You have heard that Arizona is one of the toughest states when it comes to DUIs. My extensive DUI experience all around the state can testify that this is true. While each city, county and court are different when it comes to DUI consequences, I can say I have never seen a sentencing like the one that made news this month. A Houston man who was arrested for his ninth drunk driving incident was sentenced to life in prison. The extreme punishment paralleled his extreme circumstances. He was arrested 8 times between the years 1980 and 2008. In the most recent incident, he struck another vehicle with a 16-year-old occupant, who, while not injured, also happened to be the county constable’s son. Shockingly, the defendant never had his driver’s license suspended or revoked over the course of any of the DUIs.
Felony DUIs in Arizona are challenging
It is not uncommon to see clients return for my assistance on a repeat DUI charge. Repeat DUIs in Arizona are considered very serious with the courts. In fact, upon a third DUI within a 7-year period, the DUI will be a felony. Any repeat DUI case for us is more of a challenge to defend. Prosecutors consider this pertinent criminal history, sometimes even a DUI conviction from our of state. We take these cases very seriously because the consequences can escalate quickly with each subsequent charge, and our client’s future can be severely impacted by a conviction.
Consequences of a repeat DUI
Drinking alcohol as a fun recreational activity is ok in moderation, but it is more concerning when people repeat their mistakes over and over again. Someone who has been charged with a DUI in Arizona has already felt the sting of the consequences and felt the stress of going through the legal system. The results from such a charge are not something that anyone wants to go through a second or third time, which of course is the whole point for the courts. However, when we hear from a client who has been charged a second or third time with a DUI or other alcohol related crime, it is clear that there is an issue beyond a social fun night gone wrong. The courts need to realize that for some people, it is not as easy to stop the behavior that leads to a drinking and driving arrest. Sometimes, a day in jail or hefty fine is not effective in deterrence. Recidivism is an issue in Arizona that leads to higher crime, over worked law enforcement and over crowding in jails. The courts need to acknowledge this issue and work on treatment for root issues for DUIs.