What To Expect From Your First-Offense DUI In Arizona
Being caught driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle in Arizona while under the influence of alcohol or drugs means you will likely be charged with DUI. If it is your first offense DUI in Arizona, you have much to learn about Arizona’s confusing yet strict DUI laws.
You will probably be convicted of DUI in Arizona if you drive:
- While “impaired to the slightest degree” by alcohol or drugs, as impairment DUI
- With any amount of a drug or its metabolite in your system, a per se drug DUI
- With a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher within two hours of driving, a per se alcohol DUI
- A commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher
Being convicted of any of these offenses means you are guilty of an Arizona Class 1 misdemeanor. The state laws providing specifics of these offenses include ARS §§ 28-1381, 28-1382 (2017).
Aggravated DUI in Arizona
According to an experienced DUI attorney, aggravated DUI in Arizona results in stiffer penalties for applicable DUI offenses. An Arizona driver charged with DUI may be convicted of an aggravated offense if he or she drives while under the influence and any of these circumstances:
- Having been convicted of two prior DUIs in the past seven years, including DUI offenses from other states
- While their driver’s license is suspended as a result of a prior DUI arrest, chemical-test refusal or conviction
- While a minor child under the age of 15 is in the car
- After being court-ordered to drive only with an ignition interlock device (IID)
It is an Arizona Class 6 felony to drive while a passenger younger than 15 years of age is in the car. According to ARS § 28-1383 (2017) this is an aggravated DUI, along with the three other types of aggravated DUIs that are Class 4 felonies.
High BAC DUI Classifications
Arizona also takes high BAC DUIs very seriously. The state imposes more severe penalties for these offenses. When a driver’s BAC is 0.15 percent or higher, it is considered an Extreme DUI. BAC of 0.20 percent or higher leads to charges as a Super Extreme DUI.
Arizona’s Administrative Penalties for DUI
Arizona Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) imposes administrative penalties after DUI arrest. Even if the criminal DUI case is dismissed at a later time, these penalties stand.
For a first-offense DUI, Arizona’s administrative penalties include:
- For per se alcohol and per se drug DUI: License suspension for no less than 90 days, when a motorist is caught driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, as tested within two hours of driving. The minimum 90 day suspension of driver’s license applies for a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher for commercial drivers caught driving a commercial vehicle or being in actual physical control with that BAC.
- For refusal of a chemical test: This violation of Arizona’s implied consent law leads to a possible one year administrative suspension of driving privileges. A second or subsequent refusal in violation of the state’s implied consent law within seven years leads to a possible two-year administrative suspension of driving privileges.
To challenge these administrative suspensions you must request a hearing within 15 days of your arrest.
Restricted Licenses after Arizona DUI
When your license is suspended for DUI, you may be able to gain a restricted license. This concession allows you to drive to work, school, drug and alcohol screening and treatment, then home again despite the license suspension. Your eligibility for a restricted license exists in:
- Having not caused death or serious physical injury to another person
- Having not been convicted of DUI in the past seven years, or refusal of a chemical test in the past seven years
- Providing satisfactory evidence of completion of an alcohol or drug screening
A DUI lawyer will help you understand whether you are eligible for a restricted license.
DUI Criminal Penalties
Criminal penalties for Arizona DUI include those imposed by the court once a motorist is convicted of DUI. First-offense DUI criminal penalties include:
- First-offense DUI: At least ten consecutive days in jail, fines and an assessment of at least $1250. When alcohol was involved (in lieu of drugs), an ignition interlock device (IID) must be installed in all private vehicles owned by the motorist. This IID remains in place for 12 months after the license suspension has been completed.
- Extreme DUI: At least 30 consecutive days in jail with fines and an assessment of at least $2500. An IID must be installed in personal vehicles for 12 months.
- Super Extreme DUI: At least 45 consecutive days in jail, fines and assessments of at least $2750. An IID must be installed in personal vehicles for 12 months.
- Aggravated DUI: Ten to 45 days in jail or four to eight months in prison. At least $4000 in fines and assessments with a mandatory 12 month license suspension. When the DUI involves alcohol, an IID must be installed in personal vehicles for 24 months. Drivers must also complete drug screening and treatment or risk up to two years in prison.
Talk to an Attorney about Your DUI Case
If you have been arrested for DUI in Arizona, you need the help of an experienced Arizona DUI lawyer. A qualified attorney will help you understand your DUI charges, the law and how DUI laws apply to your case.