Arizona’s laws against driving under the influence (DUI) provide stiff penalties for individuals who are found guilty of violations. The Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety’s web site states that “A DUI is recognized as a violent crime.”  In 2012, 34% of all traffic fatalities in Arizona were alcohol-related.  The penalties for DUI include fines, mandatory jail time, suspension of convicted individual’s driver’s license, and vehicle impoundment.

Arizona has several statutes that address different classes of DUIs as well as various penalties.  Arizona Rev. Stat. 28-1381 defines four classes of misdemeanor DUIs:

  • Impaired Driving. The first category of misdemeanor DUI is driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, a toxic vapor-releasing substance, or any mixture of the three while impaired to the smallest degree.  It is no defense to this section that the individual is legally entitled to use the drug under Arizona law.
  • Driving While Over the Legal Limit. If a person has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or more within two hours of driving, and the alcohol was consumed before or while driving, the person is presumed guilty of a DUI.
  • Driving While Using any Drug or Metabolite.  If a person is caught driving while any drug as defined in Sec. 13-3401 (cannabis, cocaine, or other specified dangerous drugs) or its metabolite is in his body, that person is guilty of a DUI, unless the drug was prescribed by a medical practitioner.
  • Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle. A person found driving a vehicle requiring a commercial driver’s license who has a BAC of 0.04 or more is presumed guilty of a DUI.

Violations of the above four categories of crimes are class 1 misdemeanors.  First violations are punishable by a jail sentence of ten days; a fine of $250, plus additional assessments of $1000; an order to equip the car with a certified ignition interlock device which prevents the person from starting the car unless he or she passes a breathalyzer test; required completion of an alcohol or drug screening, treatment, and education program; and possibly an order to perform community restitution.  Second violations are punishable by elevated jail sentencing of 90 days; fines of $3000; and license suspension for 12 months; in addition to the program requirement and possible community service.

In addition, Arizona Rev. Stat. 28-1382 lists two more serious DUI charges:

  • Extreme DUI.  Arizona statute defines an elevated charge of Extreme DUI for those driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of from 0.15 to less than 0.20 within two hours of driving, if the alcohol was consumed before or while driving.  A first conviction is punishable by a jail term of at least 30 days; a fine of $250, plus additional assessments of $2250; an order to install an ignition interlock device; and possibly an order to perform community service.
  • Super Extreme DUI.  A person is guilty of what is commonly known as “Super Extreme DUI” if the BAC is 0.20 or more.  A first conviction will result in a heightened jail sentence of a minimum of 45 days; a minimum fine of $500, plus additional assessments of $2250; in addition to the consequences attending an Extreme DUI.

A conviction for DUI is taken seriously in Arizona.  In addition to the above misdemeanor violations, Arizona law defines several categories of felony Aggravated DUI crimes. An individual’s best course of action is to never drive at all after drinking.  If, however, you have been arrested for a DUI crime, you will need the assistance of experienced Mesa DUI lawyers.  Call Ariano and Associates today at (480) 525-8994. Our attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can answer your questions without having to schedule an appointment.