Despite a decrease in annual arrests, an Arizona DUI continues to be a prevalent offense with fatal consequences. The CDC recently reported that alcohol-impaired driving accounts for approximately 33% of automobile accident deaths each year. Due to the serious nature of the offense, law enforcement is diligent in patrolling roadways and making arrests. And although there were over 28,000 DUI arrests made in 2014 in Arizona, getting injured in a DUI accident isn’t uncommon.
Arizona DUI and DWI: What’s the Difference?
Often thought of as the same charges, DUI and DWI are different by definition. The acronym DUI stands for “Driving Under the Influence,” and DWI stands for “Driving While Intoxicated.” While DUI is associated with driving under the influence of alcohol, or drugs such as marijuana and legal or illegal prescription drugs, DWI strictly refers to driving while intoxicated only by alcohol. This distinction is critical when considering how the penalties are administered. Although both carry criminal charges with serious sentencing guidelines, a DWI charge in Arizona does require the presence of a measurable amount of alcohol. An Arizona DUI charge is validated by the proof of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but the amount of alcohol does not have to meet the minimum level that constitutes a DWI arrest.
What Happens During a DUI Stop?
A DUI stop can begin as nothing more than a traffic stop after an officer observes an offender committing a common traffic violation such as speeding, failure to signal a turn, weaving, or failing to yield. The officer will ask the driver to furnish a license, insurance, and registration. Once an officer detects signs of alcohol or drug consumption, whether it is a strong odor, impaired speech or bloodshot eyes, they will likely continue to investigate further, perhaps even instituting a field sobriety test.
Many drivers who are asked to, feel inclined to perform the test to prove that they are able to drive. However, the observing officer is not looking to see if the motorist is capable of driving; they are looking for signs of impairment. Every Arizona motorist must abide by the Implied Consent Law. The law states that by obtaining and accepting a driver’s license, the driver also provides consent to be tested for drug or alcohol content if an officer feels it is necessary.
DUI Stops Don’t Always Work
DUI stops don’t always work and officers can’t stop every vehicle that’s impaired on the road. Drivers still get behind the wheel, drive the wrong way on the freeways, swerve and act recklessly. They put your life and those whom you love at risk. Watch the roads as you drive this holiday season. If you see someone swerving or driving recklessly, get out of the way and report it.
If you or someone you love is injured as a result of an Arizona DUI driver, contact us today to discuss your options and receive immediate guidance. We’ll work hard to get you everything you deserve. Don’t settle your case without first talking with us.