In all states, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Arizona is one of 15 states that follow zero-tolerance policies on driving under the influence (DUI) and has strict escalating penalties for repeat offenses.
While most motorists will be charged with at least a class-1 misdemeanor if they had no other charges prior, any subsequent DUI charge with 84 months (seven years) after the second offense is classified as an aggravated DUI charge (a class 4 felony).
Motorists can face immediate imprisonment if their blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds the legal limit of 0.08 percent (or 0.04 percent if driving a commercial vehicle) within two hours of driving or if drug tests detect any amount of a prohibited substance or its metabolite in their bodies.
In Arizona, it is also possible to be charged with DUI even if the motorist was not actually driving a vehicle. These charges accuse motorists of “operating” or being in “actual physical control” of a vehicle while under the influence, which often involve their proximity to a running vehicle. These conditions aim to prevent drunk driving before it begins, but due to their ambiguity can lead to a charge against a vehicle owner who had no intention of driving.
On the spot, motorists can even receive a 12- to 24-month suspension of their driver’s license if they fail or refuse to take a breathalyzer test. Indeed, depending on the circumstances of the arrest, motorists may still receive a DUI charge on the judgment of the arresting officer or the court— even if their BAC is below the legal limit.
The three types of DUI charges in Arizona take into account a broad assortment of factors including BAC, previous convictions, and the presence of minors in the vehicle. In all cases, motorists can expect jail time, community service, fines, and a 12-month ignition interlock requirement on each vehicle they drive. In addition, they are required to complete alcohol and drug screening test and attend a counseling program.
The length of jail time and the cost of the fines increases with the severity of the charge. On the second offense for a standard DUI charge, a motorist can expect not only a sentence of 90 days in jail but also a fine of $3,000 (plus jail and home detention costs and an $80 monitoring fee) and the revocation of their license for an entire year. An extreme DUI charge (defined as a BAC of 0.15% or more), meanwhile, can lead to 30 days in jail on the first offense and 120 days on the second.
Motorists charged with DUI cannot easily resume driving, even after a year has elapsed, but must complete an alcohol and drug screening test before re-applying for either a restricted driving permit or for the reinstatement of their license.
In Arizona, a third DUI charge is considered an aggravated DUI, a felony that leads to at least 2 years in prison and other harsh penalties depending on the reported details at the time of arrest.
Navigating the complexities of Arizona DUI laws requires immediate and timely assistance from a seasoned legal professional. The counsel and assistance of a skilled DUI attorney can help you gain the best possible outcome in a DUI case. Having a good attorney by your side can help prevent the more serious penalties of an aggravated DUI charge and gain a favorable plea bargain at court.
To prove a DUI charge, the prosecutors must provide evidence of both intoxication and impairment. In many cases, an attorney’s inquiry can also call into question the reliability of forensic evidence. Just some of the things that can attract a seasoned attorney’s scrutiny include investigative mistakes, impropriety by the arresting officers, and factors not previously considered during the initial investigation on the site of the arrest itself.
These findings can contribute to the reduction of penalties by the court. In some cases, it may even be possible to receive a not-guilty verdict or a complete dismissal of charges.
Having personally handled DUI and other cases throughout his career, Attorney Gary Rohlwing is committed to giving you the best DUI legal representation possible at a reasonable rate. If you find yourself facing an aggravated DUI charge, contact the Law Offices of Gary L. Rohlwing today.