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Legislators Seek to Reverse Change to Arizona DUI Law

In January 2012, the new Arizona DUI laws went into effect. One of the changes was that persons who were arrested for their first DUI would not be allowed a jury trial. The defendants’ cases would be decided by a bench trial instead, which would save a significant amount of time and money for the courts. This rule does not apply to extreme, super extreme, or aggravated DUIs.

On Thursday, February 23rd, the Arizona House Judiciary Committee approved House Bill 2284 that would reverse the bench trial rule. The bill will go for a vote by the Arizona House of Representatives next. If the bill is approved by the House, it will go to the Arizona State Senate for a vote.

Some of the bill’s supporters question whether it is fair or constitutional to deny someone a jury trial if the potential consequences include jail time. In Arizona, jury trials are required for any crime where the penalty could be up to six months in jail. When a person is convicted of DUI in Arizona (blood-alcohol content less than 0.15), he/she faces up to 10 days in jail.

According to the report, several DUI defense attorneys are also challenging the bench trial rule on behalf of their clients, arguing that the Arizona Constitution gives their clients the right to a jury trial.

If you have been arrested for DUI, contact an attorney for DUI at Oracle Law Group Office P.C. for assistance with your DUI case.

Photo credit: Craig B. Griffin from Flickr