Alcohol is legal for people over the age of 21. It would be perfectly fine if someone wanted to go out and have a good time, and there would technically be nothing wrong if they wanted to drink themselves silly, provided they did not get anywhere near a vehicle.
A lot of people are alcoholics and there is nothing illegal about being an alcoholic, but problems arise when alcohol is combined with a motor vehicle. In Arizona, we have a bus system, taxicabs, lifts, and designated drivers, so there are a lot of different options out there other than drinking too much and then driving a vehicle. It is a recipe for huge problems any time illegal drugs are combined with a motor vehicle.
Under Arizona law, the prosecutor would only need to prove that someone had an illegal drug in their system while driving for it to be a DUI conviction. It would lead to a 1-year license revocation with no possibility of getting a restricted license or a temporary license if someone got a DUI conviction for illegal drugs or even medications.
People can do what is legal and technically they can also do what is illegal, but when combined with a vehicle, they are putting a target on their back and asking for problems.
Should Someone Refrain From Alcohol Or Drug Related Activity That Might Get Them Arrested Again?
Yes, because unfortunately it happens. People get arrested for a DUI, and they turn to alcohol, medication, or drugs when they stress out about the situation. Things get a lot worse when someone has a pending case and then gets another case.
In terms of felony cases, if someone was released on their own recognizance or released onto pretrial services while having a case pending in the system, but then got arrested for a new offense, it could lead to their release conditions being revoked and then being taken into custody and being held non-bondable. If the new offense was a felony offense,
It would require the person get an additional 2 years in prison above and beyond whatever sentence they would otherwise get if they went to trial and if they were convicted.
Someone who has been charged with an alcohol or drug related offense in the first place would need to realize there was an issue. Some people just make mistakes and do not realize they consumed a bit too much alcohol, while others obviously consume mass quantities of alcohol or drugs to get to the place where they have to face charges in court.
A lot of times when people meet with me for a free consultation, I let them know that they need to get themselves into counseling, because they are looking at future problems if they have the potential of this happening again. In Arizona and probably most states, things get progressively worse the more charges the person has, with respect to more time, fines, and fees that they would potentially be looking at.
It’s important not to put things on a backburner and to go see an attorney as soon as possible after the arrest and then to follow the advice of the attorney. Around 70 percent of the time I tell clients that they need to take the initiative and get themselves into counseling so as to prevent this ever happening again, and because it just looks good. It shows the prosecutor and the judge that the person is serious and it might show an employer that the person was serious about this issue and was ensuring that it never happened again.
Some people are close to the legal limit because they just made a mistake and there is not necessarily a concern that they had an issue with alcohol or drugs, but that is why it would be important to talk to an attorney to find out what they would recommend for that client or potential client to do.
Should Someone Expect A Tough Battle If It Involved Prescription Medications?
Absolutely. Prescription medications are one of the more complicated aspects of DUI. People take prescription medications because of a doctor’s recommendation or because they are trying to assist in some sort of ailment, yet people can still find themselves charged with DUI simply for taking prescription medications and in some cases, taking the same prescription medications that they have been taking for years and that they have been driving on for years.
Unfortunately, in Arizona, prescription medications are treated the same as illegal drugs. It would be treated like a DUI if the influence of the prescription medication had impaired the person to the slightest degree while driving.
There is a stronger likelihood that if there was only prescription medication in a person’s system and they decided to go to trial, they would end up being acquitted by a jury. It would be very likely that a lot of those jurors take prescription medications and drive on those medications, so it would be easy for a jury to relate to the person who was charged with the DUI simply for taking their prescribed medication.
It is a lot easier for people to understand why the state is trying to punish them if they made a mistake by drinking too much alcohol and then driving, but it is very difficult for people who are simply taking their prescription medications and driving to wrap their head around the idea of the state attempting to punish them for doing what their doctor told them to do and what they need to do medically in order to live pain free, sleep or deal with some other type of medical issues they might be dealing with.
Prescription medications are more complicated than alcohol and these cases are probably more likely to go to trial. This is not something people should handle on their own, especially because the medications are treated the same as illegal drugs and a medication DUI would lead to a 1-year license revocation without any ability to get a restricted license. Prescription medication DUIs are literally treated harsher than alcohol DUIs and people need to know the pitfalls and what can happen when dealing with prescription medication DUIs.
Should Someone Attend Any Functions, Information Sessions, Or Classes Recommended By The Attorney?
A person should definitely listen to their attorney if they recommend that the client take some alcohol or substance abuse classes. The attorney does not get anything from recommending these classes, so clients need to listen to the advice of the attorney. They are trying to look out for the best interest of the client. Ignoring the attorney does not really help anyone and it does not really help out the case.
When I advise my clients to do something, it is because I really want them to do it because I think it could help their case, and I would not advise them to do something simply to waste their time.
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