I think they do. When they arrest someone from out-of-state for suspicion of DUI, they are more likely to be taken to jail and held for at least a few hours, but maybe even a day or two, whereas Arizona residents will tend to be released. They do this because they feel that the person is a flight risk; if they leave, they’ll just go back to their home state.
I do see quite a few people from out-of-state and some Arizona judges are okay with me setting up a telephonic change of plea, in which my out-of-state client can enter their plea agreement via phone and mail, if necessary, rather than having them fly back into town. Some courts, however, require that the client show up, and won’t do it by way of phone or mail, or they put so many barricades up when it comes to actually being able to do a telephonic change of plea that ultimately, the person has to come back into town, anyway.
Are Out-of-State DUIs Mostly Alcohol Induced or Drug Related?
Arizona has laws for DUI concerning alcohol, drugs, medications or vapor-releasing substances, while other states usually have drugs, medications and alcohol; I don’t tend to see vapor-releasing substances as much in other states but that’s extremely rare and the only example that I know of are paint huffers. Most laws in other states do include alcohol, drugs and medications, but interestingly, the differences can often be used to show the courts in Arizona that a prior DUI or DWI conviction from another state does not translate to Arizona because we list hundreds of drugs and medications that, if present in your system, it’s a DUI.
Other states may list out hundreds of different drugs, too, but if there is one drug in the other state’s list that is not on ours, we can argue that we don’t know if they were convicted of having that one specific drug in their system, which does not correlate to Arizona DUI law and therefore can’t be used against my client because the prosecutor and the judge are not allowed to look at anything other than the law in which they were convicted in the other state. It’s a legal issue that takes close examination to figure out and many attorneys don’t want to spend the time; they just figure the client realizes they have a prior DUI and they won’t put in the work to figure out if it truly is a prior DUI conviction.
Do People Think that They Can Hide an Out-of-state DUI and the Situation will Resolve itself?
I don’t think people go out there with the intent to drink and drive, thinking they want to hide from their past; people make mistakes when they are caught drinking and driving; it doesn’t make them bad people. They made a mistake and hopefully, they can overcome it. Most who are charged with misdemeanor offenses will be able to overcome a DUI conviction.
When you are talking about felony offenses, we are talking about life-changing situations; some people come here and the laws from their home state don’t necessarily translate to the laws in Arizona. In California, if you are making a left turn, you can turn into whichever lane is convenient for you, while Arizona law says, if you are making a left turn you have to turn into the closest lane where practicable. People from California get pulled over often in Arizona for making a wide turn, which is perfectly legal in California but is illegal here in the State of Arizona.
Where California law differs, if I remember correctly, is that a fourth DUI is charged as a felony, while in Arizona, the third DUI is charged as a felony. That means someone from California may think they won’t be charged with a felony because they only have two prior DUI convictions, when in reality we follow Arizona law and if Arizona can prove that you have two prior DUI convictions from California that translate to a DUI conviction here in Arizona, they will be looking at a felony. When I have done research in the past, it appears that a California DUI does translate to an Arizona DUI.
There can always be situations for which it doesn’t necessarily translate, but from what I’ve seen so far, their laws are quite close to Arizona’s, so it will usually be someone with a prior DUI from a different state that isn’t California for which the research really comes in to figure out whether someone truly has a prior conviction that can be used against them as a “prior DUI conviction” in the State of Arizona.
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