Arizona has the toughest DUI laws in the country. Every DUI conviction requires at least one day in jail, along with mandatory fines, assessments, alcohol or drug screening and treatment, and driver license suspensions.
The minimum mandatory sentences are so harsh that prosecutors routinely offer a plea agreement to the minimum sentence. Many people assume they are going to get this minimum mandatory sentence anyway, so why hire an attorney?
It is difficult to win a DUI charge. The police officer usually makes many DUI arrests a year, and may be part of a “task force” that does nothing but make DUI arrests. They do the same thing over and over and some get very good at it.
The consequences to a DUI conviction may make it so that you have to try everything you can to avoid the conviction. The impact of a DUI conviction goes well beyond the court sentence. All license suspensions have a period of no driving at all before you may be eligible for a “work permit.” Some employers will not hire someone with a DUI conviction. Others may simply choose to hire someone without a DUI conviction before someone with one.
You should always consult a lawyer before deciding to just take a plea offer. In a DUI case, the lawyer should consider whether the police had enough reason to stop you, whether they had enough evidence to arrest you, and whether the blood or breath test was done properly. Any one of these could get the charges thrown out. Even if there is only a question whether they were done right, it may cause a prosecutor to offer you a lower charge, like reckless driving.