Aggravated DUI Criminal Defense Lawyer
Aggravated DUI laws in Arizona can be complicated and there are many nuances to defending an Aggravated DUI case. The statute for Aggravated DUI in Arizona is ARS 28-1383. As is the case in misdemeanor DUI cases, these critical nuances in a DUI case begin from the very start of the investigation. Every step of the way must be looked at critically, from the time that you are pulled over by police, to the time you field tested on the roadside, to the blood or breath testing, to the time of release.
Each of these phases of an Aggravated DUI investigation hold an abundance of room for error, and law enforcement officers often do not preform DUI investigations like they are trained to—or even as they are required to by law. Having an Aggravated DUI criminal defense attorney that has the training and experience to thoroughly investigate the investigation done by law enforcement is critical in fighting for the best outcome for you and your case.
Aggravated DUI – ARS 28-1383
It can be overwhelming facing DUI charges in Arizona. Many people find it helpful to hire a DUI criminal defense attorney if they are charged with DUI given the complexity of the subject matter and the court systems.
Aggravated DUI is a felony offense in Arizona that can be committed in numerous different ways. An aggravated DUI in Arizona can be either a class four felony, or a class six felony. The level of felony an aggravated DUI is charged, and the penalties associated with an aggravated DUI, really depends on the facts that give rise to the charges. All aggravated DUIs have one thing in common, and that is in order for someone to commit aggravated DUI, they must have committed a violation of ARS 28-1381 (regular or drug DUI) or ARS 28-1382 (extreme or super extreme DUI). Then, there are other factors from that which make the charge a felony.
Driving DUI With a Suspended License
A person is guilty of aggravated DUI in Arizona if they commit a violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or this section while the person’s driver license or privilege to drive is suspended, canceled, revoked or refused or while a restriction is placed on the person’s driver license or privilege to drive as a result of violating section 28-1381 or 28-1382 or under section 28-1385. It is also aggravated DUI in Arizona to drive DUI while under order of the court to have an ignition interlock installed in a vehicle.
Essentially, if your license is suspended or restricted due to a previous DUI charge or conviction and you are driving regardless while again DUI—you have committed aggravated DUI in Arizona. If your license is suspended for any other reason, you still might be charged for aggravated DUI—but that doesn’t mean that the charges will stick. A violation of Arizona’s aggravated DUI statute in this manner is a class four felony.
This may seem fairly straight forward, however, there are many nuances to defending this type of charge. For example, the government must prove all of the elements of a DUI in addition to this added requirement of have a suspended or restricted license. Arizona case law has defined what is required for the State to prove as it relates to a person’s knowledge of the license suspension that proves effective in defending these charges. Have an attorney like Steven Scharboneau who has experience defending these types of cases is critical in an effective defense against charges such as these.
Three DUIs Within a Seven Year Period
Another way that an aggravated assault can be committed in Arizona is by being convicted of two prior DUI charges, and then being charged with a third—all within seven years of each other. Specifically, the language reads: “within a period of eighty-four months commits a third or subsequent violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or this section or is convicted of a violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or this section and has previously been convicted of any combination of convictions of section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or this section or acts in another jurisdiction that if committed in this state would be a violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382 or this section.” Committing an aggravated DUI in this way is a class four felony.
Again, this may seem like a pretty clear-cut charge that cannot be defended against—wrong! This is especially true if one or more of the prior DUI convictions within the seven-year period is an out of state prior conviction. Arizona case law guides us on how to determine if out of state violations of the law can be used to aggravate a law here in Arizona. Also, as mentioned above, the government still must prove the underlying DUI charge as well. Steven has defended against DUI prior convictions many times and is very familiar with the current law in Arizona as it relates to aggravated DUI and prior DUI convictions.
Driving DUI With a Child in the Car
If a person drives a motor vehicle with drugs or alcohol in their system, in violation of Arizona’s DUI laws and has a child in the vehicle—they have committed aggravated DUI in Arizona. However, for an aggravated driving under the influence charge the child must be under the age of fifteen years old. Diving DUI while having a child under the age of fifteen in the car is a class six felony.
DUI While Driving the Wrong Way
Yet another way that a person can commit aggravated DUI is driving the wrong way on a “highway” while DUI. The word “highway” is in quotes because the term is very broad and essentially cavers any piece of land that is intended for a vehicle travel. This technically includes small one-way streets and even parking lots—yes, parking lots. That said, the law also outlines what is considered to be “wrong way” and there are a few exceptions in ARS 28-1383.
Specifically, “wrong way” means vehicular movement that is in a direction opposing the legal flow of traffic. Wrong way does not include median crossing or a collision where a motor vehicle comes to a stop facing the wrong way. As you can imagine, there are many nuances to defending a wrong way DUI charge, including defending the underlying DUI. Attorney Steven Scharboneau has worked with law enforcement, legislators and other prosecutors to clarify Arizona’s DUI laws, and specifically in this area. Steven has a deep understanding of Arizona’s aggravated DUI laws, and has the experience defending against them. Having an attorney like Steven on your side when facing charges like these is essential.
Penalties for Aggravated DUI
The penalties for an aggravated DUI can vary and be negotiated. That’s to say, the penalties and even the charges themselves can be negotiated down with the right strategy. A defense attorney can put together mitigating circumstances and highlight weak spots in the government’s case and use these factors to your advantage during negotiations.
That said, just like for misdemeanor DUIs, there are mandatory minimum sentencing requirements for felony DUIs. For a class four felony aggravated DUI, there are requirements such as four months in prison, a license revocation (this is different than a suspension), drug and alcohol classes, supervised felony probation among other consequences like large fines and fees.
For a class six felony aggravated DUI, the penalties can be much less and sometimes the charges can even be amended to include a class six undesignated felony. A class six undesignated felony can later be taken down to a misdemeanor if you comply with all of the terms of your sentence. For more information on class six designated felonies, check out our section on defending felony charges.