The state of Arizona has a zero tolerance policy in regards to drinking and driving and has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country.
As defined by Arizona statute A.R.S. 28-1381, a person is guilty of driving under the influence when:
- The person is under the influence of an alcohol, drug, vapor, or toxic substance that leaves the person impaired.
- The person has a blood-alcohol content greater than 0.08.
- There is any drug in the person’s system as defined in section 13-3401.
- If the vehicle is a commercial vehicle and there driver has a blood-alcohol content greater than 0.04.
The points above are important, because it allows a person to be arrested for driving under the influence even if they’re under the legal limit of 0.08.
If the police officer believes that you are too impaired to operate a vehicle, you can still be charged with a DUI, even if your breathalyzer test shows that you are under the legal limit. If a driver blows over the legal limit of 0.08, he or she is automatically guilty of driving under the influence.
The fact that a driver can still receive a DUI charge if they blow under the legal limit illustrates Arizona’s zero tolerance policy.
First Time Offense DUI Penalties
If a driver is convicted of a their first DUI, the following punishments will go into effect:
- The offender will serve no less than 10 consecutive days in jail.
- The offender will pay a minimum fine of $250.
- The offender may be ordered to perform community service.
- The offender will pay an additional $500 to the prison construction and operation fund.
- The offender will pay an additional $500 to the public safety equipment fund.
- The offender will install a certified ignition interlock device into his or her vehicle.
- An Arizona DUI is a class 1 misdemeanor.
A driver who receives their first DUI will have to serve 10 days in jail. If the driver completes a court ordered alcohol or other drug screening treatment program, the court may suspend all but one day of the jail sentence.
What to Do When Pulled Over for a DUI
- Pull over safely to the right side of the road and turn off your car.
- Remain silent throughout the entire process.
- Only say “I’m going to remain silent.”
- Give the officer your license, registration, and insurance.
- Refuse the field sobriety test, it isn’t mandatory.
- Take the breathalyzer test.
- If arrested, don’t talk to anyone, including other inmates.
- Ask to speak with an attorney.
Being pulled over can be stressful, especially if you are intoxicated. Remember to remain calm and follow the steps above. Your attorney will be able to walk you through the process and help you understand your rights, options, and help create a defense plan.
What to Do if You Received Your First DUI
A DUI is a criminal charge that could happen to anyone, but you need to be prepared and know what to expect.
A first time DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor. This means that the above punishments will be pursued. While these punishments may seem daunting, there is hope. A DUI attorney can help you lessen the penalties, sometimes even have the charge dismissed. A DUI charge can have a huge impact on your future, having an experienced DUI attorney on your side can make all the difference.
For first time DUI offenders, the judge is able to lower the minimum jail time from 10 days to 1 day if you complete a court ordered alcohol and drug screening and treatment. There is a lot on the line when you receive your first DUI, it is important to have the right attorney on your side that can help lower the negative impacts.
If an officer suspects that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may ask that you comply with a breathalyzer test, a field sobriety test, or a blood test. You are not required to comply with any of these tests; however, if you do not take a breathalyzer or blood test, your license can be suspended by the MVD for one year. You never have to comply with the hand-held portable breath test the officer carries in the field, just the formal test. The officer must read you the Admin Per Se warning advising you that failure to comply with the breathalyzer or blood test will result in a license suspension.
Many things can go wrong during the administration of DUI tests in Arizona. The DUI lawyers at JacksonWhite are experienced in using these tests against the prosecution, as the evidence that they provide isn’t always accurate.
DUI arrests are extremely common in the Phoenix Valley. If you have recently received your first DUI conviction, contact a DUI defense attorney at JacksonWhite. Our DUI defense team is well experienced in representing clients who have been arrested for DUIs across the state of Arizona, and will work to have your penalties reduced or eliminated.
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