Know your rights if you're pulled overPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- December is known for its endless string of holiday parties so it’s no surprise to see extra police on the roads this time of year and extra DUI enforcement efforts. But it also means all drivers need to be more vigilant when driving.
According to local defense attorney Charlie Naegle, the old one-drink-per-hour rule could still land you a trip to jail, even if you're below the legal blood alcohol limit. Naegle says, that’s because in Arizona, a DUI is charged one of two ways.
"The first way is for having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher," Naegle says. "That’s the number most people know and refer to when talking about DUIs. What people don't realize is that there is a second way they can be charged with a DUI under Arizona law. It's called 'impaired to the slightest degree' or 'DUI in the slightest.' Basically, all the officer or prosecutor has to do is prove that you were impaired to the slightest degree."
Both are punishable with the same mandatory sentence. To avoid the hassle, Naegle offers some do's and don'ts for drivers if you happen to see those flashing lights in the rear view mirror.
- Pull over in a safe spot: "The officer will be watching how you manage the vehicle after he turns on his lights," Naegle says.
- Be polite. Conduct yourself in a courteous and cooperative manner and provide your license, registration and proof of insurance.
- Perform any coordination balance or eye tests. "This is important, especially if you haven't been drinking," Naegle says. "You are under no legal obligation to participate in these tests. And you have to remember, those type of tests aren’t designed to prove your innocence; they are designed to prove you are impaired."
- Talk too much. "Keep answers simple and let the officer know that you know your rights and would like to talk to an attorney if he is accusing you of being impaired," says Naegle.
Naegle says the best way to avoid a DUI charge is not to drink and drive. He offers a downloadable file for residents to keep in their car in case they are pulled over. You can find it at http://naeglelawfirm.com