Arizona Court of Appeal recently held that differing sentences for DUI convictions is not unconstitutional. This ruling came after a man argued that his due process rights were violated after being sentenced to jail for 180 days upon a second time extreme DUI conviction. His rationale was that because his 180 sentence was greater than the sentence he would have received for a felony DUI conviction, the sentence should be considered excessive and in violation of his due process and equal protection rights.
So what is a felony DUI? A felony DUI has nothing to do with your blood alcohol concentration. Whether or not you are facing a felony DUI has to do with why you were arrested. In Arizona, felony DUI’s are properly classified as Aggravated DUI’s. The most common scenarios in which a person can be charged with a felony DUI are:
- If you are arrested for a DUI and your driver’s license was suspended for any reason. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time. It doesn’t matter that your blood alcohol concentration was just over the legal limit of .08. It doesn’t matter that your license was suspended for an unpaid speeding ticket. This is the mot common type of felony DUI my office receives. If your license is suspended for any reason at the time you are arrested for DUI, you will be charged with a felony.
- If you receive a DUI when your vehicle was equipped with an ignition interlock device or should have been equipped with an ignition interlock device.
- If you receive a DUI with a person under the age of 15 in your vehicle. Again, just like driving on a suspended license. It can be your very first DUI and you can be just over the legal limit. If you get arrested for DUI and someone under the age of 15 is in the vehicle, you will be charged with a felony.
- If this is your third DUI in the past 84 months. This timeline is calculated by the date of your first arrest, not your first conviction.
Dire Felony DUI Consequences
Because aggravated DUI’s are classified as felonies, the presumptive sentence is 4 months in prison. You will not be sentenced to jail, you will not be eligible for work release or work furlough, you will not be able to participate in a home detention. If you are convicted you will go to a State prison for 4 months.
In addition to the prison sentence, you will lose your constitutional rights, including your right to vote and the right to possess a firearm. There will most likely be a term of probation following your prison sentence. Finally, you will lose your license for several years.
The bottom line is, if you are facing a felony DUI in Arizona, you are in serious trouble and need the help of a lawyer who will get you out of this terrible situation. Call attorney Matthew Lopez to see why he was recently awarded one of Arizona’s top 10 DUI lawyers.