A felony DUI, known as Aggravated DUI, leads to penalties that are far more severe than those for misdemeanor DUI offenses. People are often surprised to hear that you can be charged with Aggravated DUI even if your BAC is relatively low. Unlike misdemeanor DUI offenses, which mandate increased penalties for higher BACs, most felony DUI offenses call for harsh penalties regardless of the level of impairment or the alleged BAC.
You can be charged with Aggravated DUI if you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs under any of the following circumstances:
If you are charged with Aggravated DUI in El Mirage, your case will be filed in the Maricopa County Superior Court. The advice of an experienced attorney early on in your case will help ensure that you are provided the best possible defense. Contact the Rosenstein Law Group at 480-248-7666 or online for a free consultation and case evaluation.
Unlike misdemeanor DUI offenses, an Aggravated DUI conviction may lead to prison time, rather than jail. If charged with Aggravated DUI, you may be facing a mandatory minimum of 4 months in prison and up to 3.75 years in prison. If you have prior felony convictions, even if they are non-DUI offenses, the prison term for an Aggravated DUI can be substantially longer than 3.75 years. In some cases, the punishment could increase to 15 years in prison.
Aggravated DUI is a class 4 felony in Arizona, with the exception of an Aggravated DUI that is the result of having a minor under the age of 15 in the car, which is a class 6 felony. An Aggravated DUI conviction may lead to a number of penalties and punishments, including:
If you are charged with an Aggravated DUI for having two DUIs in the previous 7 years, for having a suspended or revoked license, or for driving the wrong way on the highway, then you face a mandatory minimum of four months in prison, even if you are granted probation. This is unique to any other offense in Arizona. Typically a judge cannot sentence a person to a term of prison for an offense for which they have been granted probation. However, with these particular Aggravated DUI offenses, the court must sentence a person to a minimum of 4 months in prison, even if the judge orders the person to serve probation for the offense.
The consequences of an Aggravated DUI conviction do not stop with the penalties handed down by the court and MVD. Beyond those penalties, a person convicted of Aggravated DUI can expect their insurance rates to increase substantially. In some cases, an insurance provider may even discontinue your coverage altogether. An Aggravated DUI is also a permanent felony conviction on your record. A felony conviction suspends certain civil rights, such as your right to vote, possess a firearm, hold public office or serve as a juror. A felony conviction on your record may cause you to lose your job or future employment opportunities. It may also affect your ability to hold a professional license, security clearance or fingerprint clearance card, and can make it difficult to find housing or secure loans.
If you are charged with Aggravated DUI, you are likely wondering if there are any defenses to your case. The fact of each case are different, so having an experienced DUI attorney to investigate and analyze your case is important. The attorneys at the Rosenstein Law Group stay up-to-date on changes to Arizona DUI laws and scientific research regarding DUI investigations and toxicology. Some of the defenses that we employ include:
Challenging the police stop. Did the police have a lawful reason to pull you over in the first place? If not, we can suppress all evidence obtained as a result of that stop, including the BAC, which may lead to the dismissal of charges altogether.
Attacking the probable cause for an arrest. After the police have stopped you, they need to establish probable cause before they can make an arrest. Police often use a person’s performance on field sobriety tests to establish probable cause. If these tests showed that you were not impaired, were conducted incorrectly, or were not conducted at all, the police may have lacked probable cause to arrest you for DUI.
Challenging the allegation of impairment or intoxication. This is a multi-step process that involves analyzing the field sobriety tests, any signs of a lack of impairment, and the BAC results. We challenge blood and breath results to show that they may be inaccurate or unreliable. If you submitted to a breath test, there are many environmental factors that could affect the reliability of the produced result. Additionally, the breath testing machines themselves have margins of error that could lead to artificially inflated BAC results. If the police took a blood sample, we look to how the sample was collected. There could be issues with storage and contamination. Additionally, when the blood is sent to a lab for testing, the lab technician must abide by specific procedures to ensure accurate results. There are many opportunities for human error that could lead to inflated BAC results. We analyze the chromatograms produced by the machine to identify issues during the testing process.
Challenging the legitimacy of prior DUI convictions, ignition interlock requirements, or proper notice of a driver’s license suspension or revocation. If you were convicted of a previous DUI in another state, we may be able to challenge the state’s ability to use that conviction against you. If the police allege that your license was suspended, we may be able to prove that your license was in fact valid or that you had no notice of the suspension. Additionally, if paperwork fell through the cracks at the MVD, you may have an erroneous ignition interlock device requirement on your record.
Violation of your constitutional rights, such as the right to counsel or right to remain silent. Did the police prevent you from contacting a lawyer in a timely fashion after your arrest? Did they prevent you from obtaining your own independent blood test? Or maybe they failed to read you your Miranda rights prior to questioning. If the police violated your constitutional rights, it could lead to suppression of evidence or dismissal of charges.
Involuntary and coerced consent to blood or breath testing. The law requires that officers request you to submit to a blood or breath test using specific language and procedures. If an officer improperly coerced you to consent to a blood or breath test, that may lead to suppression of evidence or dismissal of charges.
If you are facing felony Aggravated DUI charges, do not wait to hire an experienced attorney to represent you in court. Having an attorney to fight for you and protect your rights can make all the difference in your case. We understand that facing Aggravated DUI charges is a frightening experience that will leave you with many unanswered questions. That is why we offer free consultations for Aggravated DUI charges. We want to make sure that you are fully informed of your options and the potential consequences that you face. Contact the Rosenstein Law Group at 480-248-7666 or online to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.