I’ve Never Had a DUI, Why am I Being Charged with a Felony?

Periodically, I will receive a phone call from someone who has never been arrested for a DUI and cannot understand why their DUI arrest has resulted in a felony charge.  The conversations I have with these potential clients tend to be sobering.  In Arizona, there are a few ways someone can be charged with a felony DUI – otherwise known as an aggravated DUI.  The most common scenario is when someone has been arrested for their 3 DUI’s in a period of 7 years.  The others are as follows:

  • Receiving a DUI while your license is suspended;
  • Receiving a DUI while you you have an ignition interlock installed;
  • Receiving a DUI while a person under the age of 15 is a passenger in your vehicle (even if it is your first DUI);
  • Receiving a DUI while your license is suspended (even if it is your first DUI – regardless of your blood alcohol concentration).

I cannot understand why the Arizona legislature considers a DUI a felony if someone has been arrested while their license is suspended.  In my opinion, there is no justifiable reason why someone who has received their first DUI, and has a low blood alcohol concentration, should be charged with a felony. If you are convicted of an aggravated DUI, not only will you have a felony conviction on your record for the rest of your life, you will be sentenced to four months in prison.  This is prison, not jail, not tent city – no work release.

I feel terrible for anyone who has been subjected to this situation.  As an attorney, I take my clients’ cases personal.  In the past, I have been successful with achieving tremendous outcomes for my clients who have been charged with a felony DUI.  Although all criminal charges are serious, it is critical that you hire an experienced and dedicated lawyer to fight your aggravated DUI charge.  Your life is on the line and you need a champion in your corner!