Arizona’s DUI charges and penalties

Drivers in Arizona should be educated about the state’s laws and penalties concerning convictions for driving under the influence.

Like many people around the country, Phoenix area residents can have incorrect stereotypes about the type of drivers who are arrested on charges of drunk driving. It is not true that such drivers are always irresponsible or so inebriated that they can barely function. A perfectly responsible person who simply stopped to have a beer with colleagues on the way home from work and can talk normally can still be subject to a drunk driving arrest.

Arizona laws are tough when it comes to these charges and all persons who drive in the state should have an understanding of how DUI offenses are classified and handled.

Different levels of drunk driving charges in Arizona

The Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety provide detailed information about how the state identifies three different levels of intoxication and maps those to unique sets of penalties. These three levels are referred to as a standard DUI, an extreme DUI and a super extreme DUI. Details of each include the following:

  • A standard DUI charge is issued for drivers with BAC levels ranging from 0.08 percent to 0.14 percent. For persons with commercial drivers' licenses, the low threshold here is 0.04 percent.
  • An extreme DUI charge is issued for drivers with BAC levels ranging from 0.15 percent to 0.19 percent.
  • A super extreme DUI charge is issued for drivers with BAC levels starting at 0.20 percent or more.

It is important for drivers to know that a charge of driving under the influence can result from a BAC level identified from blood samples collected as many as two hours following the time when a driver was operating a vehicle.

Any of the above misdemeanor charges can find a defendant spending time in jail from 10 days for a standard DUI to 30 or more days for an extreme DUI. Fines and orders for drivers to use an ignition interlock device are also commonly ordered in these cases.

Any driver that is arrested for DUI charges and that has had two or more DUI convictions in the preceding 84 months can be charged with an aggravated DUI which is a felony in Arizona. Felony charges can also apply for people who are arrested with persons under 14 years old in the vehicles when stopped, who ignore the requirement to use an IID or who drive without a current license.

What should drivers do?

Any driver who is arrested in Arizona for DUI charges deserves a proper defense. Contacting an attorney promptly is recommended in these situations.

Keywords: DUI, drunk driving, arrest

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