Accomplished Arizona Lawyer Aids Motorists Charged with Drunk Driving 

Flagstaff DUI defense attorney defends your rights

In a given year, Arizona law enforcement owners make hundreds of thousands of traffic stops, leading to more than 20,000 arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A motorist who is arrested on a drunk driving count faces severe consequences, even if they have no prior criminal record. The steps you take from the time you are stopped on suspicion of DUI can make a huge difference as to how your case is resolved. Located in Flagstaff, the Law Office of Matthew J. Poirier PLLC provides comprehensive defense counsel to Arizona clients with who have been accused of operating a vehicle while impaired. From start to finish, my firm helps motorists avoid mistakes that could hurt their case and works to secure the most favorable result possible under the circumstances. 

How is DUI assessed? 

There are several methods used by law enforcement officers to assess if a motorist is legally impaired. After being pulled over, many drivers are asked to take one or more field sobriety tests (FSTs). An FST is a subjective test where the officer evaluates your sobriety by judging the movement of your eyes, your ability to walk in a straight line and/or your ability to stand on one leg. These are not mandatory, but it can be hard for a driver to refuse this request. You might want to decline politely and say that you wish to speak to your lawyer first. 

Most Arizona drivers are considered legally intoxicated if their blood-alcohol concentration is .08 percent or higher. However, any trace of alcohol violates the law for a motorist under the age of 21 and commercial vehicle drivers cannot have a BAC of .04 percent or higher. The officer who stops your vehicle might ask you to provide a sample for a Portable Breath Test, commonly referred to as a breathalyzer. Again, you have the right to refuse this test, but doing so results in an automatic one-year license suspension, even if you are not intoxicated. 

DUI penalties and consequences in Arizona

Punishment for a DUI conviction depends on whether the defendant has a previous DUI conviction and whether their BAC was high enough to trigger an increased penalty for Extreme (.15 to .19 percent) or Super Extreme (.20 percent and higher) DUI. Specific elements of the sentence can include the following:

  • Incarceration — Even a standard DUI conviction for a first offender carries a minimum 10-day jail sentence, but this can be reduced to 24 hours based on the result of the state’s alcohol screening test. Minimum penalties increase for multiple offenders and Extreme and Super Extreme cases. 
  • Fine — The lowest fine for a DUI conviction is $1,250 and that figure increases to $2,500 if you’ve been guilty of drunk driving previously. Again, punishment is harsher for individuals who were far over the legal intoxication limit. 
  • License suspension — A first drunk driving request leads to a license suspension of 90 days and, for a second, the loss of driving privileges extends to a year. However, the use of an interlock ignition device might allow someone to possess a restricted license that enables them to drive to attend work, school and substance abuse treatment. 
  • Ignition interlock device — Someone who is guilty of a DUI must install an ignition interlock device that prevents their vehicle from starting unless the operator has demonstrated that they are sober through a breathalyzer.

I know how disruptive these DUI penalties can be to you and your family, which is why I will make every effort to defeat the prosecution’s case against you or negotiate an agreement that minimizes your punishment.

Why hire a DUI defense lawyer?

Many people who are accused of DUI are not familiar with the criminal justice system. If you’ve been arrested and were told that your BAC was over the legal limit, you might be inclined to plead guilty to the charge and hope for the best. This could be a big mistake. Until you speak with an experienced DUI defense lawyer, you won’t know if the allegation against you is premised on improper police actions, a tainted sobriety test or some other flawed evidence that could destroy the prosecution’s case against you. I will examine each aspect of your case and help you make a knowledgeable decision about whether to fight the charge against you or focus on minimizing the penalty.

Contact a skillful Northern Arizona DUI defense lawyer to set up a free consultation

The Law Office of Matthew J. Poirier PLLC assists clients throughout the Flagstaff area who have been accused of drunk and drug-impaired driving. You can discuss your case with an experienced attorney in a free consultation by calling 928-522-4866 or contacting me online.