Once they realize that the conviction stays around for a long time and can really hit you hard later on; they regret not fighting the first one. I tell my clients that they will be able to survive the first one. The DUI laws in Arizona are very harsh. But it is a slap on the wrist. It is going to be a very hard slap on the wrist, but as a slap on the wrist as hopefully you get the counseling, you’re going to do the jail time, and you learn your lesson. If you don’t, things get substantially worse.
It could be a felony charge. It could be months in prison. People are supposed to learn their lessons from their first DUI. You are not going to want to fight the third one, let’s say. Sometimes I’ve talked to people, and they are interested in fighting the third one. A lot of times I recommend that they not hire me because there’s just too much of a risk involved. The plea agreement might be for 4 1/2, or 5, or 6, or 7 years. But if they go to trial and lose, they’re likely to get 10, 11, or 12 years.
When you’re talking about double the amount of time, you need to have a really good factual or legal issue in the case to want to fight that. Your most current subsequent offense is not the one to strenuously fight. The first one is the one to fight.
It is supposed to be about learning your lesson. You’re supposed to learn your lesson on the first one. That doesn’t mean that you should be convicted. You either fight or, if there aren’t really any good legal issues, try and lessen the impact with the plea agreement as much as possible. It’s the first one where you want to fight, if any. If there becomes a second one, if there becomes a third one, the risk is going to be so much more substantial that it’s going to be so much riskier to try and fight those charges.