Arizona prosecutors take drunk driving seriously. In drunk driving investigations, police officers may need to secure DUI warrants before searching the vehicle or arresting the driver. A warrant is a court order that authorizes the police to take certain actions. If you have been arrested for drunk driving, call us. James E. Novak is a seasoned Phoenix DUI attorney who has a deep understanding of Arizona’s harsh criminal justice system. As a former prosecutor, he may be able to use insights he gained in that role, along with his years of experience as a defense lawyer, to help you.
Arizona police officers may pull over a driver that they suspect of driving under the influence. Officers may also stop a vehicle when they have a reasonable suspicion to believe that the driver committed or is committing an infraction. For instance, officers may have a reasonable suspicion of a DUI if they observe a car drifting and weaving erratically through traffic. Once they pull over the driver, the officer may investigate whether probable cause exists to believe that the driver was drunk driving. Depending on the circumstances, the police may need to secure search warrants, arrest warrants, or bench warrants in connection with a DUI investigation or charge.Search Warrants
The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures of your person and your car. To search your car or your person, officers generally need to obtain a search warrant. Some police departments have developed virtual warrant applications that can be submitted from within the police vehicle. The judge can approve or reject the warrant while he or she is presiding over the court.
Additionally, in Arizona, judges are on call to respond to requests for search warrants for blood draws. The officer needs to show the judge probable cause to get the search warrant. The officer receives an initial verbal judicial order but must present a written warrant to the judge for signature within a designated amount of time. If the judge approves a search warrant for a blood draw, your blood can be drawn at a medical facility or by police officers with phlebotomy training.
Certain exceptions exist to the general requirement that police officers must secure a warrant before searching your person or car. This includes when the police perform a search incident to an arrest or when the medical blood draw exception applies. The police may also search a car during a DUI stop if they have probable cause to believe the car contains illegal objects. If you’re arrested for drunk driving, the police will conduct an inventory search of your car as a matter of routine and do not need a search warrant for that.Arrest Warrants
When the police investigate a crime, they collect evidence to determine whether probable cause exists to arrest the suspect. Probable cause exists when sufficient evidence would lead a prudent person to believe that the suspect perpetrated a crime. Generally, in DUI stops, a police officer does not need an arrest warrant so long as he has probable cause to believe a suspect was operating his car while under the influence.Bench Warrants
You may be required to make appearances for your DUI case or comply with another court order. If you don’t show up or don’t comply, the court may issue a bench warrant. You may be charged with a separate failure to appear offense along with the original DUI charge. For a misdemeanor DUI case, a failure to appear offense is a class 1 misdemeanor. When the DUI is a felony DUI, your failure to appear may be charged as a class 5 felony.Retain a Seasoned Phoenix Attorney
When police officers fail to secure DUI warrants prior to searching drivers or their vehicles, the defense may be able to suppress the evidence collected. If you’re worried about a DUI warrant, you should discuss your situation with lawyer James E. Novak. He has many years of experience representing those charged with drunk or drugged driving in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, and throughout Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.