Mesa DUI Lawyers Protecting Your Rights After a DUI or Vehicular Crime Charge
Dealing with a DUI charge is a serious matter, often aggravated by additional charges such as reckless driving or negligent homicide. If you are facing DUI-related charges in Arizona, you may be feeling overwhelmed or have several questions. Will you go to jail? Will you lose your license? How will this affect other areas of your life now and in the future? The answers to that may often depend on how good of a Mesa DUI attorney you have working on your case, and how he or she can help you fight to get your charges reduced or dropped altogether. Our firm relies on decades of experience representing clients in a similar situation and offers a few key considerations for anyone facing a DUI-related charge.
Is a DUI Considered a Vehicular Crime in Arizona?
In Arizona, DUIs are just one of several offenses involving the operation of a motor vehicle. It is not unusual for someone who may be at fault for an accident to be charged with a vehicular crime, even if that person did not intend to cause any harm to someone else. These charges may also take into consideration whether the driver acted in a negligent or reckless manner. For example, if you have been drinking and decided to operate your vehicle anyway, even if you did not have the intention of endangering someone, the decision of drinking and driving puts yourself and others at risk, which usually constitutes a vehicular crime.
There are many offenses that fall under the vehicular crime category in Arizona. These offenses vary in severity from DUI, endangerment, and unlawful flight (attempting to flee from law enforcement using a vehicle) to negligent homicide, aggravated assault by vehicle, and leaving the scene of the accident. Depending on what happened, you may find yourself facing one or multiple vehicular crime charges.
What Happens if You Get Charged With a DUI or Vehicular Crime in Arizona?
Being charged with a vehicular crime has significant consequences varying in severity. Penalties may include fines, jail time, and license suspension or revocation, not to mention the possibility of having a criminal record that may affect you in the future. Someone planning to gain employment driving trucks or commercial vehicles may have a hard time finding an employer that will accept a prior conviction for a vehicular crime, even more so if the offense included a DUI – and that is just one example. Finding employment, housing, and schooling opportunities are all affected by having a conviction on your record.
First-time offenders charged with less serious crimes may be able to receive more lenient penalties and, in some cases, qualify for alternative sentencing. What happens up to the point you get convicted can potentially be affected by what your attorney for criminal defense does to try and secure a better outcome, and in some cases, avoid a conviction altogether.
Is a Vehicular Crime a Felony or a Misdemeanor in Arizona?
A vehicular crime can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the severity of the accusation. For example, you can be accused of aggravated assault if you recklessly or purposefully caused injury to another person by using a deadly weapon, an instrument, or a vehicle. This type of charge is considerably more serious than simply receiving a traffic ticket for a moving violation.
An endangerment charge can be a Class 1 Misdemeanor if another person was in danger of injury or a class 6 felony for endangerment of death. All other crimes can vary from a class 5 felony to a class 2 felony (more serious). Penalties can range from losing your license and paying a fine to spending up to 10 years in jail. It is interesting to note that Arizona laws generally treat a vehicular crime the same way it would if the crime did not involve a vehicle.
How Can a DUI Attorney Help Me If I Have Been Charged?
If you have been charged with a vehicular crime such as a DUI, it is strongly recommended that you seek the help of a Mesa DUI attorney as early as possible. Being charged with a crime does not mean you will be convicted, as there is a window of opportunity for you to fight back and try to get your charges reduced or dismissed. A seasoned DUI lawyer can make a difference in your case.
Generally, the first step you and your DUI attorney will want to take is to examine the evidence presented by the prosecution against you. For instance, if you have been arrested after being pulled over by law enforcement, your attorney can question whether the police officer had enough probable cause to conduct the traffic stop. If your attorney is successful in demonstrating that the traffic stop was not conducted in a legal manner, any evidence gathered after that may be considered inadmissible in court, often resulting in a case dismissal.
Please note that every case is different and outcomes may vary, but simply giving in to the prosecution and pleading guilty should never be your first choice. At Naegle Law Firm, PLC, we have helped many clients in a similar situation. If you are dealing with a DUI or vehicular crime charge in Arizona, reach out to us at our Mesa office by calling (480) 378-9000 and requesting a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case and see how we can help.