Choosing a designated driver or arranging for a ride before you start drinking alcohol is always the best way to avoid a DUI charge in Arizona. The penalties can be harsh if you are pulled over, and even worse if you are in an alcohol-related motor vehicle crash. It is critical to plan ahead because alcohol affects your judgment and can influence bad decisions. If you are unable to think clearly when you are ready to go home, it may seem like a good idea to sit in your vehicle and wait for your head to clear. Unfortunately, getting behind the wheel with alcohol in your system is always a bad idea.
According to the Arizona State Legislature, you can be charged with a DUI offense if you have a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or greater while sitting in your car. Because there is the potential for you to start it and drive away, Arizona statutes place the same penalties on being in the vehicle as they do if you are driving down the road. The law calls this actual physical control of the vehicle.
A DUI conviction is a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona, and penalties typically include jail time, fines, license suspension and community service. You can expect to be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car, as well. This information about the risks of driving or sitting in your car after drinking is provided to help you understand Arizona’s DUI laws. It should not be interpreted as legal advice.