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Understanding Misdemeanor DUI Laws in Arizona

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in Arizona that can have severe consequences for those who are convicted. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI in Arizona, it is important to understand the state’s DUI laws and the potential penalties that you could face. DUI is a common crime in Arizona, with nearly 28,000 arrests made in one year alone. This article will provide an overview of Arizona’s misdemeanor DUI laws and discuss how a criminal defense attorney can help you fight your charges. This means any felony DUI charges will be ignored, which are otherwise known as aggravated DUI. DUI law is complex, and each case may implicate different legal defenses and statutory interpretations, which is why getting an experienced attorney is crucial.

Arizona DUI Laws

Arizona DUI laws are governed by A.R.S. 28-1381. Under the statute, it is, “unlawful for any person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state under any of the following circumstances.” These circumstances, including classifications of DUI, include:

  • A driver has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within two hours of driving or while driving
  • A driver under the influence of any substance under A.R.S. 13-3401 in the body (illegal drugs)
  • A driver is impaired to the slightest degree due to vapors, liquor or any other substance 
  • A commercial driver having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more
  • A driver having a BAC of 0.15-.199 (known as Extreme DUI)
  • A driver having a BAC of .20 and above (known as Super Extreme DUI)

For reference, a single drink will generally increase BAC by an average of .02, meaning it usually would take two to four drinks to reach the legal limit. However, this is variable based on the weight and sex of the drinker, there is no hard and fast rule. When it comes to driving while under the influence of marijuana, the state must prove you were impaired for you to be liable for DUI, it is no longer a strict liability drug.

DUI Penalties

If you are charged with DUI for violating one of the above provisions, you could face severe penalties. There are hundreds of possible combinations of penalties for each type of DUI, so only a few common scenarios will be highlighted here. 

The first regular DUI charge, which includes any drug impairment, can lead to a range of 1 day in jail to 6 months in jail. The minimum is 10 days in jail, but 9 may be suspended if the defendant completes alcohol classes. Alongside the jail time, fines and fees total a figure of $1,510.50. In addition, your drivers license will be suspended.

The second regular DUI charge ups the range to 6 days to 6 months in jail. The minimum jail time changes to 90 days, with 60 being suspended upon completion of alcohol classes. The fines and fees more than double, reaching $3,468, and your drivers license is revoked for a full year. 

A first time extreme DUI may lead to a minimum of 30 days in jail, with 21 being suspended if an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is installed on the vehicle for 12 months. An IID is a device that does not allow a car to turn on unless the user passes a breathalyzer test. The fines and fees total $2,760.50, and your drivers license is suspended.

A first time super extreme DUI may lead to 45 days in jail, with 31 being suspended if an IID is installed on the vehicle for 12 months. The fines and fees total $3,218 and your drivers license is suspended.

How an Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Due to the severity of a DUI charge, including jail time and limiting your ability to drive, contacting an attorney first thing is imperative. An attorney can challenge the evidence laid out against you, such as a breathalyzer test or the performance of field sobriety tests. In addition, your attorney can make constitutional arguments on your behalf, ensuring your rights were respected during your arrest and the investigation against you. Finally, a criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate with the opposing prosecutor to reduce or dismiss your charges outright, depending on the circumstances.

Get Your Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney to Fight Your Charges

Litwak Law Group’s criminal defense attorneys pride themselves on fighting aggressively and professionally for the constitutional rights and freedoms of their clients. Should you be charged with DUI in Arizona, contact Litwak Law Group today.