The interesting thing about Arizona law is that it has to follow a very specific set of rules before a DUI or DWI from another state can be used as a “prior DUI conviction” in Arizona; in order for an out-of-state DUI, or “foreign DUI,” to be used against someone for enhancement purposes to make an Arizona DUI a second-time offense, the law they were convicted under must match Arizona DUI laws. They don’t necessarily care about the facts about what happened in the other state; they only care about the law under which you were convicted.
In Arizona, we review the law the person was convicted under, to see if there is any possibility that a conviction in another state will not match a conviction in Arizona, which means the state can’t use that prior DUI or DWI conviction for enhancement purposes. For example, I recently looked up the laws in New Hampshire, where they have bundled quite a few things into their DUI laws. In that case, the person was convicted under a statute that included not just DUI but attempted DUI and boating DUI and since Arizona’s statute doesn’t include boating DUI, we were able to explain to the court that my client theoretically could have been convicted of a boating DUI even though they were not, and because you can only look at the statute and not at the facts, Arizona couldn’t use it.
It takes an attorney who knows what they are looking for and who doesn’t simply look at the documents saying that a client has a prior DUI from a different state and leave it at that; it takes research and the ability to figure out the elements of the offense and knowing exactly what they pled guilty to in a different state and determining whether there is any possible way to plead guilty to a DUI in another state that can’t be considered a prior DUI conviction in the State of Arizona.
Are The Rules and Penalties for a DUI the Same in Arizona as Other States?
Every state is different, but Arizona tends to be harsher on most fronts when it comes to a DUI conviction, except in the area of a license suspension, for which Arizona is pretty good. The state will normally suspend a person for 90 days if they are convicted of a first-time offense and of those 90 days, the first 30 is no driving at all, while the next 60 days, they can be eligible for a restricted license to drive to and from home to work, school and counseling. In other states I have seen, they will suspend someone’s license anywhere from three months to two years, and some states have the ability to revoke someone’s license for life; I have yet to see anything like that in Arizona.
On the other hand, Arizona has what may be some of the harshest civil monetary penalties out there, in the form of fines and fees. For a first-time regular DUI, a person will pay just about $1,500 minimum in fines and fees, plus at least one day in jail is required, which is not the case in many states. Therefore, Arizona is harsher than most other states, except when it comes to license suspension.
What Happens on An Out-of-state Prescription Medication DUI?
Prescription DUI seems to be a growing offense here in Arizona, as I imagine it is everywhere else. Some laws in other states appear to be written in a way in which it doesn’t even have to be prescription medications; it can be over-the-counter medications that can impair someone and lead to a DUI in a different state. Our laws address some over-the-counter medications but not all; it all depends on how the state legislatures wrote the law and how they changed it over time and DUI laws in Arizona are constantly being adjusted and manipulated.
The same is true in other states, which is why it’s important that the attorney, when researching an out-of-state prior DUI conviction, look at the law as it was written at the time the person was arrested, not just how it is modern day version but at the time that they were arrested and it is something that is required for the court to examine, not the law as it is written today but as it was written at the time that the person was arrested or convicted.
For more information on Out-of-state DUI in Arizona, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling 480-900-0384 today.