Experienced Phoenix Misdemeanor DUI Lawyers
Arizona has some of the toughest penalties in the nation for all DUI offenses. As a result, you need an attorney who is familiar with all the defenses available in DUI cases to ensure the best possible result. If you want to avoid fines, jail time, probation requirements and the loss of your driver’s license or to minimize these penalties to the greatest extent possible, contact the experienced Phoenix Misdemeanor DUI Lawyers at Lane, Hupp & Crowley, PLC today!
You can choose to represent yourself in any criminal case, including a misdemeanor DUI; however, that’s not often the wise choice. Even if you are very intelligent, the chances are that you don’t have the specific skills necessary to understand or utilize all the legal defenses available to you. This is one reason why judges always urge defendants to accept an attorney in criminal cases. In fact, there have been cases in which appellate courts have ordered new trials simply because they did not believe a self-represented defendant was able to understand and appreciate the magnitude of the charges against him or her.
If you represent yourself in a misdemeanor DUI case, most likely, you will have trouble dealing with prosecutors, judges and law enforcement. You may find that they consider a self-represented case as an easy win. Even more likely, you will find that they are right and that you have little chance of beating DUI charges when you try to represent yourself, no matter what your education or experience with the courts. For these reasons, you need the skilled attorneys at Lane, Hupp, & Crowley, PLC on your side. They know how to defend cases. They know how to deal with prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement. Most importantly, they know how to get results.
Potential Penalties for an Arizona Misdemeanor DUI
Even if it is your first DUI offense or arrest in Arizona, you are still facing severe penalties and consequences if you are convicted. If convicted, a judge has to impose at least the following minimum sentence, but because a DUI is a class 1 misdemeanor, you can be sentenced up to 6 months in the county jail and a $2,500 fine plus surcharges:
- 10 days in jail, with the judge having the option to suspend 9 of the days if you complete court ordered alcohol or substance abuse counseling;
- $1,250 in fines or assessments plus surcharges and court fees which can cause the total amount owed to approach $2,000;
- completion of an alcohol or substance abuse counseling program;
- a 90 day suspension of your driver’s license;
- a requirement to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for 12 months, which can be reduced to 6 months in certain circumstances.
Source: A.R.S. § 28-1381(I).
If you have previous conviction for DUI and are charged with another DUI (meaning, it is your second offense DUI) you are facing even harsher penalties. They are:
- 90 days in jail, with the judge having the option to suspend 60 of the days if you complete court ordered alcohol or substance abuse counseling;
- $3,000 in fines or assessments plus surcharges and court fees;
- 30 hours of community service;
- court ordered alcohol or substance abuse counseling
- a 90 day suspension of your driver’s’ license in addition to a 1 year revocation of your driver’s license;
- a requirement to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for 12 months.
Source: A.R.S. § 28-1381(K).
Beating a Misdemeanor DUI charge in Arizona
The attorneys at Lane, Hupp, & Crowley, PLC know how to handle your DUI Case to give you the best chance at beating a DUI charge. We will investigate and challenge all aspects of your case, from the traffic stop to the breath or blood testing. We are knowledgeable of all the defenses to a DUI charge in Arizona, and if there is a defense in your DUI case our DUI attorneys can find it and use it to your best advantage.
Challenging the Traffic Stop
A police officer can’t pull you over for no reason or for an invalid reason (like simply seeing you driving at night in an area with several bars). The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution mandates that he have “reasonable suspicion” that you have committed a traffic offense or are engaged in criminal activity.
An officer’s “reasonable suspicion” must be based on specific facts that he can articulate. For example, witnessing a vehicle exceeding the speed limit and weaving out of its lane several times will establish “reasonable suspicion”. But, leaving a lane one time on a curving road is not enough for the officer to stop you. The Phoenix Misdemeanor DUI Lawyers at Lane, Hupp, & Crowley, PLC have successfully gotten misdemeanor DUI cases dismissed by convincing judges and prosecutors that an officer did not have “reasonable suspicion” for the traffic stop.
Yes, You can be charged with a DUI for sleeping in your car
Arizona police officers are very aggressive with DUI enforcement. So much so that they will actually charge individuals with DUI if they are found sleeping in their cars. You would think that since the person was not actually driving, they can’t be charged with DUI—driving under the influence. But, Arizona law allows someone to be charged with DUI if they are in “actual physical control” of the car.
What is “actual physical control”? Well, the Arizona Supreme Court in State v. Zaragoza, has ruled that juries must look at the totality of the circumstances to determine whether someone was in “actual physical control” of a vehicle by looking at the following factors:
- Was the vehicle running?
- Was the ignition on?
- Where were the car keys located?
- Where and in what position was the driver found?
- Was the driver awake or asleep?
- Were the car’s headlights on or off?
- Was the vehicle stopped?
- Did the driver voluntarily pull off the road?
- What was the time of day?
- What were the weather conditions?
- Was the heat or air conditioner on?
- Were the windows up or down?
- Was there any explanation for the circumstances shown by the evidence?
Essentially, the question is whether the evidence shows that you were using the car as a stationary shelter (for example, sleeping it off) or were you just stopped on the side of the road and about to drive off again.
The DUI lawyers at Lane, Hupp, & Crowley, PLC have successfully defended actual physical control DUI cases for years and know how to best develop this defense in each specific case.
Challenging the Field Sobriety Tests
At Lane, Hupp, & Crowley, PLC, we strongly believe that field sobriety tests are very inaccurate ways to determine whether a person was intoxicated. These tests have weaknesses. Our attorneys will take the time to specifically examine how the tests were administered in your case. We will seek out the weaknesses and use them to design a legal strategy dedicated to getting you positive results in your DUI case.
Some of the weaknesses of field sobriety tests are fairly obvious. The reality is that the tests are challenging even if no alcohol has been consumed. When you factor in the additional stress caused by having police pull you over and unexpectedly force you to do these tests, it is a surprise that anyone can pass them. Further, since there is often no video taken, the officer must testify as to the results of your test based on his memory. We have found that the results of the test are exaggerated.
Still other weaknesses are unique to individual scenarios. For example, a person with a leg injury may have a great deal of difficulty with the heel-to-toe walk.
Challenging the blood and breath test
Many people think that if their breath or blood result came back at a 0.08 or greater, then their case is over and it’s hopeless to fight it. This is simply not true. Challenging blood alcohol tests and breath tests is not as difficult as some people may believe. These tests have their flaws and if they are not administered appropriately a skilled attorney can call their accuracy into questions. Further, if the test was not administered, handled or maintained properly it may not be admissible in Court.
At Lane, Hupp, & Crowley, PLC, challenging breath and blood test evidence is an important step in our defense strategy. We know the flaws of these tests. We know the mistakes that are frequently made when they are administered and we know how to fight DUI charges.
Breath tests in Arizona are administered with a device called an intoxilyzer. Intoxilyzers are highly regulated in terms of how they are maintained and calibrated. Improper calibration or maintenance could allow us to have the evidence thrown out. Other factors we will look at in terms of a challenge to breath test evidence include the device’s margin of error, the impact of body temperature on test results and other factors that could speak against the validity of the results.
But most police agencies in Arizona test alcohol concentration with blood testing. Most people are shocked to learn that a police officer is able to draw their blood in the middle of the night on the side of the road or at a police station rather than in a hospital or medical facility. Nonetheless, the police officer must follow a specific process during the blood draw or the sample can be contaminated or otherwise invalid.
After the blood draw, the officer has to package the sample properly and ship off to a crime laboratory for testing. In the lab, the sample is tested using a process called headspace gas chromatography. This is a very complicated process, and one in which the forensic scientist must follow a very detailed and specific set of procedures. The blood testing machine itself, called a gas chromatograph, must be maintained properly and must be calibrated before each testing sequence.
Our team of lawyers know the procedures that must be followed in the blood testing process and know how to challenge blood testing evidence. We will review all of the laboratory’s work in your case to determine if any errors were made or irregularities occurred.
We Know How to Fight Misdemeanor DUI Charges
You can be assured that Lane, Hupp, & Crowley, PLC know how to challenge field sobriety test evidence. We know how to challenge breath and blood test evidence. We know how to challenge all the evidence because we truly understand the evidence the prosecution needs to convict you beyond a reasonable doubt.
As an example, Alex Lane, has previously served as a criminal prosecutor handling serious DUI cases. Part of his job was making certain that evidence was perfectly in line with requirements. Now, that knowledge is used to challenge the prosecution and design strong cases to achieve positive results in defense of DUI cases.
Let a Former Prosecutor Fight for You
Lane, Hupp, & Crowley, PLC strives to help relieve your anxiety. Alex Lane and the other attorneys know how to fight criminal charges. We understand how stressful this experience is and we are committed to answering all of your questions and keeping you informed of all aspects of your case. Alex Lane has a long history of fighting criminal cases.
Attorney Alex Lane worked as a prosecutor for three years. Much of his time was spent in the Vehicular Crimes Bureau in the Major Crimes Division of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. This division focused on the most serious felony DUI cases, most of which involved serious injury or death. As such, Mr. Lane was involved in a large number of serious cases.
In addition, Mr. Lane has attended numerous seminars put on for law enforcement personnel and prosecuting attorneys. Many of these seminars discussed investigative tactics and trial techniques, and strategies of prosecutor. Because of this extensive experience, Mr. Lane has a complete understanding of how the police and prosecutors work, and can bring this experience to the table to defend you in your case.
Alex Lane is committed to putting his experience to use and getting you the best results possible and has the experience you need for a strong defense.
Free Consultation, Affordable Rates & Payment Plans Available
We have experience in representing clients who are facing criminal allegations; we know how to investigate such matters and anticipate what the State will use against you. Lane, Hupp, & Crowley, PLC also has the availability to consult with several forensic experts to build a strong defense.
You Need Someone On Your Side
You need an aggressive attorney who is experienced to defend you and your rights.
To schedule a FREE initial consultation call (480) 562-3482 or Fill out a Free Consultation form below!
Lane, Hupp, & Crowley, PLC will offer you our lowest rates, and payment plans are available. Let Lane, Hupp, & Crowley, PLC deal with the complexity and anxiety of this situation for you. You can be confident that you will be in good hands and that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney fighting for you.