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Blood alcohol content levels may affect DUI penalties

Certain criminal offenses will include multiple tiers, each carrying a different set of penalties. Under Arizona law, for example, there is more than one type of offense for drinking and driving. Convictions for these crimes will depend in large part on the defendant’s blood alcohol content levels. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, BAC tests are used to determine how much alcohol is in a person’s body.

In Arizona, it is illegal for someone to drive or physically control a vehicle if that person has a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08 or higher. This is a class 1 misdemeanor. Convictions carry jail sentences of at least 10 days and fines of at least $250.

The state also prohibits extreme DUI. Defendants with BAC levels of between 0.15 and higher may face extreme DUI charges. Those convicted of this offense face jail sentences of 30 or more consecutive days. In addition, the crime requires a fine of $250 or higher.

The extreme DUI laws also create a subsection for drivers with BAC levels of 0.20 and up. Convictions for this type of extreme DUI must serve jail time of at least 45 consecutive days. There is also a fine of at least $500.

BAC tests can be administered on defendants if it has been two hours or less since that defendant drove or was in physical control of a vehicle. If someone tests with a BAC of 0.05 or lower, there is a presumption that the person was not intoxicated. If a BAC level is higher than 0.05 but lower than 0.08, there is no presumption regarding that person’s intoxication. If test results are 0.08 or higher, there is a presumption that the person was intoxicated. 

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