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Arizona lawmakers weigh restoring DUI jury trial

Arizona lawmakers may roll back the clock and restore first-time misdemeanor DUI defendants’ right to a jury trial.

Legislation scheduled for a House vote Tuesday would undo a change that lawmakers made a year ago that took away that right.

Republican Rep. David Smith of Carefree is sponsoring this year’s bill.

He says it would eliminate confusion that last year’s change causes for the criminal justice system because more serious DUI charges still carry a right to jury trials.

The Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Commission opposes Smith’s bill.

Staff attorney Kim MacEachern (mic-KACK’-urn) says it’d be better to wait for an Arizona Supreme Court ruling in a pending case on whether defendants in first-time misdemeanor DUI cases have a state constitutional right to a jury trial.

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