Given the numerous bars, restaurants and nightclubs in Scottsdale, Arizona as well as the number of visitors to the Old Town and downtown Scottsdale area every weekend, it is not surprising that police constantly remain on the lookout for impaired drivers and that many people are arrested for DUI each weekend. Whether you are cited for Driving While Impaired to the Slightest Degree, having an alcohol concentration above .08, Extreme DUI involving an Alcohol Concentration above .15 or Super Extreme DUI above a .20 BAC, you should know that harsh penalties may result. Police and Prosecutors vigorously enforce DUI laws within the City of Scottsdale.
The Police Investigation
If you consumed alcohol and were stopped for a motor vehicle violation by Scottsdale Police, you should anticipate a number of things which might occur. Initially, police will ask you whether you've been drinking and possibly how much alcohol you consumed. Remember, you are not required to answer any questions beyond providing police with your drivers license, registration and proof of insurance. If police notice possible signs of impairment, such as an odor of alcohol, bloodshot or watery eyes, slurred speech, etc they will request that you exit your vehicle and participate in field sobriety tests. These include horizontal gaze nystagmus (the eye test), the walk and turn test or the one leg stand. You might also be asked to give a breath sample through a hand held breathalyzer device called a preliminary breath tester. Again, these tests are voluntary and you are not under any legal obligation to do them.
For people unfortunate enough to be arrested in Scottsdale for DUI, a number of things will occur to further the police investigation. Specifically, you will be advised of your Miranda warnings and then asked a series of questions concerning the alcohol you consumed and whether you felt impaired to drive a car. You will also be advised of Arizona's Implied Consent Statute and asked to provide a sample of your blood and breath to determine your alcohol concentration. Finally, you will either to released and given a date to appear in court or in some cases booked into jail and held to see a judge the following morning.
The Scottsdale City Court Process
The Scottsdale City Court is located at 3700 North 75th Street, Scottsdale, Arizona. Your first court court appearance after a DUI arrest is an Arraignment. During this proceeding, a "Not Guilty" plea will be entered on your behalf and you will be directed to return to court in approximately thirty days for a Pre-Trial Conference. Between the Arraignment and Pre-Trial Conference, prosecutors will review the police report and blood or breath test results as well as your driving record. The case will be evaluated by the assigned prosecutor for a potential plea offer. If you hire an attorney, your lawyer will also review these materials, begin to interview witnesses and research any potential issues.
At the Pre-Trial Conference, your lawyer will discuss the case with an assigned prosecutor, request any additional items of discovery such as blood test results or officer body camera video and explore a possible resolution of your case. The court will then schedule a Case Management Conference about four weeks after your Pre-Trial Conference. At the Case Management Conference, the court will ask whether:
- there are any outstanding discovery issues,
- interviews of the states witnesses have been scheduled.
- blood test results have been provided,
- there are experts who will be retained,
- DUI Defendant resides outside of Arizona.
The final hearing prior to trial is referred to as a Trial Readiness Conference. During this proceeding, the court will want to know if a plea offer will be negotiated, whether witnesses are available for trial and what a realistic trial date may be. You should be aware that the Scottsdale City Prosecutor's policy is that any potential plea offers will be revoked if a case does not resolve at or before the Trial Readiness Conference. Consequently, you should seriously consider any potentially favorable plea offer before setting a trial date past the Trial Readiness Conference. Should your case not resolve, you are entitled to a Jury Trial where witnesses will testify and six members of the community must determine if evidence has been presented which proves you guilty of DUI, Extreme DUI or Super Extreme DUI beyond a reasonable doubt.