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Understanding extreme and super extreme DUI charges in Arizona

Charges for driving under the influence in Arizona can lead to serious and long-lasting consequences for drivers if convictions are achieved. The exact nature of the penalties can vary dramatically based upon the individual circumstances of each case. One of the factors that is considered in the final penalty determination is the blood alcohol level of a driver at the time of the arrest.

Information from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety as well as the Arizona Department of Public Safety outlines the three levels of drunk driving classifications in the state as follows:

  • When a driver is arrested with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.14 percent, a standard charge of driving under the influence is issued unless the vehicle operator holds a commercial driving license and is driving a commercial vehicle at the time. In these situations, a DUI charge can result with a BAC of 0.04 percent or greater.
  • When a driver is arrested with a blood alcohol level between 0.15 and 0.19 percent, the charge is entered as an extreme DUI.
  • When a driver is arrested with a blood alcohol content of 0.20 percent or higher, an arrest is made for a super extreme DUI.

The determination of blood alcohol content can be made up to two hours after a defendant was driving a vehicle.

Arizona classifies DUI, extreme DUI and super extreme DUI charges as misdemeanors. Time in jail, financial penalties and the installation of an ignition interlock device are likely consequences in all cases with the specific amounts or length of time generally greater for extreme or super extreme DUI convictions than for regular DUI convictions.

Cases of drunk driving for repeat offenses can result in felony charges if any arrest is the third or more within a period of 84 months. This is also true if drivers are found to be operating vehicles when their licenses are revoked or suspended, when they have violated the requirements to use an IID or if cited for drunk driving with a person under 15 years old in the vehicle at the time. 

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