Last year, Senate Bill 1200 modified the wording of the statute regarding jury trials for first time DUI situations. Before SB1200, Arizona Revised Statutes Section 28-1381(f) guaranteed any individual charged with a DUI the right to a jury trial upon demand. SB1200 modified the language of that statute to give judges discretion to grant or deny demands for a jury trial for first time misdemeanor DUIs.
In some courts judges utilized this discretion to uniformly deny all requests for jury trials on first time misdemeanor DUIs.” West Mesa Justice Court, for instance, handed out a “new DUI law implementation policy” that expressly stated “[a]nyone whose date of offense for first-time non-extreme DUI is after 12/31/11 will NOT be given the option of a jury trial.” This default practice of denying jury trials violated the Constitutional rights of Arizona citizens.
We filed a Special Action to the Supreme Court of Arizona to dispute the constitutionality of the Arizona legislature’s revision of Arizona Revised Statutes part 28-1381(f). We also challenged the judges who were rejecting requests for jury trials. While the legislature was reconsidering their decision to take away this right, we did not allow our clients in any court to be refused the right to a jury trial.
On April 11, 2012, House Bill 2284 was marked into regulation. This account re-implements the jury trial rights for a first offense misdemeanor DUI charge and assures that any request for a jury trial at arraignment “shall be granted.”