Call it what you want — DUI or DWI — driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Arizona puts you at risk of some serious legal repercussions. Rack up multiple DUIs and you’ll find yourself in even more hot water, as the penalties get progressively harsher with each offense.
What’s more, Arizona’s strict DUI laws mean you can get a DUI without actually driving your vehicle (more on that later).
Whether you’re facing your first, second, or umpteenth DUI charge, the criminal defense team at Jackson White Law is here to help. Our seasoned attorneys have decades of experience defending Arizonans against DUI charges in Mesa and the greater Phoenix area, so they know how to aggressively work your case to produce the best possible outcome.
DUI Laws in Mesa, Arizona
Before we get into the consequences of DUI charges in Arizona and how to defend yourself against them, it helps to have a firm understanding of the local laws. Here’s a quick overview of Arizona’s DUI laws and how they may pertain to your situation.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) In Arizona, DUI charges may apply in several scenarios according to ARS 28-1381:
Driving or being physically in control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, drugs, or any vapor-releasing substance containing toxic materials if one is impaired even mildly is illegal.
Driver with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater within two hours of driving or being physically in control of their vehicle; or commercial vehicle operators who possess an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater within four hours.
Driver has illegal drug or its metabolite present. While Arizona law defines an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater as grounds for DUI charges, there is also a provision that allows anyone experiencing impairment to any degree or having illegal substances present to be charged with driving under the influence. Therefore, you could potentially face charges even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) falls below 0.08.
Arizona Law Provides Stricter Penalties for Extreme DUI
In addition to standard DUI laws, Arizona imposes more severe punishment for extreme DUI offenses. For an offense to qualify as extreme, blood alcohol content of 0.15 or above must be present.
Arizona’s “Not a Drop” Law, commonly known as Baby DUI, seeks to curtail underage drinking and driving. According to this law, drivers younger than 21 who possess any trace of alcohol in their system are subject to being charged with DUI; any violation results in an automatic two-year license suspension and is classified as class 2 misdemeanor offense – though penalties for this offense may not be as severe.
Can You Receive a DUI in Arizona Without Driving?
Absolutely! Arizona law recognizes “being in actual control of a vehicle” as grounds for incriminating individuals before even starting to move off of their parking spot, meaning you could face criminal charges of driving while impaired before ever setting foot outside the driveway.
Consultations with an Arizona DUI defense attorney is crucial in order to fully comprehend the laws and legal implications associated with DUI offenses in Arizona.
Penalties for DUI convictions in Arizona
Arizona’s criminal code considers DUIs and extreme DUIs a class 1 misdemeanor. The good news is that it means you’re not facing the harsher penalties of a felony crime, but the bad news is you’ll still be looking at some stiff repercussions — especially if this isn’t your first DUI in the last 7 years.
Penalties for first-time DUIs
DUI convictions in Arizona always come with four penalties: jail time, fines, a suspended license, and an ignition interlock device. The severity of these four penalties depends on your blood alcohol concentration, which you’ll find summarized in the following table:
BAC: 0.08 – 0.14
BAC: 0.15 – 0.19
|Jail||10+ days*||30+ days**||45+ days***|
|License Suspension||90+ days||90+ days||90+ days|
|Ignition Interlock Device||1+ years w/ possible 6-month reduction||1+ years||1+ years|
If those jail sentences are making you sweat, here’s some good news: the judge has a fair amount of leeway to suspend the majority of your jail time for first-time offenders. For a standard DUI, all but 24 hours of jail time may be suspended once your alcohol screening is complete. For extreme DUIs, the judge can suspend all but 9-14 days depending on your BAC if you install an ignition interlock device in your car.
Penalties for Repeat DUI Offenders
As is the case with most criminal convictions in Arizona, repeat offenders can expect harsher penalties for multiple DUI convictions within a rolling seven-year period. Here’s what the minimum sentencing guidelines look like for your second, third, and subsequent DUIs:
BAC: 0.08 – 0.14
BAC: 0.15 – 0.19
|Jail||90+ days||120+ days||180+ days|
|License Suspension||1+ years||1+ years||1+ years|
|Ignition Interlock Device||1+ years||1+ years||1+ years|
As with first-time DUI offenders, there’s a bit of leeway with the jail sentence — though it’s significantly less in this case. In standard DUI cases, the judge may suspend all but 30 days of the jail sentence, which must be served consecutively. In extreme DUI cases, the judge may suspend all but 60-90 days of the jail sentence, which must also be served consecutively.
Mesa DUI Criminal Defense Lawyers
DUI convictions are no laughing matter in Mesa, Arizona. Drunk drivers can expect little sympathy from criminal court judges in Maricopa County, so you’ll need an experienced attorney at your side to ensure you’re not unfairly punished or convicted.
While Arizona’s DUI laws are quite strict, the good news is that the same laws provide ample opportunities to defend yourself in court. Many DUI cases can result in the charges being dropped with the assistance of a seasoned attorney, and those that can’t be dropped can at least expect their attorney to minimize the penalties significantly.
In short, you may not need an attorney to represent yourself in a DUI case, but if you want the best shot at dropping the charges, striking a deal, or successfully defending the case in court, you’ll need an experienced criminal law attorney who’s willing to aggressively work your case.
Free DUI Case Reviews in Mesa
If you’re facing DUI charges in Mesa and the greater Phoenix area, we invite you to schedule a free, confidential case review with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys.
During your case review, our seasoned attorneys will listen to your concerns, ask questions to understand the specifics of your case, and explain how the legal process will work in the course of defending your case. We’ll explain the laws and penalties that your case is subject to, discuss potential paths forward, and provide recommendations for your defense.
Jackson White Law serves Arizona residents with multiple offices across the Phoenix metro area. At our Mesa office, we handle all types of criminal defense offenses, including domestic violence, theft crimes, violent crimes and more. Visit our practice areas page to learn more.
Address: 40 N. Center St, Mesa, AZ 85201
Phone number: (480) 467-4370