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Bill to Remove Right to Jury Trial for First-Time DUI Offenders

SB 1200, a bill recently approved by the Arizona Legislature, has the potential to end the right to a trial by jury for first-time DUI offenders.  Under current state law, first-time DUI offenders have an automatic right to a jury trial.  However, under the bill, the Judge would have the right to determine whether to grant the DUI offender’s request for a jury trial.  Alternatively, according to the bill, the Judge could choose to hear the case without a jury.

The bill also proposes to shorten the length of time first-time DUI offenders are required to use an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. According to one sponsor, Senator Steve Pierce, the bill is an effort to “help keep people on the road,” and to reduce Arizona’s harsh DUI penalties that were “damaging families, damaging people’s lives.”  To qualify for the reduced ignition interlock sentence, first-time DUI offenders must (1) calibrate the ignition interlock device monthly at the Motor Vehicle Division; (2) complete a sixteen-hour DUI education program; (3) not have been involved in an accident at the time the DUI offense occurred; (4) not attempt to drive while intoxicated during the six-month ignition interlock period.

The bill also gives Judges added discretion for DUI sentencing.  For example, under current law, first-time DUI offenders face a mandatory twenty-four (24) hour jail sentence.  However, if approved, the bill would give the Judge discretion over whether to impose jail time.

The bill has been sent to Governor Jan Brewer for approval.

If you have been arrested for DUI, contact the Phoenix DUI attorneys at the DUI law office Oracle Law Group Office P.C. today!