In Arizona, driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that can have stiff penalties, such as hefty fines, probation, and possibly a jail or prison sentence. A DUI refers to the offense of operating, driving, or having control of a vehicle while the person is impaired by drugs or alcohol. This differs from a “driving while intoxicated” (DWI) charge which occurs when a person drives while impaired or intoxicated.
Arizona law states that it is unlawful for any person who is intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs to drive or be in physical control of a vehicle. If you make the choice to drive under the influence and are stopped by the police, the punishment could be severe. Learn more about DUI laws in Arizona, the types of DUI charges, and what to do if you are charged with driving under the influence.
How Does A.R.S. 28-1381 Define a DUI?
Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) § 28-1381 states that a person commits a DUI offense by:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol while impaired to the slightest degree by a substance
- Driving with a drug listed in ARS 13-3401 or its metabolite in a person’s body
- Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater while driving or within two hours of driving
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle that requires a person to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a BAC of 0.04 percent or more
It is important to understand that a person can be charged with a DUI even if they were not driving at the time they were spotted by the police. Some factors that a judge or jury may consider when determining if an alleged offender was in actual physical control of the vehicle include the following:
- If the vehicle was running
- If the key was in the ignition
- How the driver was found in the vehicle
- If the driver was awake or sleeping
- If the headlights of the vehicle were on
- Where the vehicle was stopped
When it comes to DUI offenses, each case is unique. That is why it’s important for individuals charged with a DUI to speak with an experienced DUI attorney to determine a suitable offense.
Penalties for a DUI in Arizona
The majority of DUIs in Arizona are charged as class 1 misdemeanors. Generally, class 1 misdemeanors carry a maximum fine of $2,500 plus surcharges, as well as up to six months in jail. In addition, ARS 1381 outlines mandatory minimum penalties for misdemeanor DUIs. A mandatory minimum sentence in Arizona is based on whether it was the alleged offender’s first or second DUI within seven years.
1. First Offense
The penalties for a first-offense DUI conviction are up to 10 days in jail with the possibility of a reduced sentence of one day with the completion of alcohol screening. The offender may also need to pay a minimum of $1,250 in fines, attend driving school, and possibly do community service. Finally, a first offense may result in an ignition interlock installation for at least one year.
2. Second Offense
The penalties for a second offense DUI conviction are up to 90 days in jail, which can be reduced to a 30-day jail sentence with the completion of alcohol screening. An offender may also be required to pay a minimum of $3,000 in fines, attend driving school, and do a minimum of 30 hours of community service. In addition, the offender may have their driving privileges revoked for one year and have an ignition interlock installed on their vehicle.
3. Third Offense
If a person is charged with a DUI for a third time within seven years, it is considered a felony and carries a mandatory prison sentence of at least four months. In addition, the offender’s license is revoked for one year and the person may face a minimum of $4,000 in fines and assessments. A third offense may also result in a two-year ignition interlock device (IID) requirement.
Extreme DUI and Aggravated DUI Offenses
In addition to a regular DUI, a person could be charged with an extreme DUI or an aggravated DUI, resulting in more serious penalties.
An extreme DUI may apply in cases where a person was caught driving under the influence with an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher. For a first offense, an offender may be jailed for no less than 30 consecutive days without the possibility of probation or a suspended sentence. In addition, the offender could be charged no less than $2,500. An offender may also be required to undergo alcohol screening, treatment, or education, as well as perform community service and face an IID requirement.
For a second or subsequent offense, a charge of an extreme DUI could result in a jail sentence of no less than 120 days and a fine of no less than $3,250. The offender may have their license revoked for 12 months and be required to undergo alcohol screening, treatment, or education, perform community service, and have an IID requirement.
Another category of DUI that a person could face is an aggravated DUI. This type of DUI applies to a person that commits a DUI while having a revoked, suspended, or canceled license, commits a third DUI in 84 months, refuses to submit a BAC test while under an IID requirement, or commits a DUI while there is a person under the age of 15 in the vehicle. An aggravated DUI can result in up to two years in prison, community service, an IID requirement, and an alcohol screening, education, or treatment requirement.
Speak with an Experienced DUI Attorney
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Arizona, it’s important to contact a reputable DUI attorney as soon as possible. As the state’s premier defense attorneys, we’ve helped countless clients facing criminal charges achieve less severe penalties, including the possibility of dropped charges. Contact the experienced legal professionals at JacksonWhite today to see how we can assist you with your DUI case.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.