If you have been charged with drunk driving (DUI or DWI) in Arizona, you might be interested in some recent changes in the law that went into effect on January 1, 2012.  The changes don’t modify the basic laws regarding the definition of a DUI, but they do affect the procedures and penalties associated with the trial of and conviction for drunk driving offenses.

The more significant changes in the Arizona DUI laws are as follows:

  • The defendant in a simple DUI case (that is, a blood alcohol content in excess of .08 where there are no prior DUI convictions) is no longer entitled to a jury trial;
  • Judges have been given discretion to reduce mandatory jail times set forth in the DUI laws; and
  • The new law also reduces the amount of time that those convicted of a DUI have to install and maintain an ignition interlock device on their vehicles.  An ignition interlock device will prevent someone from starting a motor vehicle if the device shows intoxication based upon a breath sample.  The device can also be set up to require random monitoring of the driver’s breath during the time the vehicle remains on.

Clearly, the most significant provision of the new law is the elimination of the right to a jury trial in simple DUI cases.  We expect challenges to this portion of the new law based upon the United States Constitution and Phoenix law.

As provisions are added and deleted from the Phoenix drunk driving laws, the interpretation of those laws becomes more and more difficult for the non-lawyer.  So if you are charged with a DUI in Phoenix or anywhere in Arizona, contact a Phoenix DUI Lawyer who specializes in defending drunk driving cases.

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