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Difference Between DUI and DWI in Arizona | AZ DUI Attorney

What is the difference between DUI and DWI in Arizona?

If you’ve been pulled over and ticketed or arrested for a DUI under Arizona Revised Statute #28-1381 or for a DWI in Arizona, you probably have questions about what the next steps are, and what you can do to absolve yourself before a judge. Not to worry: the Shah Law Firm is here to help you along every step of the process. We have the answers you’re looking for about Arizona DUI and DWI law, and best of all, our entire law team is well-versed in Arizona traffic and criminal law, and we know exactly what it takes to get the best results in both DUI and DWI cases anywhere in Arizona.

The Difference Between a DUI and DWI in Arizona

Getting pulled over or arrested for a DWI or DUI under Arizona Revised Statute #28-1381 can be really scary, especially when you think there’s no one on your side who can help you obtain the best results when it comes time for you to face the judge.

One of the most common questions we get from people seeking the assistance of a DUI lawyer in Arizona is, “What’s the difference between a DUI and a DWI in Arizona?” Let’s take the time to walk through the answer so you feel confident about your understanding of the differences, and feel better about what you might be up against in court.

DWI vs DUI in Arizona: Beyond the Acronyms

DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence. 

DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated. 

While those might seem like the very same thing, there are a few important differences that make them different legally.

  • Arizona is a zero-tolerance state, meaning that if an officer so chooses, s/he may issue a DUI (but not a DWI) as long as there is any blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading of any level below 0.08 when the motorist is breathalyzed.
  • In Arizona, you can be convicted of a DUI as long as you are driving under the influence of any drugs or alcohol, regardless of the amount, and the alcohol amount need not be at or above the DWI level of 0.08.

Click to Learn More about DUI vs DWI…

What You Should Know About a Prescription Drug DUI in Arizona

Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of prescription drugs is illegal in the state of Arizona. Narcotic medications, in particular, cause the driver to become intoxicated in the same manner as illicit drugs and alcohol.

If you are charged with a prescription DUI in Arizona, you will discover that the consequences are severe and will affect your life for a long time. Working with an experienced Arizona DUIlawyermeans you have someone to fight on your behalf while keeping your case on track toward the best possible outcome.

In any criminal law case, knowledge is power for defendants. Here are a few critical points regarding prescription DUI charges that you may want to consider:

How an Officer can Tell if You are Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs

Police officers receive standard and specialized training related to assessing your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. During your traffic stop, the responding officer begins his or her sobrietytestwithout you even knowing it. He or she is looking for signs of drug use, including odd behavior and the inability to respond to routine questions.

The officer typically administers a Breathalyzer test to assess your blood alcohol content (BAC). If he or she rules out alcohol but still suspects that you are under the influence of drugs, then he or she can request that you take a chemical test. The chemical test examines your blood to determine which chemicals are in your system.

Individuals holding an Arizona drivers’ license have submitted to implied consent laws by default. Implied consent is an agreement you made to submit to breath and chemical tests at the request of a police officer under good cause. The state automaticallysuspendsyour driver’s license for refusal to take these tests.

Penalties for a First-Time Prescription Drug DUI

Arizona is a state known for having the strictest DUI laws in the country while imposing even more stringent penalties. Even with a valid prescription, police officers can still arrest you for driving under the influence of narcotics and psychoactive medications.

Prescription drug DUIs are classified and treated in the same manner as alcohol and illegal drug-related DUIs. A first-time prescription drug DUI in Arizona is a Class I Misdemeanor in most cases. Prosecutors can elevate charges in the event of an aggravated circumstance such as hitting a pedestrian or having minors in the vehicle.

Penaltiesfor a first-time DUI in Arizona may include:

  • A jail sentence of no less than ten days (courts can suspend up to nine days)
  • A minimum fine of $1,250
  • Alcohol screening, treatment, and education
  • The installation of an interlock device
  • Community service

Penalties for anaggravatedor extreme prescription DUI carry even harsher sentences and may include the following consequences:

  • A jail sentence of no less than thirty days
  • A minimum fine of $2,500
  • Alcohol screening, treatment, and education
  • The installation of an interlock device
  • Community service
  • No possibility of probation

As you can see, the stakes are high when charged with a prescription drug DUI. Consider discussing your options with the insight of an experienced an Arizona DUI attorney. He or she protects your rights while providing the best possible defense in the courtroom.

How a DUI Attorney Defends You in Court

A DUI attorney licensed to practice in Arizona offers you a fighting chance at beating or reducing the charges pending against you. Some defenses and counterarguments he or she uses may include:

  • The responding officer did not have probable cause to pull you over in the first place.
  • Blood and chemical tests were contaminated or improperly administered.
  • The state lacks enough evidence to prove you were under the influence of prescription drugs.
  • You were not aware that your prescription drug caused impairment.

Facing prescription drug DUI charges is stressful when you feel no one is in your corner. Hiring a DUI attorney can help you feel like you are getting the best help possible. He or she can fiercely advocate and negotiate on your behalf before and during the trial phase.

Consider working with Arja Shah Law. The firm’s founder, Arja Shah, is a leading DUIlawyerin Phoenix, AZ, known for her bold yet client-centered approach. You can discuss your case with Ms. Shah by calling (602) 888-0369 or by sending her a message through the firm’s requestform.

Contact Arja Today to Learn How She Can Help You!

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