In many states, those accused of driving under the influence can face severe legal penalties. For most individuals, being accused of driving under the influence usually conjures up the notion that driving a vehicle must be involved. However, like many states, Arizona has altered its DUI laws. Now, to be guilty of a DUI, you only need to be “controlling” a vehicle. To protect your interests, it is important to understand what constitutes a DUI and the risks involved in being accused of a DUI. So our staff of DUI lawyers in Flagstaff, Arizona, help explain.
The Non-Driving DUI
Under Arizona Revised Statute 28-1381, to be accused of a DUI, you need to only be in “actual physical control of a vehicle” while intoxicated. The source of intoxication can be liquor, drugs, a vapor-releasing object containing a toxic substance, or any combination of these substances. The main issue with the element of “control” is that the state of Arizona has had some difficulty in defining exactly what “controlling” a vehicle means.
In a recent Arizona Supreme Court decision in State v. Zaragoza, the court attempted to clarify the statute. In the decision, the court identified that a person’s intent in regard to driving the vehicle is irrelevant. The relevant element is whether there is actual and imminent danger to the driver or to others while the person is in control of the vehicle. Other important considerations are whether the car was running, the radio was on, the keys were in the ignition, the heater or air conditioner was running, and if the driver’s seat was reclined. Overall, the court will typically examine all of the facts to determine whether you were in control of the vehicle.
The Legal Risks of a DUI
Those accused of a standard DUI often face severe legal consequences if found guilty. You face penalties from both the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles and Arizona’s criminal court. The most likely immediate consequences are license suspension and hefty fines. In terms of legal consequences in criminal court, standard DUIs can lead to 10 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,250, required alcohol screening, community service, and an ignition interlock device.
The legal risks of a DUI increase if you are found guilty of an extreme DUI. According to Arizona Revised Statute 28-1381, an extreme DUI is when you have a blood alcohol level above .15. The penalties for this type of DUI include at least 90 days in jail, a fine of $3,000, driver’s license revocation for 12 months, completion of a drug and alcohol screening program, community service, and an ignition interlock. Another significant factor in terms of legal risk is whether the DUI is your first or second offense. If the DUI is a second offense, the legal risks increase.
If you have been accused of a DUI, getting the right legal support is crucial to your case. A Flagstaff DUI attorney will be able to analyze your case and help you avoid the severe legal consequences involved in being found guilty of a DUI. If you are looking for a DUI lawyer in the Flagstaff or Northern Arizona area, then the law firm of Gonzales & Poirier can provide you with the legal support you need. With our