Arizona DUI Conviction Can’t Be Used as a Prior Conviction in California

In California the DUI penalties go up severely if you have a prior DUI conviction. One way to avoid these penalties is to strike the prior conviction. A California Court of Appeal recently held that a DUI from Arizona didn’t qualify as a prior conviction. In People v. Self, the defendant was facing his fourth DUI conviction, which would be a felony in California. 204 Cal.App 4th 1054. One of his prior DUIs was from Arizona but in order for the court to use the Arizona DUI as a prior conviction it first had to find that the Arizona DUI would have been a DUI if it happened in California. The court looks at the statutes from each state to see if the elements are the same. Turns out, they are not. A person can be convicted for a DUI in Arizona if they are impaired “to the slightest degree,” while California requires impairment to “an appreciable degree.” This may seem like a minor detail, but it was enough for the defendant to have the Arizona DUI stricken.

These finer details are how many DUI cases are won or lost. Many times people arrested for a DUI quickly plead guilty without having a San Diego DUI attorney comb through their case for a finer detail like this. Don’t take the chance that your case may have a fact hidden that might save you from a DUI conviction. Contact San Diego DUI attorney Patrick Griffin immediately for a free consolation.