The laws regarding police procedure and evidence for DUI cases are straightforwardly in favor of streamlining the conviction process. You are legally required to submit to tests to determine your blood-alcohol level (BAC). And if a BAC of 0.08% or higher is measured, little else is required to convict you.

So from the moment you are pulled over you must be very careful not to make mistakes that sacrifice the chances you have for an acquittal or to minimize any penalties. Most importantly, politely decline to speak unnecessarily or answer questions, and politely ask to speak to an attorney in private.

It is important not to get discouraged and assume the worst.

A free consultation with Ariano & Associates can answer all your questions and help you figure out the best path forward, and it’s just a phone call away.
An Arizona DUI conviction can result in loss of driving privileges, imprisonment, mandatory counseling or drug screenings, installation of an ignition interlock device, fines and fees, and any other penalty the court may decide. Other issues can include potential loss of employment, time away from family, or loss of a nursing, teaching, broker’s, truck driver’s, pilot’s, real estate or other license.

You can see a summary of some key DUI laws here.

To explore the full statute, see Chapter 4 of Title 28 of the Arizona Revised Statutes here .

DUI Penalties in the State of Arizona

Sentencing for DUI’s in Arizona is severe. Whether you are charged with a Misdemeanor DUI or Felony DUI, you are facing serious penalties. To avoid these, you need an experienced DUI defense lawyer.

There are three different categories of DUI crimes. A driver can be charged with one, two or all three of them.

1. It is unlawful to drive or be in control of a motor vehicle, while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, drug, vapor, or any combination thereof, and impaired to the slightest degree.

2. It is unlawful to drive or be in control of a motor vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08% or more within two hours of driving.

3. It is unlawful to drive or be in control of a motor vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .15 % or more within 2 hours of driving.

Usually, if a test results in an alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more, a driver will be charged with the first two offenses, and if it is over 0.15%, then he or she will be charged with all three.

For purposes of sentencing, DUIs are also categorized as follows:

Regular DUI – Usually charged as a Misdemeanor; BAC less than 0.15%

Extreme DUI – Can be charged as Misdemeanor or Felony; BAC 0.15 – 0.199%

Super Extreme DUI – Can be charged as Misdemeanor or Felony; BAC 0.20% and above

Aggravated DUI – Usually charged as a Felony; this is a DUI that is made more serious by additional or underlying circumstances

See the tables below [here] for further information on the above categories, as well as mandatory sentencing guidelines for each. Below the tables [here] are details of some of terms used, such as work-release, restricted license, etc.

 

 

STATUTORY MINIMUM MISDEMEANOR DUI PENALTIES

Note that BAC levels below those shown do not prevent you from being charged if an officer thinks you show other evidence of impairment. The State does not need to prove any BAC at all – only that the defendant was “impaired to the slightest degree.” But in general if your BAC measures less than 0.05% you are unlikely to be charged with a crime.

1st Offense Misdemeanor DUI (BAC under 0.15%)

10 days jail (possibility of work-release and up to 9 days suspended)

$1,460.00 in fines, court assessments and surcharges

Alcohol screening

Alcohol education (16 hours or 36 hours)

Victim Impact Panel

Probation, unsupervised for 12-24 months

Restitution, if applicable

Civil driver’s license suspension for up to 90 days; 30 days mandatory, 60 days can be restricted

8 points assessed against driver’s license

Interlock device for 12 months (Cost: $800.00-$1,200.00)

2nd Offense Misdemeanor DUI within 7 years (BAC under 0.15%)

90 days jail (possibility of work-release and up to 60 days suspended)

$3,420.00 in fines, court assessments and surcharges.

Alcohol screening

Alcohol education (36 hours)

Victim Impact Panel

30 hours of community service

Probation, supervised for at least 24 months ($50 per month)

Restitution, if applicable

8 points assessed against driver’s license

1 year revocation of driver’s license

Interlock device for 12 months after revocation (Cost: $800.00 to $1,200.00)

1st Offense “Extreme DUI” (BAC 0.15 -0.199%)

30 days jail (possibility of work-release)

$2,710.00 in fines, court assessments and surcharges

Alcohol screening

Alcohol education (usually 36 hours)

Victim Impact Panel

Probation, supervised for 24 months ($50 per month)

Restitution, if applicable

Civil driver’s license suspension for 90 days; 30 days mandatory, 60 days can be restricted

8 points assessed against driver’s license

30 day vehicle impoundment

Interlock device for 12 months (Cost: $800.00-$1,200.00)

1st Offense “Super Extreme DUI” (BAC 0.20% or more)

45 consecutive days of jail time

$2,710.00 in fines, court assessments and surcharges

Alcohol screening

Alcohol education (usually 36 hours)

Victim Impact Panel

Probation, supervised for 24 months ($50 per month)

Civil driver’s license suspension 90 days; 30 days mandatory, 60 days can be restricted

8 points assessed against driver’s license

30 day vehicle impoundment

Interlock device for 12 months (Cost: $800.00-$1,200.00)

2nd Offense within 7 years (BAC 0.15-0.199%)

120 days jail, 60 days consecutive (possibility of work-release)

$5,250.00 in fines, court assessments and surcharges

Alcohol screening

Alcohol education (36 hours)

Victim Impact Panel

90 days continuous alcohol monitoring

30 hours community service

Probation, supervised for at least 24 months ($50 per month)

Restitution, if applicable

8 points assessed against driver’s license

1 year revocation of driver’s license

30 days vehicle impoundment

Interlock device for 12 months after revocation ($800.00-$1,200.00)

2nd Offense within 7 years (BAC 0.20% or more)

180 days jail, 90 days consecutive (possibility of work-release)

$5,250.00 in fines, court assessments and surcharges

Alcohol screening

Alcohol counseling (36 hours)

Victim Impact Panel

90 days continuous alcohol monitoring

30 hours community service

30 days vehicle impoundment

8 points assessed against driver’s license

1 year revocation of driver’s license

Interlock device for 24 months after revocation (Cost: $1,600.00 to $2,400.00)

[See definitions and discussion of some of the terms used above here.]

The firm of Ariano & Associates is experienced in helping clients to avoid or minimize many of the above 1st and 2nd offense Misdemeanor, Extreme and Super Extreme DUI penalties. Call us anytime day or night for a free consultation.

PENALTIES FOR FELONY DUI CONVICTIONS

Under Arizona DUI law, driving under the influence is usually charged as a misdemeanor. However, either an aggravated DUI or an extreme DUI can be charged as a felony. Some situations in which you may be charged with a felony DUI include:

  • There was a child under the age of 15 in the car at the time of your DUI arrest
  • Your driver’s license was suspended, revoked or restricted at the time of your DUI arrest
  • You were arrested for a DUI after a judge required use of an ignition interlock device
  • You committed three or more DUI offenses within 7 years (excluding any time you were incarcerated). The prior offenses can include DUI offenses from any state.

First Felony Conviction

4 months to 3.75 years in prison

Up to $265,500 fine

Alcohol screening

Alcohol education

Victim Impact Panel

Up to 10 years supervised probation

Community service

3 year revocation of driver’s license

Forfeiture of vehicle

Interlock device for 12 months

Restitution

Felony Conviction after One Prior Felony

2.25 to 7.5 years in prison

Up to $265,500 fine

Alcohol screening

Alcohol education

Community supervision (1 day for each week in custody)

Up to 10 years supervised probation

Community service

3 years revocation of driver’s license

Forfeiture of vehicle

Interlock device for 12 months

Restitution

Felony Conviction after Two Prior Felonies

6 to 15 years in prison

Up to $265,500 fine

Alcohol screening

Alcohol education

Community supervision (1 day for each week in custody)

Up to 10 yrs supervised probation

Community service

3 years revocation of driver’s license

Forfeiture of vehicle

Interlock device for 12 months

Restitution

[See definitions and discussion of some of the terms used above here.]

The firm of Ariano & Associates is experienced in helping clients to avoid or minimize many of the above Felony DUI penalties. Call us anytime day or night for a free consultation.

Common Sentencing Terms and Issues

Work-Release

If you are employed or going to school, the court has the option to let you leave jail for up to 12 hours at a time, 5 days per week to do your work or to study and attend school.

Alcohol Screening

An alcohol screening is an approximately a one hour assessment with a substance abuse counselor a state-approved screening facility.

The screening facility will recommend to the court a certain number of treatment hours, which can include classes, counseling or other treatment. Note that you should wait until you receive the verdict in your case before starting treatment, because you might not get credit for hours completed before a conviction.

Screening is one of the steps that must ordinarily be completed before you can get special driving privileges, such as for traveling to and from work.

In addition to the fines and surcharges shown in the table above, the court may order you to personally pay for all or part of any screening, counseling, education, or other treatment.

Home Confinement

An ankle monitor is usually required, and home confinement may be combined with work-release as well as a pass to attend treatment.

Interlock Devices

An interlock device prevents a vehicle from starting unless the driver blows into the device and it measures a BAC less than a certain threshold, which will be set at 0.08% or lower. The court may order it to be used for up to 3 years, and the offender has to pay for the device, installation, and maintenance, and show proof of compliance and inspection at least once a year.

Restricted License

Restricted driving privileges can often be allowed during a portion of a suspension period. For example, on a 90-day suspension, the first 30 will be a total suspension and the last 60 will allow restricted driving privileges.

Offenders must use the restricted licenses only for

  • driving to and from their residence and workplace during work hours
  • to and from school during approved hours
  • to and from appointments at a treatment or screening facility or with a health-care professional or probation officer

DUI Victim Impact Panel

If you are convicted of a DUI in Arizona, you may be ordered to attend a DUI Victim Impact Panel, which you may have to pay for in addition to the fines and charges above. The panel includes people who have been the victims of DUI, who tell their stories so that drivers become aware of the “trauma, physical pain, emotional suffering and devastation, financial loss, anger and frustration that is commonly experienced by innocent victims and their family members resulting from a DUI-related crash.”

Should I request a DMV suspension hearing?

You will have the option of requesting a suspension hearing or simply beginning the mandatory suspension period automatically 15 days after your arrest.

Requesting a hearing will delay the beginning of your suspension at least until the hearing date which will probably be set for at least about 6 weeks or two months after you request it. One advantage of a DMV hearing is that you can get a preview of the police officer’s testimony against you.

However, it’s very likely that the suspension will be upheld in the end. So if you want to start your suspension period right away so you can get it over with, don’t request a hearing.

If you have been charged or are a suspect in a DUI case, call Ariano & Associates today for a free consultation that can set you on the right course towards minimizing penalties in your case – or, with the right strategy, you might be able to avoid them altogether.