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When it comes to DUI sentencing, Arizona’s guidelines are some of the strictest in the country. Conviction of even a first offense results in 10 days in jail – minimum. A charge of driving under the influence is serious and more than a little scary. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there. That’s why Liberty Law created this Arizona DUI sentencing guideline.

How Does Arizona Define DUI?

Like the rest of the country, the legal limit in Arizona is a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.08. Of course, that assumes the driver is behind the wheel of a personal vehicle and over the age of 21. If you’re driving a commercial vehicle, the legal limit drops to 0.04. And if you haven’t celebrated your 21st birthday yet, any amount of alcohol in your system may result in a DUI charge.

DUI Categories in Arizona

When deciding on the charge, the State looks at your BAC level as well as any mitigating factors, such as whether you had passengers or multiple DUIs.

  • Standard DUI: BAC between 0.08 and 0.15 (again, 0.04 for commercial drivers and 0.0 for anyone under the age of 21)
  • Extreme DUI: BAC 0.15 or higher
  • Aggravated DUI: Anyone who commits DUI with a person under the age of 15 in the car, has 3 DUI offenses within 84 months (7 years), is under an ignition interlock device requirement, or whose license was suspended, revoked, or canceled

Aggravated DUI is a felony offense, so it carries much harsher penalties.

Penalties for a DUI in Arizona

The penalties you face for DUI in Arizona vary depending on the charge and whether it’s a first offense.

Charge Minimum Jail Time Minimum Fine
Standard DUI, 1st Offense 10 days $1,250
Standard DUI, 2+ Offenses 90 days $3,000
Extreme DUI, 1st Offense 30 days $2,500
Extreme DUI, 2+ Offenses 120 days $3,250
Aggravated DUI, 1st Offense 6 months $3,500

 

In addition to jail time and fines, a DUI conviction requires you to perform community service, equip your vehicle with an ignition interlock device (IID), and undergo alcohol screening, education, and treatment. You also lose your driving privileges for 12 months – 24 months if it’s your second offense within 7 years. Finally, a DUI adds 8 points to your license. This automatically places you in Traffic Survival School. Failure to attend results in your license being suspended for up to 12 months.

You Can Get a DUI Without “Blowing Dirty”

One way that Arizona differs from many states is the fact that you can get a DUI here even if your BAC is below the legal limit. This is sometimes known as “impaired to the slightest degree” and it means that you can be charged if the arresting officer judges you to be visibly intoxicated.

When an officer pulls you over on suspicion of DUI, he or she already thinks you’re guilty. All they want now is proof. Erratic driving, slurring your words, fumbling to pull out your driver’s license – any behavior that supports their suspicion falls under the “impaired to the slightest degree” guideline.

A male driver protests taking a breathalyzer

What Is Implied Consent?

According to Arizona Department of Transportation, having an Arizona driver’s license implies that you’ve given consent to be tested for drugs or alcohol in the event you’re pulled over. This has led to an assumption that, if you refuse the breathalyzer or field sobriety test at the scene, your license is immediately revoked. This is not true.

We strongly recommend all clients refuse the field sobriety test. Yes, it’s scary to refuse a request from a police officer. But the truth is, field sobriety tests are nearly impossible to pass. Remember, the officer already thinks you’re guilty and is just looking for proof. And field breathalyzers are notoriously unreliable.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you can refuse all tests without forfeiting your license. Remember, implied consent. When you refuse the field test, the officer will likely take you to the police station. If this happens, we recommend taking the chemical test at the station. Refusing to do so will result in license revocation. But more than that, refusing doesn’t mean they won’t do their blood test. They can just get a search warrant and perform their test that way.

Call Liberty Law

A DUI conviction can be a life-changing experience. It will cost you jail time, fines, higher insurance rates, and more. And a felony conviction can make it difficult to find a job or a place to live. You want an experienced DUI attorney fighting on your side.

Luckily, both Liberty Law and Arizona courts assume you’re innocent until proven guilty. Even if your BAC was above the legal limit, we can mount a credible defense. If you face DUI charges, don’t fight alone. Call Liberty Law today to schedule your free consultation.