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Governor Brewer Signs Bill Ending Automatic Right to Jury Trial for Misdemeanor DUI Defendants

On April 29, 2011, Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1200: a DUI Bill that ends the automatic right to a trial by jury for misdemeanor first-time DUI defendants.  According to the Bill, a DUI defendant can request a jury trial, but the Judge is given the authority to determine whether to grant the defendant’s request.  If the Judge denies the defendant’s request, the case will be heard solely by the Judge.  This Bill does not affect the right of repeat DUI offenders to a jury trial.

Those sponsoring the Bill assert that the change is reasonable in light of the fact that the Bill also eases potential penalties for first-time DUI offenders: the Bill shortens the time first-time DUI offenders would be required to use an ignition interlock device, and the Bill provides Judges with new discretion when sentencing a first-time DUI offender.

In opposition to the Bill, on Thursday, a Committee filed a referendum application with the Arizona Secretary of State.  Filing this application allows the committee to begin collecting signatures to suspend implementation of the Law.  The Committee is required to obtain 86, 405 voter signatures by July 19th to suspend the Law until it can be put to a public vote during the 2012 general election.

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