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Help, I didn’t pull over right away for the police DUI stop!

If a police officer or sheriff’s deputy recently pulled you over on suspicion of drinking and driving, did they also accuse you of not pulling over as quickly as they wanted you to? If so, you could be facing another criminal charge in addition to DUI.

In Arizona, it is a crime not to pull over your vehicle “after being given a visual or audible signal or instruction” by a police officer. Practically speaking, this means that once you notice a squad vehicle following you, flashing its lights and running its siren, you have the legal duty to pull over. This is a class 2 misdemeanor that can result in up to four months in jail and a $750 fine, though probation and other penalties are also possible.

Possible problems with the prosecutor’s case

The statute specifically says it’s illegal to “knowingly” fail to pull over in this situation. Depending on what happened, you might be able to argue that the officer did not make it clear what they wanted you to do or that you reasonably thought they were pursuing somebody else on the road.

This law is also somewhat subjective. If a driver tries to race away from a police vehicle with its lights on, it’s one thing. But say you were in heavy traffic and looking for a safe place to pull over onto the shoulder. Once you do stop, the officer might accuse you of defying their orders when that was not what happened.

If you are charged with failure to stop and DUI, pleading guilty is not necessarily your best option. You should know exactly where you stand and what you might be able to do to avoid jail time first.