Today’s blog/video is with Dannuel Hutto, an attorney that practices criminal and family law. I ask him questions regarding DUI’s and how it affects your car insurance here in Arizona. I”ll include some snippets of our conversation below, but watch the video to get all the good details!
Question- First time I’ve ever been convicted for a DUI. Tell me what is going to happen to my license, and then tell me what’s the worst case scenario that’s going to happen when it comes to MVD and my insurance.
Okay. So there’s a distinction there. So it is convicted. We’re not talking about if you’re an investigated or arrested for a DUI, we’re talking about you’ve been convicted of a first time DUI offense. Everybody can expect to have, at minimum, their license suspended. Now the difference of when and how and what duration is kind of to be determined, but everyone can expect, if you’re convicted of a DUI, your license will be suspended for at least 90 days. Additionally, someone can expect, with a conviction for DUI, if it’s not DUI drugs, they’re going to have an interlock device on their vehicle for a minimum of 12 months up to 18 months.
In addition to that interlock, someone will be required to do traffic survival school. And that is actually a component of the points that someone will realize with a DUI conviction. A DUI conviction does carry eight points, so it’s considered a major violation in Arizona. So MVD will give you those eight points and then the suspension I talked about in the beginning could be worse if you’re a speeder or you have a bunch of traffic violations that are unrelated to your DUI. So someone could find themselves having an additional suspension from the one I previously discussed because of points accumulation.
Question: What happens if I get a 2nd DUI?
Again, not talking about the legal consequences with court, talking about insurance and MVD, someone’s going to have their license revoked, not suspended, for a second offense. And revocation is far more difficult to cure and fix with MVD down the road. Their license will be revoked for one year with a second conviction. I don’t care if it’s a regular DUI or a super extreme DUI, they’ll still be assessed an interlock requirement. That interlock requirement will come after your revocation. So you’ll have a year of revocation and then anywhere between 12 to 24 months of interlock requirement following that revocation period. Same thing goes with eight points on your driving record, traffic survival school, and then the insurance ramifications. We haven’t yet talked about SR-22 which is that high risk drivers insurance. That can be a product of a first time offender, as well as a second offender. But with a second offender, you’ve now had, remember I talked about DUI being a major violation, second offense is your second major violation. You’re going to realize that SR-22 requirement.
Question: Let’s say you get one DUI and then your next DUI isn’t until 10 years from now. Is there a timeframe where they’re going to hit you for both of them?
There is. And that time frame can differ depending on what a prosecutor does in the court and what MVD does. So typically, seven years is the window for someone’s second offense to be aggravated with MVD as well as the court. So any second violation within seven years, MVD will treat it as a second offense regardless if we resolve your case as a first time offense with the judge or with the prosecutor, or if they choose not even to aggravate you after a trial with a second offense DUI. So MVD says anything within seven years regardless of how the court or the prosecutor resolve it.
Question: So on top of all of that, what can I expect my legal costs to be after each offense?
So the legal costs can be quite significant. Arizona has some of the most severe and harsh DUI penalties in the country. Not only the financial components of mandatory fines and fees with, excuse me, the courts, in addition to things like jail costs, counseling is a required component. We’ve talked about suspensions and revocations, the eight points on your record. Most of those things, in order to cure them, require you to do some sort of DUI education and counseling. So you have to pay for that. And then finally, we have the MVD components of, well, what do you do when you can’t drive for a year? Are you Ubering everywhere? Are you hiring a driver? Are you taking the bus? There’s that added cost that is different for everyone. And then the interlock. Interlocks are not free. It’s a large industry, as well. And so for that one year and up, the requirement for even a first or second time offender can be thousands of dollars. So when everything’s all said and done, not including legal fees as it relates to finding a competent attorney, you can find yourself spending upwards of $10,000 for a first offense DUI. No problem.
Question: Should I contact an attorney after an arrest or a charge? Or can I do it myself? What do you say?
So you absolutely have to contact a competent defense attorney. A lot of attorneys like myself offer free consultations over the phone anytime day or night as it relates to you simply being arrested or investigated for a DUI. So you have to at least contact counsel to get an idea of what you’re dealing with. No two cases are the same. No two clients are the same. Although we’ve talked about the general penalties that can result, that doesn’t mean that everybody that’s investigated or charged with a DUI has these requirements. Because again, cases get dismissed, people get not guilty verdicts or pleas are changed or amended.
One other thing that people need to be aware of is just because you have not been convicted of a DUI does not mean that MVD won’t start taking action against your license. Anyone in Arizona that has been investigated or arrested for a DUI can have their license suspended civilly under what’s known as the Admin Per Se law. That takes effect 15 days after the arrest. So within the first 15 days of being stopped by the officer, you could find yourself having your license suspended regardless of what the court does, regardless of what happens with the charges. Just the allegation and investigation alone can affect your license. So you have to contact an attorney quickly, find someone that’ll give you that free advice, consultation like myself, and figure out what your options are.
So don’t drink and drive, simple as that. But if you do, it’s important to know the ramifications and how it will affect you and your car insurance here in Arizona. Contact Daniel Hutto if you have any questions.