Arizona enforces particularly harsh penalties for DUI offenses compared to other states, this is especially true when someone who has been convicted before is pulled over for driving drunk again. Having multiple DUI convictions on your record or driving intoxicated under specific circumstances can result in charges of aggravated DUI, which is a felony offense.
Felony DUI convictions result in mandatory minimum prison sentences and numerous fines, so retaining counsel from a seasoned DUI attorney should be your first priority if you are accused of this offense. A Chandler aggravated DUI lawyer could help you prepare for your criminal case and work tirelessly on your behalf to protect your rights every step of the way.
What Constitutes an Aggravated DUI Offense?
According to Arizona Revised Statutes §28-1383, there are five different situations in which someone could be charged with aggravated DUI rather than standard, extreme, or super extreme DUI. Almost all are Class 4 felony offenses with the exception of someone committing a standard or extreme DUI with a child under 15 in the car with them, which is considered a Class 6 felony.
Other circumstances under which a person may be charged with aggravated DUI in Arizona include:
- Driving while drunk or high on drugs for the third time within an 84-month period
- Driving while impaired with a suspended license related to a prior DUI conviction
- Driving under the influence in a vehicle with an ignition interlock device (IID) installed pursuant to a prior DUI conviction
- Driving the wrong way on a highway while intoxicated
Most variants of aggravated DUI require a convicted party to serve a minimum of four months in jail before they are eligible for probation or parole. A conviction would also subject a defendant to a three-year license suspension, at least one year of mandatory IID installation after their license is restored, and steep fines and court costs. In addition, an aggravated DUI conviction can cause a driver to become a convicted felon which could hinder employment opportunities for life. Due to the harsh penalties associated with an aggravated DUI, seeking an experienced local attorney is imperative.
Aggravated DUI Case Process in Chandler
Just like any other driving under the influence offense, aggravated DUI cases typically stem from traffic stops or DUI checkpoints where a police officer asks a driver to complete a field sobriety test or detains the driver for chemical blood alcohol testing at a DUI processing site. Drivers in Chandler have the right to refuse participation in both tests but doing so will automatically result in a lengthy license suspension.
A person whose license is suspended following a DUI arrest has 14 days to request a Motor Vehicle Department license hearing, during which they can challenge their license suspension in particular without any bearing on their ensuing criminal case. Regardless of how this hearing goes, or whether it occurs at all, a defendant charged with aggravated DUI will then have to argue in court that they were not intoxicated at the time of driving if they want to avoid a felony conviction. Representation from a skilled defense lawyer is usually crucial to achieving positive outcomes in Chandler aggravated DUI cases.
Learn More from a Chandler Aggravated DUI Attorney
A felony conviction of any kind will have permanent implications on your personal and professional opportunities, and felony DUI charges can have especially devastating consequences. In addition to steep fines and mandatory jail time, you may end up with a lengthy or even permanent license suspension, as well as the potential for increasingly severe penalties if you are arrested for DUI again in the future.
If you want to effectively defend your best interests when facing felony DUI allegations, hiring a dedicated Chandler aggravated DUI lawyer is advisable. Call today to find out how an experienced legal representative could help you. We are here to help.