Arrest and Pre-Indictment Process for DUI

Lawyer for Phoenix Residents Charged With Drunk Driving Offenses

If you consume alcohol or drugs, you may be pulled over and arrested for a DUI. You can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Arizona because your blood alcohol content is at least .08, or if you are impaired to the slightest degree because of alcohol or drugs. Sometimes people who are arrested for DUI are not aware that they are inebriated or that they had consumed too much alcohol. What happens in the arrest and pre-indictment process of a DUI case can affect the outcome. An experienced Phoenix DUI attorney can help you protect your rights and defend yourself from the earliest stages of your case.

Arrest and Pre-Indictment Process for DUI

It can be incredibly stressful to be stopped and then arrested for a DUI in Arizona. Sometimes an arrest turns into a misdemeanor charge, and in other situations it changes into a felony DUI charge because of related injuries, deaths, or other circumstances. During the process leading up to arrest, you should try to pay attention to your interactions with the police officer. An officer needs to have reasonable suspicion that you committed or are in the process of committing a crime in order to pull you over. Reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct could include a police officer’s observation of you weaving, committing a traffic violation, or speeding. There must be more than a mere hunch that you did something wrong. If an officer doesn’t have this reasonable suspicion, it may be possible to get the evidence from your detainment suppressed.

During a DUI stop, often the officer uses the detainment to ask you questions and observe you. The goal is to figure out whether there is probable cause to arrest you. They will look at whether you have red eyes, whether you are coherent, and how you speak. If you are in a custodial interrogation you should be given Miranda warnings, detailing your right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. Sometimes field sobriety tests are administered, and if they indicate that you are under the influence or impaired, you may face DUI charges. You may also be asked to take a breath test.

If you are arrested for a DUI, you’ll be booked. You’ll be taken to the police station and asked a series of questions. You’ll also be searched, fingerprinted, and photographed. After your arrest, officers will look into your background to see whether you have previous convictions or a suspended license. Officers may also look into records from other courts to see whether you have a prior DUI conviction.

There may be other law enforcement investigations post-arrest as well. For example, if a prosecutor is trying to figure out whether to file a felony DUI or a misdemeanor DUI case against you in connection with an accident DUI causing injuries or death, or deciding whether to file aggravated assault or homicide charges, a post-arrest investigation may commence. Even if a post-arrest investigation is already occurring, it’s wise to seek legal counsel because your attorney can communicate with the prosecutor about their decision regarding whether to file a misdemeanor or felony charge.


Most DUIs are misdemeanors, and in those cases the prosecutor files the complaint directly with the court. However, prosecutors can also pursue a grand jury indictment for felony charges when they believe enough proof exists. DUIs that result in accidents causing injuries or death can be charged as felonies through the indictment process.

Sometimes the grand jury indictment process replaces the direct complaint process, while other times, it is supplemental to the filing of the direct complaint. A grand jury includes 9 randomly-chosen citizens. Prosecutors let the grand jury know that a crime occurred, and argue that you should stand trial. An indictment is only issued if the grand jury believes a crime occurred and that you likely committed it.

Skilled DUI Defense Attorney Serving the Phoenix Area

If you are concerned about the arrest and pre-indictment process for a DUI, a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can evaluate your case and legal options. Mr. Novak represents those charged with DUIs and other crimes in the Phoenix area including in Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and across Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation
(840) 413-1499