You may receive a DUI charge in Arizona for driving or being “in actual physical control” of a motor vehicle while you’re impaired by drugs or alcohol. This crime carries strict penalties including possible time in jail, having your license suspended, and high fines.
With a DUI conviction on your record, you’ll likely experience difficulties in your professional life. You may also face financial troubles due to the expensive nature of the crime. Working with a skilled criminal defense attorney is essential if you’re facing such a charge.
You will likely receive a DUI if you’re pulled over while you’re even slightly impaired, with any drug in your system, or with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more within 2 hours of driving. If you’re caught driving a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.04 percent or more, you may also receive a DUI charge. All of these offenses are class 1 misdemeanor crimes, which is the most severe category of misdemeanor.
Aggravated DUI charges come with stricter penalties than a standard DUI offense. If you’ve received a DUI charge with any aggravating factors present, your offense may escalate to a felony. Aggravating factors include receiving several DUI convictions within a 7-year period and driving impaired with a child under 15 in your car.
Driving under the influence with a suspended driver’s license from a previous DUI arrest, or after receiving a court order to only operate a car with an Ignition Interlock Device, can also lead to an aggravated DUI.
Penalties for driving under the influence vary depending on whether it’s your first conviction, how high your BAC was, and other factors. Let’s look at a few DUI categories and their penalties below:
A first offense for this crime may come with at least 10 days in jail, a suspended license, fines, and an order to install an Ignition Interlock Device in your car for a year. If you get a second DUI, it’s a class 1 misdemeanor crime that comes with at least 90 days in jail and a minimum of 30 community service hours.
A first aggravated DUI offense may come with 10 to 45 days in jail or up to 8 months of prison time. You’ll also have your license suspended, pay thousands in fines, and install an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle for 2 years. If you’ve been charged with a second aggravated DUI, you must go to prison for at least 8 months in addition to the other penalties mentioned. If you own the car you were pulled over in, you might have to forfeit the vehicle.
If you’re pulled over for driving under the influence in Arizona, and your BAC is over 0.15 or 0.20 percent, you may receive an extreme or super extreme DUI. Since these crimes involve a far higher blood alcohol content than an ordinary DUI, they’re considered much more severe. Let’s look at these crimes and their penalties below:
Driving with a BAC of 0.15 percent or more may lead to an extreme DUI. The penalties for a first offense include at least 30 days in jail, mandatory alcohol classes, thousands in fines, and up to a year of driving with an Ignition Interlock Device once your license is reinstated. Additionally, the judge may order you not to drink alcohol for at least 30 days.
Super Extreme DUI
Super extreme DUI means operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.20 percent or higher. For a first offense, you’ll face a 45-day period in jail, mandatory alcohol classes, thousands in fines, and an 18-month period of having an Ignition Interlock Device in your car once your license is reinstated. After a super extreme DUI conviction, the judge may order you not to drink alcohol for at least 90 days.
If your license was suspended after getting a DUI, you might be eligible for a restricted license. This would allow you to drive to and from school, work, and treatment or screening for alcohol and drugs. You’re only eligible to drive on a restricted license if your DUI charge didn’t involve the serious injury or death of someone else. In addition, you must not have refused a chemical test or received a DUI within the previous 7-year period, and must show that you completed any required drug or alcohol screening.
If you’re licensed in another state, but received your DUI in Arizona, you may not qualify for a restricted license and would be unable to drive in Arizona for 90 days. In this case, Arizona may contact your home state and let them know about your DUI, which could result in restricted driving privileges in your home state. Ask your criminal defense lawyer if you’re eligible to get a restricted license after receiving a DUI charge.
If you’ve received a DUI charge, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be convicted. Working with a skilled criminal defense attorney is one good way to improve your odds of a lesser sentence. Your lawyer may be able to show that you weren’t in control of or driving the vehicle in question, or that you only began drinking after you already drove.
In other cases, the officer may have pulled you over without reasonable suspicion, or arrested you without probable cause. Your attorney will look over the details of your case to find any potential defenses that could help you.
If you’re facing a DUI charge in Arizona, you should have an experienced lawyer on your side. A skilled legal professional will answer any questions you have and work on building you a valid defense. With the help of a criminal defense attorney, you may receive reduced charges, have your case dismissed, or gain access to a restricted license.