How Much Does a DUI cost in AZ?
DUI – can you afford it? One of the most dangerous and also expensive decisions you can make is to drink and drive. What does a DUI cost you? That is a question with a broad answer and unfortunately we have to answer that question with “it depends.” Often there are numerous factors that determine the cost of DUI in Arizona, which we will lay all those out for you here so you know everything there is to know about what expected costs await you if you get charged with DUI. Everyone wants to know what the average cost of a DUI in Arizona is but it can be difficult to put a number on it because each case is unique and there are facts and circumstances that tend to make things more expensive or can help mitigate your punishment should you be convicted. But when we talk about DUI costs in Arizona, it is about so much more than money. Loss of time, stress, uncertainty, loss of liberty, and inconvenience are serious costs to you, your family, and your work should you find yourself charged with a DUI. How much does a DUI cost in AZ? Read on to find out!
The DUI Process in Arizona
It all begins when you fail to plan your evening with a designated driver or call a ride share like Uber. It doesn’t take much to meet the legal definition of a DUI by being under the influence to the slightest degree (or worse). You find yourself stopped on the side of the road by a police officer, arrested, and charged for DUI. What’s next? The police officer files charging papers with the criminal court system but also with the Arizona Department of Transportation alerting them that you have violated your privilege to drive by being charged with a DUI. You will have to go to hearings both in the criminal and administrative courts.
Hiring a DUI lawyer should be one of your first steps you take to make sure your rights are being protected at many stages in both types of proceedings. It is crucial to act quickly and get organized because there are many things you will need to do before your case gets to court that can help you present yourself in the best light possible to a judge.
A DUI lawyer can advise you on this and help you prioritize what actions to take first. Some examples include undergoing alcohol abuse screening, testing, and treatment, seeing a therapist, attending A/A meetings, performing community service, and also getting organized to present information about your background, life, and work history to the judge.
Your case may go to trial but you may also decide to enter into a plea deal offered by the prosecutor. It depends on the facts of your case and it is ultimately up to you, but your lawyer will advise you on which is the best course of action for you based on your case facts and circumstances.
If you go to trial you get to decide if a judge or a jury hears your case to determine if you are guilty or not guilty. If you are found not guilty the criminal case is over. If you are found guilty, then the judge determines what your sentence is. This is when it is important to have what we call “mitigating” information about you to show how you took the charges seriously, have done things to pay it back to the community, and make sure it does not happen again by getting the help you need.
The sentence can include jail time, probation, court ordered community service, DUI fines, and substance abuse screening and treatment. The criminal court can also order an interlock to be installed in your car, which is handled administratively. Interlock is expensive and you will not be able to drive your car unless you blow into it and there is no alcohol detected. Failed tests happen from things like insufficient breath, using mouthwash, consuming vinegar, and more.
Interlock also alerts the Arizona Department of Transportation when you have a failure and then you may have to defend yourself and explain how you did not violate the interlock restriction and should not lose your license.
You may then find yourself facing a violation of probation hearing in criminal court where the judge can essentially change your sentence and impose jail time, add additional DUI fines and more that they did not impose originally.
DUI Costs Arizona
Arizona DUI charges are no joke. In fact, drinking and driving laws in Arizona are some of the toughest in the country. The cost of a DUI financially is steep. There will be DUI lawyers fees, alcohol abuse screening and treatment fees, DUI fines imposed by the court, and probation fees.
Outside of the criminal court system, administratively you risk losing your license through a suspension or revocation process with associated fees and DUI fines, and having court ordered interlock installed in your vehicle which you must pay for.
If you cannot drive, how are you going to get to work, take your kids to school, or run basic errands for essentials? This is a stress on your family to have another family member pick up your slack or drive you around. Taxis and other car shares like Uber add up quickly. Alternative forms of transportation may not be reliable or even available where you live.
It is a major inconvenience to lose your privilege to drive. The stress over all of this plus the uncertainty of a pending court case where you can lose your liberty is another cost that will weigh heavily on you and your loved ones. You are also likely to find that your car insurance rates increase and if you get multiple DUIs, you may become uninsurable.
If you find yourself facing a second or subsequent DUI, you will find the costs are elevated even more. Arizona’s DUI penalty chart shows that with each additional DUI charge you face and severity of the DUI charge you have lodged against you, the amount of jail time (including mandatory minimum time) and fines imposed by the court increases.
Finally, everyone always wants to know – how much does a DUI lawyer cost? Here are some factors that go into assessing the price of your case:
- Is it a DUI first offense, DUI 2nd offense, DUI 3rd offense, or more?
- Are you charged with DUI, Extreme DUI, Super Extreme DUI, or Aggravated DUI?
- What are the facts of your case? Did you crash your car? Injure someone? Kill someone?
- What was your breath-alcohol result?
- How complicated is your case? Will major preparation and legal research be required?
- What are the facts of your case?
There are many more factors that a DUI attorney will discuss with you, but those are a brief overview of why there is a wide range for what you will be quoted by your DUI lawyer.
With all the costs associated with being charged with a DUI in Arizona, is a DUI lawyer another cost you really need? Yes! A DUI attorney is not a cost to skimp on. The law is complicated. It is why lawyers go to law school for 3 years and have to pass an extensive bar exam. Filing the wrong document or failing to take certain steps can ruin your case. Your liberty and future is at stake, and a lawyer is essential to help protect your constitutional and state rights. Hiring a DUI lawyer who represents clients in both the criminal and administrative courts is important because having the same DUI lawyer work on both aspects of your case can lead to better outcomes in both.
At Antol & Sherman, we have an experienced team of criminal defense and DUI lawyers who are committed to fighting for the rights of those charged with DUI in Flagstaff, Arizona. If you or a loved one is charged with DUI, contact us for a free consultation.