Flagstaff DUI lawyer comments on deferred prosecutions in Northern Arizona DUI cases…

Driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Flagstaff, Arizona must be taken seriously. Even for your first offense, a DUI – Impaired to the Slightest, is a class 1 misdemeanor with required jail time in the Coconino County Detention Facility at 951 E. Sawmill Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, and significant fines and fees.

Flagstaff has great bars and restaurants in the downtown area and on Route 66. Most people enjoy their drinks at Charley’s or Zane Gray, Flag Brew, Collin’s Irish Pub, The Museum Club, The Mad Italian, or the many other Flagstaff bars that serve alcohol. But very few people actually live near downtown, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of tourists that travel through Flagstaff while visiting the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Zion, or even Phoenix.

So, once you drink, how do you get home or to your hotel? Far too many people risk driving after drinking, and the Flagstaff police know where to catch you committing traffic violations so that they can pull you over and investigate you for DUI. (For more information on what happens when you’re pulled over on suspicion of DUI under Arizona DUI laws, see this post: http://www.flagstaff-lawyer.com/2010/12/flagstaff-dui-what-you-need-to-knowpart.html).

Oftentimes, a great result in a Flagstaff DUI case is a deferred prosecution. So what is a deferred prosecution?

Here is what the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure say about it:

Whenever after the filing of a complaint, indictment or information, but prior to a plea of guilty or trial, the prosecutor determines that it would serve the ends of justice to suspend further prosecution of a defendant so that he or she could participate in a deferred prosecution program, the prosecutor, with the consent of the defendant, may, by written motion, apply to the court for suspension of prosecution.

See Rule 38.1, Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure.

So what does this mean for a Flagstaff DUI defendant? Well, you are NEVER guaranteed a deferred prosecution. In fact, most Flagstaff DUI cases begin with a plea offer from the prosecutor to a DUI charge. Sometimes, however, “the prosecutor determines that it would serve the ends of justice” to offer you an opportunity to earn a dismissal of your Flagstaff DUI charges.

In a Flagstaff DUI case, there are numerous factors that a prosecutor considers in determining whether an Arizona deferred prosecution is appropriate. I know firsthand because I used to be a prosecutor. So I understand the thought processes behind various plea offers, plea agreements, charges, and deferred prosecutions.

In the Flagstaff DUI investigation of your case, if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) comes back above 0.08%, your odds of a deferred prosecution are lower. However, if you do everything right, and even voluntarily do an alcohol assessment at an agency like Northern Arizona Substance Abuse Services (N.A.S.A.S.), your Flagstaff DUI may be pled down to deferred prosecution, and ultimately dismissed. It is up to the prosecutor who has a great deal of discretion under Arizona DUI sentencing laws.

A deferred prosecution offers a defendant an opportunity to complete various terms and conditions and show good behavior in order to earn a dismissal of their Flagstaff DUI case. This would be instead of a criminal conviction.

If you have been charged with a DUI in Northern Arizona, such as in Flagstaff, Williams, Sedona, or Prescott, I will offer you a free consultation in which we can discuss the many defenses and possible outcomes for your Arizona DUI case.

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