degree of effort from out-of-state drivers. In some instances, it may be possible to transfer your sentence to your home state. However, to serve the jail time in your home state, it will be your responsibility to find a jail that will take you. Unfortunately, many states are suffering from overpopulation and therefore may not accept your petition. If this is the case, it means that you must carry out your jail sentence in Arizona either to the full extent or until you find a jail to accept you for the remainder. If you are able to arrange a transfer, the costs of the process will all be at your own expense. The experienced attorneys at Rosenstein Law Group can help or assist you in avoiding jail time all together.
For an Arizona DUI, license suspension is another imminent penalty upon conviction. Arizona residents may face years of license revocation and restrictions but the situation becomes cloudy when the driver’s license is from out of state. Whenever a traffic violation occurs in a state different from the driver’s home state, the information about the infraction is shared between the jurisdictions through the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (IDLC), an agreement between states to share pertinent information about people’s driving records. This allows your home state to receive information about your arrest and conviction and since you will be driving on the state’s roads when you return, they are permitted to place their own sanctions on your license.
Arizona’s sanctions subsequent to your DUI conviction can only apply within the state lines. That means the state cannot suspend your out-of-state license. Rather, it can only suspend your driving privileges within the state. However, your home state has the jurisdiction to treat your Arizona DUI as if it occurred on its soil and place any pertinent restrictions and sanctions once you return home.
Recent revisions to Arizona’s DUI laws have made the installation of an ignition interlock device mandatory for all drivers convicted of DUI in the state, including out-of-state DUI. This mandatory installation begins once the driver’s license is reinstated or reactivated from suspension, and continues for the court-ordered duration of time. The program works such that the driver’s vehicle will not start unless he or she blows into the device and the results show a zero BAC. The results of the device are logged with the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) of Arizona to show compliance with the requirements.
If you are from out of state and you have reached the point in your Arizona DUI sentence when it is time to install the device in the vehicles you drive, you do not have to return to Arizona to have the device installed by an approved installer. You can simply call the interlock manufacturer and locate a local installer that complies with Arizona’s requirements. It is, however, your responsibility to arrange with the manufacturer and installer to have the results of the device directed to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division until you have completed the interlock requirement.
Remember, a conviction is not the only option if you have been arrested for DUI while visiting Arizona. We will do everything in our power to get the charges reduced or completely dismissed. To speak with one of our lawyers about a DUI arrest in Scottsdale, Phoenix or elsewhere in Arizona, call Rosenstein Law Group at 480-248-7666 .