Arizona has always been tough on drunk driving. In fact, in the past decade alone, it enacted laws that are even tougher on violators of its DUI laws. These efforts seem to be paying off because for the third consecutive year, there has been a marked decrease in DUI arrests.
The Office of Highway Safety of Arizona reports that in 2015, there were 24,674 DUI arrests made. This was down from the 29,950 arrests during the previous year, and it is much lower than the 31,891 and 32,174 DUI arrests in 2013 and 2012, respectively.
Extreme DUI cases likewise dropped. In 2015, 6,742 arrests were recorded, which is lower than the 8,414 arrests made in 2014.
Although statistics show a drop in the number of arrests in 2015, average BAC readings went up. It went up from .152 in 2014 to .158 in 2015.
Beginning in September 2008, the state has the capability to look at past DUI records from 7 years back when determining sentencing. Before, only the records from the previous 5 years were available. For past offenders, defending a DUI case has become tougher.
Because of the changes to the law, judges can no longer suspend a portion of the jail term for offenders convicted of super extreme DUI or extreme DUI. There is likewise no exception for first-time offenders.
There are also new mandatory minimums in place for offenders. Extreme DUI conviction now carries a minimum jail term of 30 days for the first offense. The second offense has a minimum of 120 days. For extreme DUIs, first offense carries a minimum jail term of 45 days, and 6 months for the second offense.
Alcohol screening is now necessary before a suspended license can be reinstated. The offender must also install an ignition interlock device for at least 1 year after the conviction.
The changes in the law implemented in 2012 are seen to be more forgiving than previous amendments, in particular, for first-time offenders.
Under the new laws, first-time convictions require only a 1-day jail term. An offender will also get credit for the time he spent during the booking process or while staying in a holding cell.
The judge can now allow an offender to serve only 20% of his jail time and spend the remaining 80% under a home detention program. Thus, if you have been sentenced to a 30-day jail term, you can now serve only 6 days in prison. You can spend the remaining 24 days under home detention, unless your county or city doesn’t have such a program.
Under the 2012 law changes, DUI charges have become ineligible for trials by jury. While some people say the move denies people their right to get a fair trial, the state believes it saves the state money that would otherwise be spent on prosecution.
Because of the changes in Arizona’s DUI laws, it is best to work with a lawyer who is familiar with these changes. This way, he can help you explore all the possible options to get the best outcome possible. Call the Law Offices of Gary L Rohlwing for more information and help.