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May 08

Arizona DUI Laws

Driving under the influence in the state of Arizona is a violation of the state’s per se law. This means, the offender has a blood alcohol level at or higher than the legal limits (within two hours of driving) at the time of the offense. Arizona DUIs are also prosecuted based on evidence that the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired, even slightly, as the result of consuming alcohol. Driving under the influence is a serious crime in the state of Arizona, but “extreme” DUI or DWI is even worse. A person whose blood alcohol content level (BAC) is nearly twice as high as the legal limit (within two hours of driving) will be charged with an “extreme” DUI or DWI. 

What is the blood alcohol content level (BAC) limit in the state of Arizona?

In the state of Arizona, it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content level (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. 0.15% or higher is considered extreme, so if caught with a BAC of 0.15% or higher, you will be charged with an extreme DUI. 

In the state of Arizona what is the administrative license suspension period for a first offense?

In the state of Arizona, if you get arrested for DUI, the administrative license suspension time for a first offense is 90 days. Under administrative license suspension, the drivers’ license will be taken before conviction when he either fails or refuses to be tested for alcohol or drugs. During the 90 day revocation period, the driver may obtain a limited license for work purposes only during the last 60 days of the revocation period only for a Breathalyzer test result of 0.08% or greater, not for refusing to take the test.

In the state of Arizona, what are the penalties for a first DUI offense? Second offense?

In the state of Arizona, if you are a minor and you get caught driving with any amount of alcohol in the body, you will be charged with a DUI/DWI. First DUI/DWI cases are misdemeanors. They become felonies if:

•    the driver has two or more DUI/DWI convictions within five years of the current violation
•    a passenger under the age of 15 was in the car at the time of the offense
•     if the offender committed the offense under suspended license 

Depending on the type of DUI, penalties for drunk driving convictions in the state of Arizona will vary. First time offenders and second offenses within 5 years with a BAC of 0.08% and above, but below 0.15%: 

•    may have to spend 10 days in jail (9 of the 10 days may be suspended if the offender agrees to treatment and/or a drug or alcohol evaluation
•    will have to pay a $250 fine plus $500, and a surcharge
•    will have his license suspended for 90 days
•    will have to go to counseling if recommended after an evaluation
•    may be on probation for up to 5 year
•    will have to install an ignition interlock device on the vehicle (for second offenses only, not required for first offenses) 

For first time extreme DUI offenses (BAC at or above 0.15%), the offender: 

•    may have to spend 30 days in jail (20 of the 30 days may be suspended if the offender agrees to treatment and/or a drug or alcohol evaluation
•    will have to pay a $250 fine, plus $250 assessment to the Arizona DUI abatement fund, a surcharge, and an additional $1,000 assessment. 
•    will have his license suspended for 90 days
•    will have to go to counseling if recommended after an evaluation
•    may be on probation for up to 5 year
•    will have to install an ignition interlock device on the vehicle

A felony DUI is a class 4 felony in the state of Arizona and the penalties are severe, even if you have a clean felony record. If you are convicted of a felony DUI:

•    You may receive up to four months in prison before you are eligible for release, probation, pardon, or suspension of sentence. 
•    You may pay up to $150,000 in fines, plus a $250 assessment to the Arizona Dui abatement fund, $1,500 assessment for arrests, and a surcharge. 
•    Your license will be suspended for three years
•    You will be required to submit to treatment, if the sentencing court grants probation. 
•    You may be placed on probation for up to five years.  

It is important to note that in the state of Arizona, a six-person jury tries DUI cases. The defendant can waive his right to a jury trial and instead, have his case tried by a judge. 

If your license has been revoked for drunk driving in the state of Arizona, once your driving privileges are restored, you will have to obtain SR 22 auto insurance. This is a type of auto insurance for high risk drivers. SR 22 auto insurance carriers report the status of your auto insurance to the DMV. With SR 22 auto insurance, you will have to show proof of insurance for 3 years after the your suspension period ends ends.

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