Arizona DUI Laws

DUI in Arizona – Law, Penalty, and Defense

After an individual has been arrested he or she only has fifteen days to request an MVD hearing that will defend his or her driver’s license. The state of Arizona has a driving under the influence charge known as an extreme DUI offense. This kind of offense can be made if an individual has a blood alcohol content level above 0.15 percent within two hours of driving a motor vehicle. Normally DUIs are produced when individuals are operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content percentage of 0.08 percent or higher. At times charges can be given under this percentage if the individual has or is likely to endanger others.

DWIs and DUIs are usually classified as misdemeanors in Arizona. Some circumstances will advance drunk driving convictions to felony convictions. This can happen if an individual has two or more prior DUI convictions in a span of five years before a current conviction, if an individual received a DUI charge while having his or her driver’s license revoked or suspended, or if a minor under fifteen years of age was in the motor vehicle while the offense took place.

Types of DUI in Arizona

Regular DUI

Blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more

Extreme DUI

BAC of 0.15% or more

Aggravated DUI

This could be your charge if one of the following applies;

  • Multiple DUIs within a specified amount of time
  • You received a DUI while your driver’s license was restricted, suspended, or revoked
  • If the DUI was committed with a minor under the age of 15 in the vehicle

Do you know your rights if you are pulled over for DUI, DWI or Extreme DUI?

While it is essential to know your rights and understand that just because you have been pulled over you are not necessarily going to jail, it is also important to show the police officer respect.

What is the difference between DUI and DWI?

While both DUI and DWI are serious charges that carry the same penalties a DUI charge by itself doesn’t require a breath reading. Physical and mental symptoms of impairment, verbal admissions, and suspicion of driving under the influence according to the manner of driving are sufficient for a DUI. DWI does require a breath reading. It prohibits having a BAC of .08% within 2 hours of driving.

What are the penalties for a DUI in Arizona?

Driving under the influence of alcohol in Arizona is a Class One Misdemeanor, with a maximum possible sentence of six (6) months in jail, up to $2,500 in fines, not including surcharges or assessments, and up to three (3) years of supervised probation, as well as associated penalties from the Motor Vehicles Department, involved with your ability to drive.

The minimum penalty for a first offense non-extreme DUI (ie., having a Blood Alcohol Content “BAC” of 0.08 to 0.149 within two hours of driving) in Arizona is ten (10) consecutive days in jail, between $1,500 to 1,800 in fines, surcharges, and assessments, a ninety (90) day suspension of your driver’s license, and a requirement to install and utilize an interlock ignition device, at your expense, on your car for six months to one year. So, as you can see, Arizona will require jail time with any conviction of a DUI and suspend your driver’s license even for first-time offenders.

What are your rights if you are stopped for a DUI?

You have certain inalienable Constitutional rights anytime you are confronted by law enforcement. You have a right to remain silent – beyond identifying yourself to officers with your name, address, driver’s license, etc., you have the right to refuse to answer any other questions and to invoke your right to remain silent. You also have the right to decline to perform field sobriety or coordination tests as well as any eye or penlight tests.

Refusal of the blood and/or breath testing will automatically cause you to lose your driver’s license for up to a year, so you may need to comply with the officer’s request in this regard. You also have the right to consult with your attorney prior to any questioning by police or any blood, breath, or urine testing, unless it would cause undue delay in the testing. Finally, you have a right to request that a sample of any blood, breath, or urine taken by law enforcement be preserved for an independent test and evaluation and/or have your own independent test done at your own expense.

What should I do if I have been stopped or charged with DUI?

As set forth above, we would encourage you to utilize your rights if you are stopped on suspicion of DUI and would strongly suggest and encourage you to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Based on the severe ramifications to your life from a DUI, an experienced attorney can make all the difference in navigating through the process and helping you to obtain the best result possible.

Minors Driving Under the Influence

Some states set driving under the influence offenses for minors to begin at a blood alcohol content percentage of 0.02, but Arizona has no tolerance laws instead. Those under twenty-one will have a driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence charges against them if found to be driving with any blood alcohol content percentage. Because of this Arizona has recently developed new consequences for minor drunk driving. The individual will have his or her driver’s license suspended for varied time limits and other possible consequences based on the circumstances.

Arizona DUI Consequences

All DUI cases in Arizona are tried by a six-people jury. An individual may waive his or her jury trial rights and submit to a trial by a judge. Through the court, an individual may be convicted according to the number of prior offenses, if any, and the current circumstances of the DUI case. Which kind of drunk driving charge stands and an individual’s criminal history will play a role in his or her consequences.

Despite the kind of DUI conviction, an individual will nearly always have his or her driver’s license suspended. Punishments can include thousands of dollars in fines and jail time anywhere from a few days to several months.

An individual may resist a blood alcohol content test, but his or her driver’s license will subsequently be suspended for a minimum of one year upon a refusal or two years for a second refusal in a five-year time span. Punishments for extreme DUI charges are heavier than ordinary DUI charges.

DUI Convictions

At times DUI offenses are difficult to convict because of the case’s circumstances. In court, a prosecutor will have to prove that the individual was impaired while driving for a DUI offense. If no proof can be shown, the case can be dismissed. Driving while intoxicated charges are based on blood alcohol content percentages. If an individual’s blood alcohol content level exceeds the legal limit then he or she will almost always be convicted.