Drunk drivers, to put it simply, face harsh penalties and fines in the State of Arizona. The state has some of the harshest DUI laws in the US. In Arizona, you are guilty of DUI if at least one of the following applies to you pursuant to A.R.S. § 28-1381(A)(1)-(4):
- You are impaired to the slightest degree while under the influence of impairment-causing drugs, a vapor- releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor- releasing substances.
- You have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more within two hours of driving.
- You have any drug or its metabolite as defined in A.R.S. § 13-3401 in your system.
- You have a BAC of 0.04% or more and were stopped driving a commercial vehicle.
Note that even if your Breathalyzer or blood test results show that your BAC is under 0.08%, the officer who stopped you may charge you with DUI if he/she deems that you are unfit to drive. You are automatically charged with DUI if the test shows your BAC is 0.08% or more.
Penalties for First-Time Misdemeanor Offenders
A first time DUI under A.R.S. § 28-1381 is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If you are convicted of a first time misdemeanor DUI, you will be sentenced to the following:
- A jail term of 10 consecutive days or more, with a maximum of up to 90 days. The court may suspend 9 of the 10 days if you complete a court-ordered alcohol or other drug screening education or treatment program.
- A fine of $1,250.
- Installation of a certified ignition interlock device in your car at your own expense.
You may also be sentenced to the following:
- Community service hours
Your conviction will trigger a 90 day suspension of your privilege to drive.
What to Do When Stopped for a Possible DUI
When an officer asks you to pull over for a possible DUI, you must:
- Safely pull over to the right side of the road.
- Switch your engine off.
- Politely refuse to answer any questions.
- Hand over your registration, license, and insurance to the officer.
- Politely refuse to take any field sobriety tests if asked.
- Submit to a Breathalyzer or Blood test.
- Remain silent if you are arrested.
- Politely request that you be allowed to speak to your lawyer.
If you have had a few drinks, it can be stressful if you are pulled over. Just stay calm and follow the steps above.
What to Do if Charged with Your First DUI
Anyone can be found guilty of a misdemeanor DUI. When it happens, you must be ready and know the consequences.
As a Class 1 misdemeanor, a first DUI conviction comes with daunting punishments. Don’t lose hope! An experienced DUI lawyer like Gary Rohlwing can help find ways to possibly have the case dismissed, challenge the accuracy of the Breathalyzer or blood test results, prove that you were not impaired, and minimize the penalties. Remember that your future may be at stake. Therefore, you need to have a competent lawyer by your side at all times.
If you are facing your first DUI charge in Arizona, it’s best to get in touch with the Law Offices of Gary L. Rohlwing immediately. He has been protecting the rights of clients charged with DUI for many years. He will work hard to make sure that you get the best results possible for your case. You can read more about his practice areas here.