Arizona Adopts New Laws Benefiting DUI Defendants

by Aaron M. Black • November 10, 2022

In the wake of current criminal justice reform efforts in a number of states, the Arizona House Committee on Criminal Justice Reform unanimously approved two new DUI related laws to benefit DUI defendants.
 
New DUI Laws Coming 1/1/2023

Two new laws will take effect on New Year’s Day 2023.

The changes involve laws under House Bill 2673, cited as the “Arizona Judicial Discretion Act,” which addresses the harshness of aggravated DUI law and driver license points and license expungement. Senate Bill 1334 eases driver's license suspension and restrictions.

 

HB 2673 ‘Forever Priors’

An aggravated DUI will no longer be considered a historical prior offense except when there is a subsequent aggravated DUI charge.

A historical prior conviction means that any prior felony conviction required a term of imprisonment for aggravated driving or actual physical control while under the influence.

“The imposition of the mandatory prison sentence would result in an injustice to the defendant. The mandatory prison sentence is not necessary for the protection of the public,” states the bill.

HB 2673 also eliminates this subsection of law that stated Arizona “shall not dismiss a charge even though there is an insufficient legal or factual basis to pursue the charge.” So, a felony aggravated DUI is no longer a forever prior offense, which had the result of an increased prison sentence.

Therefore prosecutorial agencies can no longer rely on this statute as an excuse to not plea DUIs to lesser crimes.

 

HB 2673 Driver License Points and Expungement

Drivers License & Points On Your RecordThe Motor Vehicle Department will no longer be allowed to stack on points from one traffic stop if multiple infractions occurred.

Arizona drivers can have their traffic offenses removed from their driving records. Previously an expungement for a DUI was not allowed unless the DUI charge was dismissed or a non-DUI resolution occurred. Under this new law, if the statute of limitations runs on an allegation that was reported to ADOT, the driver can have their record cleared on the DUI by administrative action.

The new law also allows the defendant with an IID can get credit for time served while using the IID.
 

Senate Bill 1334: DUI License Suspension and Restrictions

This law removed the 90-day waiting period that was necessary before a person could apply to have an Ignition Interlocking Device (IID) installed and to have a restricted driver’s license, and the right to have an administrative hearing is waived.  However, a person whose license was suspended a second time within 84 months is not eligible for an IID.

IID / Ignition Interlock DeviceSenate Bill 1334 allows convicted DUI defendants to avoid installing an Interlocking Ignition Device (IID), which prevents the engine from starting if alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath. This law gives a DUI defendant the choice of living with a restricted license for 30 or 60 days. The restrictions on where the defendant could drive, such as to school or work, were removed from the law.

A driver who is convicted of reckless driving or another serious motor vehicle violation within 24 months will receive a one-year license suspension, including a hard suspended license for 45 days.

Impairment to the slightest degree now matters in ADOT administrative hearings in regard to determining if the arresting officer had reasonable grounds to make the arrest.
 

Common felony DUI defenses

The revised law can benefit a DUI defense; however, the defense starts at the traffic stop because the officer may not have had sufficient probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop the driver.

At the point of arrest, the officer must advise you that you have the right to remain silent and to have an attorney represent you. These are your Miranda rights guaranteed by the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, respectively. It is best to invoke these rights at the outset of the stop to impede the officer’s questioning. Anything said is used against the suspect.

The state must prove its case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced DUI Defense Attorney in Phoenix can challenge the validity of the state’s evidence and protect your rights.
 
 
Drop of Blood - BAC TestingThe defense will challenge the results of the breathalyzer tests. The machine may not have accurately measured the alcohol in a person’s system because of a calibration error. An individual’s metabolism might have processed the alcohol rapidly, reducing the amount in the blood.
 
If blood is drawn to show the alcohol level, it may have been improperly stored, and its accuracy is questioned.
 
Sobriety tests can be unreliable. A person may not be physically able to stand on one leg. Each DUI case has its unique fact pattern, so other defenses may be available.
 
Should the state have a solid case, to save time and court expenses, the prosecution may offer a reduced charge with more lenient penalties. In some cases, it will be possible to reduce a Class 6 felony to a less serious Class 1 misdemeanor. This is approved under the House bill.
 

Aaron M. Black Law for DUI Defense

These new laws will enhance the lives of aggravated DUI defendants. Laws are changed from time to time, and it is best to have an attorney who understands the nuisances of the changes and their benefit to the defense.

It is imperative that you have an experienced DUI defense attorney such as myself to defend you and protect your Constitutional rights. In my long career as an aggressive DUI defense attorney, I know that good people sometimes find themselves in trouble with the law, and that is why I work hard to ensure that my clients have the best defense possible.

My goal is to have the case dismissed or the charge reduced.

I will scrutinize the state’s evidence and the personnel records of the investigators involved looking for inconsistencies, omissions, and mistakes. I also will work to develop information and evidence that is favorable to my clients.

At Aaron M. Black Law, you will receive personalized legal services at every step of your case. You will always be talking directly to me, and I provide encouragement and support during this difficult episode in your life.

Begin your DUI defense immediately by calling 480-729-1683 at any time, on any day, and I will respond promptly unless I am in court on a trial. Or use the online contact form on my website.

I defend DUI cases throughout Arizona, including Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai, and Coconino County Superior Courts.


 

About the Author

Aaron Black is the founder and sole attorney of the Law Office of Aaron Black. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, his DUI and criminal defense law firm provides legal services to people who have received felony or misdemeanor charges from the state.

Aaron has developed a strong interest in defending people who have been arrested and received criminal charges for driving under the influence. With his professionalism and knowledge of Arizona DUI and criminal law, he has acted as a check and balance on the police, prosecution and courts and has protected a great number of his clients from excessive and unfair sentencing.

Along with DUI defense, Aaron handles a range of other criminal matters, including aggravated assault, burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud defense, insurance fraud, sex crimes and white-collar crime.

After graduating college in 2003 from the University of Arizona, Aaron decided to pursue a law degree. He followed a family long tradition and went to the University of South Dakota School of Law where he pursued his goal of becoming a criminal defense lawyer.

After passing the Arizona and South Dakota bar exams, Aaron joined the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender where he defended hundreds of people charged with serious criminal offenses. His work as a public defender helped him sharpen his litigation skills and gave him a unique insight into the Arizona criminal justice system.

Over the course of his 15-year legal career, Aaron has spent a considerable amount of time in both Arizona justice, municipal, state and federal courts. He has argued over 50 jury trials, tried over 100 bench trials and has become one of the highest-rated criminal and DUI defense attorneys in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. He has received a 10/10 rating from the legal directory Avvo because of his legal background and successful case record. Since 2014, he has received the Super Lawyer rating for his work as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.

You can review Aaron’s Attorney Bio page for more information about his background, education and experience as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.
In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to inform clients and potential clients I am still available for consultations. I am always available by phone, text and/or email. We can also use Facetime for social distancing. The criminal justice system is not stopping due to COVID-19.

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