Attorney Brian Sloan Clients:
Common Questions / Issues With A Misdemeanor DUI Case
What Can I Do to Help My Attorney Help Me?
Here are some easy ways you can assist your attorney:
- If you have a short question, text it. If you have a long question, email it. While your attorney has given you the ability to call his personal cell phone number, phone calls are difficult to take during normal business hours due to court appearances and meetings. Texts and emails are easier to respond to.
- Please be specific in your question. Sending a text or email asking for “an update” is difficult to respond to, since the Attorney doesn’t know what type of update you are looking for. Asking “did my blood test results come in,” or “when is my next court date” is something your Attorney can respond to much quicker.
- When emailing your Attorney, be sure to utilize the Subject Line of the email. Oftentimes your Attorney will email you police reports and ask for any thoughts, and when a response to that email is provided, the Attorney will hold off on reviewing that response until the Attorney has all the information necessary from the prosecutor, and is attempting to enter into plea negotiations. If a client has instead responded to that email with a question, but didn’t change the Subject Line of the email, it is very likely that email will not be reviewed in a timely manner.
- If you didn’t get a response to your text or email within about a day, don’t think your Attorney is ignoring you. Technology is wonderful, but it is not foolproof. If you didn’t get a response, send a follow-up text or email.
- If your Attorney recommended counseling, he did so for a specific reason. Don’t ignore that recommendation. Not every client is recommended to get into counseling initially, but for those who are, it is a good idea to take that recommendation and get into counseling ASAP.
- If you have a question, feel free to ask it. It is not recommended that you try to find your own answer on the Internet. There is a lot of bad information out there, either because it is not the most updated information, or because the information was not written by an attorney. Many attorney websites use a Search Engine Optimization person to try to get their website to the top of search engine results. They are often more interested in getting content out there to get their client’s website to rank higher, than they are in getting out accurate information.
What is the 1st Court Date for? What is the next Court Date for? What was the last Court Date for?
The case proceeding through the system can take a long time. A case will usually proceed through the system over the course of about four months. Generally speaking, here is a breakdown of the court dates:
- 1st Court Date – Letting the Court and Prosecutor know your attorney is representing you
- 2nd Court Date – Getting the police report, or alerting the Prosecutor and Court of any additional Discovery that may need to be disclosed
- 3rd Court Date – Talk to the Prosecutor and the Court a bit more, or possibly enter into a Plea Agreement, or possibly set the case to Trial, if the case hasn’t been dismissed.
- 4th Court Date – Talk to the Prosecutor and the Court a bit more, or possibly enter into a Plea Agreement, or possibly set the case to Trial, if the case hasn’t been dismissed.
- 5th Court Date – Possibly enter into a Plea Agreement, or possibly set the case to Trial, if the case hasn’t been dismissed.
I Received a Document Telling Me I Need to Get My Fingerprints Done. Do I Really Need To Do That?
Many courts will request that you get your fingerprints done. Even though you were fingerprinted when arrested, if requested, you do need to get your fingerprints done again, because the court wants to ensure that you are the same person who was arrested.
It Has Been A Few Days/Weeks Since I Hired My Attorney. Why Haven’t I Heard Anything?
Upon the Legal Fee Agreement being signed, your Attorney has notified the Court and the Prosecutor that the Attorney will be representing you, has notified the Court that we are entering a plea of Not Guilty on your behalf, has asked the Court to vacate that first court appearance (Initial Appearance / Arraignment), and has asked the Prosecutor to provide a copy of all relevant documentation, including the police report and breath/blood/urine test results.
Although you likely had a Court date that was only a few weeks away from the date of the arrest, the purpose of that first court date was solely to notify you of your pending charges, and ask if you were going to represent yourself, would be requesting a Public Defender, or would be hiring a Private Attorney. Since you hired a Private Attorney, the purpose of that first court date has been fulfilled, and a new court date would thereafter be sent to the Attorney.
The Attorney will be paying for a copy of the police reports, and soon thereafter the Prosecutor will send most, if not all, of the police reports. This can take a few weeks, to a few months, depending on when the blood test results come in.
Upon the Attorney receiving the police reports, the Attorney will provide you a copy, and will update you of your upcoming court appearance(s).
There is not much to update during the first few weeks, and whatever information your Attorney discovers or is provided, your Attorney will provide that to you.
Should I Get Myself Into Alcohol / Drug Counseling Now?
This is a personal decision, and often times your Attorney will make a recommendation as to whether you should start your counseling right away, or if it is okay to wait and see how the case progresses through the system.
There are 3 places that your Attorney recommends, and each of them are not only approved by your Court, but is approved by the Arizona Department of Transportation / Motor Vehicle Division.
The 3 places are: Liberation Center – (602) 559-4922; Scottsdale Treatment Institute – (480) 429-9044; and Stonewall Institute – (602) 535-6468. All will give you a discount if you mention your Attorney’s name, and the last two have numerous offices around the valley, while Liberation Center is located only in Downtown Phoenix.
Counseling first requires that someone go through Screening, which is usually a half-hour consultation with a Counselor, so they can recommend a certain number of counseling hours. Usually counseling and treatment will be 16, 36, or 56 hours long.
When you are going to a Counselor for a Screening, be sure and ask that the Screening be for the Court and the Motor Vehicle Division.
Anyone whose license is suspended for being suspected of DUI will have to at least go through a Screening in order to reinstate their license. Anyone who is eligible for a restricted license after 30 days of no driving is required to go through Screening in order to get that restricted license.
Added benefits to doing the Screening and Counseling right away include personal benefits, showing the Prosecutor, Judge, and possibly an employer that you took initiative and got yourself in the counseling (taking the situation seriously), and, if there is a conviction for a DUI, the sooner someone is done with Counseling, the sooner that your Attorney can request that the conviction be ‘Set Aside.’
I Received A Reminder Notice From The Court Telling Me That I Have To Appear, And A Warrant Will Issue For My Arrest If I Don't, But My Attorney Told Me That I Do Not Need To Appear. Which One Do I Believe?
There only a few courts that truly require your attendance, however, most courts will send a letter indicating when your next court date is, and also stating that you must appear, otherwise a bench warrant will issue for your arrest. Rely on what your Attorney advises you to do. Despite that nearly every court will indicate that you do have to appear, this is simply not true, and your Attorney will advise you which court date, if any, you must appear at.
I Received A 'Reminder Notice' Telling Me To Pay For The Civil Traffic Violations That Accompanied My DUI Charges. Should I Pay That?
Occasionally a court – usually Phoenix Municipal Court – will send a letter in the mail indicating that you must appear on your DUI charges, but that accompanying civil traffic violations can be taken care of by way of paying off certain fines and fees. Do not pay off those fines and fees for the civil traffic violations out of this letter. Very likely the Attorney will be able to negotiate a plea agreement where those civil traffic violations are dismissed as part of entering into a plea agreement, so there is no need to pay for those civil traffic violations, when they are very likely going to be dismissed.
My Attorney Provided Me A Copy Of The Police Report, But Says It Will Take Weeks Before A Case Review Is Done. Why Does It Take So Long?
In order to do the Case Review, your Attorney needs to sit down and review the case, allow the Former Police Officer to review the police report to give his thoughts (one of the bonuses under Phase 1); discuss the case with the prosecutor to work out a plea agreement or a dismissal, and simply because the Attorney needs to find the time to sit down and focus on your case, and write the Case Review, which normally takes a few straight hours. The Case Review is normally done on the weekend, as there are numerous meetings, court appearances, and other legal work that is actually done during the weekdays.
Additionally, prior to the Case Review being written up and emailed, the client needs to have fully paid for Phase 1, as the writing of the Case Review usually represents one of the last few steps of Phase 1 representation.
I Have Another Question, Is It Okay To Bother My Attorney?
It is no bother. Included in your representation is for your Attorney to be available to you to answer any questions you might have. That is why you hired an Attorney.
If you have any questions about anything, feel free to call, text, or email those questions. Texting is preferred, as often your Attorney is in court, or in meetings, and is unable to take phone calls, but can usually text while waiting in court, or while on a break.
Please be specific as to what the question is in the text. Simply texting “Is there any update” does not allow your Attorney to quickly answer your question.
If the question is long and involving, an email might be the best way to contact your Attorney. You can contact him at Sloan@MCDUI.com.
If you have sent your Attorney a text, email, or called and left a message, and did not get a response within about a day, your Attorney is not intentionally ignoring you, but may have missed your attempt to contact them.
Technology is wonderful, but is not foolproof.
Simply try to call/text/email again.
How Can My License Be Suspended For Being Suspected Of DUI? How Can I Be Punished Before I Am Convicted? Isn’t This A Violation Of Due Process?
Your license is suspended for being suspected of DUI for 90 days, if you consented to the Officer’s request for your blood/breath/urine. Your license would be suspended for one year if you refused to consent to the Officer’s request for your blood/breath/urine. You can see which suspension the officer is attempting to place on you by seeing which check box was checked on the Admin Per Se / Implied Consent Affidavit (pink/yellow piece of paper the officer likely handed you when arrested).
Legally, your license can be suspended because driving is a privilege, not a right; and this is not considered a punishment, but rather, is a possible violation of your duty in having a Driver’s License.
If your license has been taken away, and/or you were provided an Admin Per Se / Implied Consent Affidavit (pink/yellow/white copy), that acts as your drivers license for the next 15 days after the date that you were arrested/served.
If you did not get a piece of paper with the words “Admin Per Se / Implied Consent Affidavit” across the top, it is likely because the Officer is waiting for test results, and you will likely get something in the mail from the Arizona Department of Transportation / Motor Vehicle Division at a later date, telling you that your license to drive will be suspended for being suspected of DUI.
How Do I Know That I’m Driving Legally?
After being arrested, your physical Driver’s License was very likely taken away from you, and you were provided a piece of paper called an Admin Per Se / Implied Consent Affidavit (pink/yellow/white copy). This acts as your drivers license for the next 15 days after the date that you were arrested/served.
After the 15 days are up, you are not supposed to drive at all for 30 days, then you may be eligible for restricted license for the last 60 days. In order to get a restricted license, you cannot have been arrested for DUI within the past few years, there cannot have been any accident involved in your arrest (whether it was your fault or not), and you have to have had an Arizona Driver’s License at the time that you were arrested.
Your Attorney can request a hearing with the Motor Vehicle Division, which allows you to continue to drive, usually for a few more months, until your Attorney or the Arizona Department of Transportation / Motor Vehicle Division tells you otherwise.
You will know that a hearing with the Motor Vehicle Division has been requested on your behalf, so as to allow you to continue to drive until your Attorney or the Arizona Department of Transportation / Motor Vehicle Division tells you otherwise, because you will have received two emails from email@example.com.
The first email will say something along the lines of ‘thank you for your comment,’ while the second email will give you a code number and a link, which will indicate that your license suspension is stayed (paused) pending the outcome of the hearing.
Please note that the way the Arizona Department of Transportation / Motor Vehicle Division hearing has been requested on your behalf, you are the only one who is notified that the hearing has been requested. Your Attorney will not receive the same two emails that you receive. It is a problem with the Arizona Department of Transportation / Motor Vehicle Division’s website, so don’t be surprised if the Attorney asks you to remind them if a hearing was requested.
Very likely, your Attorney will recommend that the hearing not actually take place, and will request you to pick a date for the suspension to begin, so as to hopefully prevent you from having to get SR 22 High Risk Insurance.
If you ever have any questions about this, feel free to contact your Attorney, or simply text your attorney your Date of Birth or Arizona Driver’s License Number, and the Attorney will get in touch with their contact at the MVD and update you on what the MVD records state.
I Got Two Different Stay Letters From The Arizona Department Of Transportation, With Two Different Case Numbers, What Does All That Mean?
If your Attorney has requested a hearing with the Arizona Department of Transportation / Motor Vehicle Division, you may receive one or two “Stay Letters” in the mail. This indicates that a hearing has been requested on the allegation that your license should be suspended for being suspected of DUI. The Stay Letter(s) indicate that you are allowed to continue driving until your Attorney or the Arizona Department of Transportation / Motor Vehicle Division tells you otherwise.
The reason that there may be two Stay Letters, with two different case numbers, is that one Stay Letter reflects the 30 day suspension for being suspected of DUI; and the other Stay Letter reflects the 60 day restricted license that you may be eligible for, for being suspected of DUI (after doing the first 30 days of no driving at all).
Should I Go Get An ID Card Since The Officer Took Away My Drivers License?
This is not exactly an easy one answer.
If the officer took away your Driver’s License, and handed you an Admin Per Se / Implied Consent Affidavit (white/pink/yellow piece of paper), that piece of paper will allow you to continue to drive, but does not act as a form of identification.
It is recommended that you carry around an old ID card, or an old Driver’s License, or a passport, in order to have a form of identification if you were to be stopped while driving on the Admin Per Se / Implied Consent Affidavit.
Technically, legally, a person in Arizona can only have an Identification Card or a Driver’s License. If you were to go into the Motor Vehicle Division and get an Identification Card, technically you are giving up your privilege to drive pursuant to that Admin Per Se / Implied Consent Affidavit.
The safest thing to do is to NOT get an Identification Card, and use some other form identification, if necessary.
Do I Have To Do Anything With My License After The 60 Day Restricted License On The 90 Day Suspension For Being Suspected Of DUI Is Up?
If you received a 90 day suspension – 30 days of no driving at all, and potentially 60 days of a restricted license – either for being suspected of DUI, or for being convicted of DUI, you must go to the MVD to reinstate your full driving privilege after the 90 day suspension ends. Once the 90 days of a license restriction ends, your license is reverted back to a full suspension, unless you go into the Motor Vehicle Division and reinstate your full driving privileges. The restricted license does not continue after the 60 days.
I Plead Guilty To A DUI / Plead Guilty To A Reckless Driving / My Case Was Dismissed, Do I Still Have To Deal With The One Year License Suspension Because I Refused To Consent To The Blood / Breath / Urine Test When I Was Arrested?
Yes. When you are arrested, there are two different processes taking place: 1) The Arizona Department of Transportation / Motor Vehicle Division suspension of your license; and 2) The court case on your criminal and civil charges.
Whatever happens in court, whether it is a dismissal, a conviction of a DUI, or a plea agreement to a Reckless Driving, none of that has any bearing on the license suspension you received for refusing the requested blood/breath/urine test on the date you were arrested.
The court does not have the ability to overturn or supersede the ADOT / MVD and their one year suspension of your license for refusing the blood/breath/urine test upon your arrest.
Regardless of what happens in court, you will very likely still have to deal with the consequences of a license suspension for being arrested for DUI.
After Being Convicted, I Got This Letter In The Mail From The Motor Vehicle Division Telling Me That I Had To Do Traffic Survival School. That Wasn't Part Of My Plea Agreement, And The Judge Never Said Anything About That. Do I Have To Do It, Or Should I Ask For Hearing?
Anyone who has eight points on their driving record is required to do Traffic Survival School. Anyone convicted of a Reckless Driving or any DUI offense, will get 8 points on their driving record. While the court does not require that a person do Traffic Survival School, it is a consequence with the Motor Vehicle Division that anyone with eight points or more on their driving record will have to do Traffic Survival School. There is no point in asking for hearing, it is something that must be done. Failure to do Traffic Survival School will lead to an additional 6 month suspension of your license.
Can My Conviction Be Erased, Expunged, Or Set Aside?
Arizona currently does not have a law allowing for expungement, and therefore a conviction for a DUI cannot be erased from your record. The closest thing Arizona has is what is called ‘Setting Aside a Conviction.’
If there is a conviction, and once all the provisions of the sentence are completed, including the jail time, counseling, paying off all the fines and fees, as well as fulfilling the requirements of the Ignition Interlock Device ONLY if the client received a benefit of deleted jail time in exchange for installing the Ignition Interlock Device, then you can contact your Attorney, and the Attorney can file a Motion to Set Aside the Conviction.
If successful, this does not mean that you do not have a conviction on your record, nor does it mean that you could indicate on an application that you were never convicted of a crime, but it does mean that if someone were to do a criminal background check on you, there should be an indication on your record showing that the conviction was ‘Set Aside.’
Accordingly, if you were to fill out an application that asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime or a DUI, you would still have to indicate ‘Yes,’ but you could write next to it “but, it was Set Aside.”
The work that goes into Setting Aside a Conviction is included in Phase 1 representation.