Arizona Finally Removes Driver License Disparity in Misdemeanor DUI Cases.
As a former police officer turned DUI defense attorney, I have represented numerous misdemeanor and felony DUI clients in every county in Arizona. Some clients fixate on the potential jail time. Others are troubled by the obnoxious fines and fees. But sooner or later, every DUI client wants to know exactly how his or her driver’s license will be affected by the DUI case. And, more often than not, the question I am asked is something like this: “How come my license will be revoked for a full year when my friend/sister/co-worker/cousin/great-grandmother only got a thirty day suspension?”
In Arizona, a first-time misdemeanor DUI conviction based solely on alcohol will bring a ninety-day license suspension. If that person has a clean driving record, then he or she can get a restricted work permit on day 31, so in reality, it is only thirty days of no driving. In sharp contrast, however, a first-time misdemeanor DUI drug conviction (regardless of the drug) will bring a full year revocation of that person’s license to drive. Individuals with DUI drug convictions are not currently permitted to obtain a restricted work permit. A DUI drug conviction means 365 consecutive days of no driving at all. Period.
This obvious disparity in driver’s license sanctions has never made much sense to me and has absolutely bewildered most of my DUI drug clients. If the criminal statutes, prosecutors and judges all treat a DUI alcohol case exactly like a DUI drug case, then why should a person’s driver’s license be suspended so differently? The short answer to this questions has always been: “Because the lawmakers said so.” The full year revocation is specifically required by Arizona law.
Finally, after decades of treating people unfairly, the Arizona legislature has seen fit to rectify this historical inequality in driver license sanctions. Although it will not become effective until January 1, 2017, recent amendments to A.R.S. §#28-3304 will remove the one year revocation for DUI drug convictions. Beginning next year, all first-time misdemeanor DUI license suspension sanctions will be exactly the same length in time regardless of the substance that the driver was consuming.
Although lawmakers have finally fixed one quirk in the Arizona criminal traffic code, actively defending a DUI case still involves having a keen understanding of many legal and scientifically complex issues. Our DUI defense attorneys have vast experience in helping clients through the nightmare that is the DUI realm. If you need help call us today at (480) 833-2341 .