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Person Drinking & Driving

Consequences for Arizona DUI Conviction

Person Drinking & Driving

In Arizona, you may be charged with varying degrees of DUI offenses depending on the level of your blood alcohol content. These charges are categorized as follows:

Driving While Impaired to the Slightest Degree

This is a class 1 misdemeanor and codified in A.R.S. 28-1381(A)(1). This offense takes place if a driver is at all impaired. Though many believe that 0.08 is the legal blood alcohol concentration limit, they might be surprised to learn that an individual with a BAC lower than 0.08 can be charged with a DUI. Furthermore, an individual need not have consumed any alcohol, but might also be charged with a DUI impaired to the slightest degree if under the influence of some other substance. Persons guilty of this offense are subject to the following penalties: a minimum sentence of 10 days in jail, a minimum fine of $250, possible restitution, two additional fees of $500 each, and the installation of an ignition interlock device on the defendant’s vehicle. As far as DUI related offenses go, this charge is the most common and if you or someone you know is charged with a greater DUI offense, they will most likely be charged with this offense as well.

DUI Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Above 0.08 Percent

Also a class 1 misdemeanor, A.R.S. 28-1381(A) states that an individual may be convicted of a DUI “If the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle.” However, this offense is not limited to these circumstances, as this statute provides that an individual may be convicted of DUI if the defendant is driving while under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or vapor releasing substance; or if the vehicle driven at the time of the offense requires a commercial driver’s license and that driver’s BAC is above 0.04. Persons guilty of this offense are subject to a minimum sentence of 10 days in jail, a fine of $250, community restitution, two additional fees of $500 each, and the installation of an ignition interlock device.

Arizona Extreme DUI

Also a class 1 misdemeanor, this offense is codified in A.R.S. 28-1382 which states, “It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state if the person has an alcohol concentration as follows within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle: (1) 0.15 or more but less than 0.20 (2) 0.20 or more.” Persons guilty of this offense are subject to the following penalties: a minimum jail sentence of 30 days, a fine of $250, an additional fee of $250, payment of restitution, installation of an ignition interlock device, and an additional fee of $1,000.

Arizona Aggravated / Felony DUI

Codified in A.R.S. 28-1383, this offense is classified as either a class 4 or class 6 felony, depending on the elements of the offense. This statute states “A. A person is guilty of aggravated driving or actual physical control while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs if the person does any of the following: 1. Commits a violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382, or this section while the person’s driver license or privilege to drive is suspended, canceled, revoked, or refused or while a restriction is placed on the person’s driver license or privilege to drive as a result of violating section 28-1381 or 28-1382 or under section 28-1385. 2. Within a period of 84 months commits a third or subsequent violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382, or this section or is convicted of a violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382, or this section and has previously been convicted of any combination of convictions of section 28-1381, section 28-1382, or this section; or acts in another jurisdiction that if committed in this state would be a violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382, or this section. 3. While a person under 15 years of age is in the vehicle, commits a violation of either: (a) Section 28-1381. (b) Section 28-1382. 4. While the person is ordered by the court or required pursuant to section 28-3319 by the department to equip any motor vehicle the person operates with a certified ignition interlock device, commits a violation of section 28-1381, section 28-1382, or this section.” Persons convicted of this offense are subject to the following penalties: a minimum sentence of 4 months in the Arizona Department of Correction, a maximum jail time of 2.5 years, mandatory drug/alcohol screening and any applicable counseling, a minimum fine of $750, an additional fee of $250, an additional fee of $1500, a three-year license revocation, and the installation of an ignition interlock device.

Further Information About Arizona DUIs

If an additional offense is committed within a specific time period of the original offense, any sentences, fees, or other penalties will become significantly greater. For instance, if someone who has been convicted of either DUI above 0.08 or DUI to the slightest degree is convicted of a second offense within a period of 84 months of the original offense, the defendant is subject to a minimum sentence of 120 days in jail, a fine of $250, 30 hours of community restitution, a revocation of driving privileges for at least one year, and two additional fees of $1,250 each.

Arizona DUI Representation

If you’ve been charged with DUI in Flagstaff, Arizona, take a moment to speak with experienced trial lawyers Gonzales & Poirier about your case. Our no-obligation consultation will help you to determine your legal situation and the possible consequences if convicted to the full extent of the law. Our lawyers aggressively negotiate with prosecutors; fighting to get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. Please call (855) 774-5400 or click here to schedule a meeting today.

Car keys gavel alcohol

The Consequences if Convicted of a DUI in Arizona

Car Keys, Gavel & Alcoholic Drink One of the worst things you can do when arrested for DUI in Arizona is nothing. Most people are familiar with the typical fines and penalties associated with a DUI conviction, but few stop to consider the long-term negative consequences. Not only will you suffer financially, you could find your employment status, credit record, and even your very reputation irreparably damaged.

Immediate Consequences of a DUI Conviction in Arizona

In Arizona, a standard DUI is classified as being caught driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. This level is lowered to 0.04 percent if you drive a commercial vehicle. An extreme DUI is the charge if your BAC is over 0.15 percent, and there is now a super extreme DUI if your BAC is above 0.2 percent. The immediate penalties are as follows:

  • Fines: These can range from a base fine of $250 for a first offense to over $2,400 if convicted of extreme or super extreme DUI. This does not include any payments for damages you may have caused.
  • Jail Time: In the state of Arizona, you can expect to spend a minimum of 10 days in jail if convicted for DUI for the very first time. A third DUI conviction will see you hit with a minimum of four months in jail.
  • Ignition Interlock Device: This is similar to a breathalyzer but is connected to your vehicle dashboard, and drivers previously convicted of DUI will be legally required to blow into the device before driving. If the IID finds your BAC to be above the legal limit, your vehicle will not start. You have to pay for installation, which is around $100, and another $50 to $100 per month as a “lease” payment.
  • License Suspension: Your license will be suspended for 90 days as a minimum on a first offense, and this rises to 12 months if you are a repeat offender. In some instances, your license may be revoked entirely.
  • Preventative Programs: The court’s sentence could also include programs for alcohol teaching and prevention. You may even be sentenced to community service.

Employment Status

However, the negative consequences of a DUI conviction in Arizona extend far beyond the immediate punishment. Here are five ways it hurts your employment status as well:

  1. License Suspension: Assuming you don’t get an exemption for work, a license suspension forces you to rely on public transportation or expensive taxis to get to work. It wreaks havoc with your schedule, and if your job requires you to drive, say hello to the unemployment line. Additionally, a DUI stays on your commercial driving record for decades, so getting another job in this field is nigh on impossible.
  2. Loss of Employment: An increasing number of organizations have mandatory firing policies, which allow them to terminate an employee’s contract for extreme misconduct and/or criminal convictions. If your company has such a policy, you are required to notify them immediately, and then you can expect to be fired.
  3. Job Applications: While not all employers ask about convictions and arrests, the vast majority will, and the DUI stays on your record for up to five years. Though they won’t tell you, the employer is likely to reject your application because of this, and you’ll never know whether or not you would have got the job otherwise.
  4. Missed Work: Even if you’re not fired, a DUI conviction will cause problems at work. There is the small matter of taking days off to go to court, and you may also be required to attend a program for alcohol treatment. Finally, you will miss work in Arizona since even a first DUI conviction will see you in jail for 10 days!

Escalating Insurance Costs

As your driving record will show insurers your DUI conviction, expect your rate to increase by an average of 25 to 35 percent, according to Bill Martin, a senior vice president at Farmers Insurance. However, it is not unusual for drivers to see their insurance quote double when it’s time for renewal, assuming the insurer even wants your business. The level of increase depends on a number of factors, including age, driving history, circumstances of arrest, and number of previous DUIs.

Additionally, if you have been convicted of DUI in Arizona and are looking to renew your license, you need to get a form called (Certificate of Insurance) SR-22 from your insurance company to have your license suspension removed. The DMV needs this form as proof you have liability insurance. If your current insurer does not offer SR-22 policies, you will be forced to change insurers.

Injury/Death

Although Arizona has among the harshest set of DUI laws in the United States, accidents caused by drunk drivers are still a major problem. On the plus side, the absolute number of deaths due to drunk driving is down by 46 percent in the 2007 to 2012 timeframe, but the number of drunk driving deaths as a percentage of all road deaths in the state of Arizona has actually increased by over 7 percent from 2011 to 2012.

In 2012, there were 227 road deaths due to drunk driving, over 5,400 alcohol-related crashes where the driver had a BAC of 0.1 percent or more, and over 30,000 arrests. Can you imagine how those who caused the deaths of others feel? It is common for people in such situations to suffer serious psychological trauma as they are unable to come to terms with what they did. Don’t allow yourself to endure this misery; next time you’ve had a few drinks and are tempted to drive, take a taxi or allow a sober and fully licensed friend to drive instead.

There is simply too much to lose; the simple solution is to plan ahead and not drive if you intend on drinking alcohol or abstain and become a designated driver. With punishments including heavy fines, prison, potential loss of employment, and license suspension, a DUI in Arizona is a life-changing occurrence and one you want to avoid at all costs. If you believe you have been wrongfully arrested on a DUI charge, get in contact with knowledgeable DUI attorneys in Arizona to ensure you are not convicted.

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