Types of DUI Charges in Arizona

Driving under the influence is generally described as operating or controlling a motor vehicle while intoxicated, either by alcohol or drugs. In the State of Arizona, there are three basic types of DUI charges, with graduating levels of severity. The seriousness of the charge will be based on several key factors including previous convictions and the blood (or breath) alcohol concentration of the defendant at the time of the offense.

Standard DUI

A driver is charged with a standard DUI when their blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is at least 0.08% for passenger vehicles, or 0.04% for drivers of commercial vehicles. If the driver is under 21 years of age, there is no minimum BAC percentage. Any amount of BAC measured is sufficient to charge the driver with DUI.

First Offense For a DUI Over .08

A first offense DUI is classified as a Class I misdemeanor with penalties including:

  • Up to 10 days in jail;
  • a fine of up to $2,500 plus surcharge;
  • community service;
  • installation of an ignition interlock device on vehicle(s);
  • completion of a mandatory treatment/education program.

Second Offense

Penalties for second offense DUI charges can be as follows:

  • Minimum of 90 days’ jail time;
  • a fine of up to $2,500 plus surcharge;
  • community service;
  • installation of an ignition interlock device on vehicle(s);
  • completion of a mandatory treatment/education program.

When a driver is charged with DUI, there are typically two citations involved: one for operating or controlling a motor vehicle while impaired, irrespective of the BAC level involved. This is called the (A)(1) citation, from the section of Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 28-1382. The second charge (A)(2) is for when the BAC of the driver exceeds the statutory limit.

A driver who refuses to submit to, or fails, a BAC/breathalyzer test will also be subject to a license suspension for 12 months for a first offense, or 24 months for subsequent offenses or another failure within 84 months. (dmv.org)

An (A)(3) is a DUI offense involving drugs. As can be seen from the types of DUI charges, it is possible and even common for a driver to be charged with multiple violations of DUI, as a citation can include alcohol, drugs, underage passengers, and different levels of BAC percentage. As such, penalties for citations can be compounded, based on the circumstances and severity of the violation.

Extreme DUI For a DUI Over .15

A driver whose BAC exceeds a greater statutory limit than those stipulated for standard DUI charges, is charged with Extreme DUI. Driving under the extreme influence of alcohol or drugs in Arizona has a statutory limit of 0.15% BAC.

Extreme DUI convictions carry a 30-day minimum mandatory jail term, a minimum fine of up to $2,500 plus surcharge, and license suspension and/or probation. Additionally, as with standard DUI convictions, you will also be required to install ignition interlock devices on each vehicle you operate.

Extreme DUI with Prior Convictions

If a person is charged with an additional Extreme DUI conviction within 7 years of a prior conviction, jail time can be anywhere from 120 days to six months along with the mandatory use of an ignition interlock device on all your vehicles.

Aggravated DUI

Aggravated DUI charges are for drivers convicted of DUI in any of the following circumstances:

  • While driving with a suspended, revoked or cancelled license;
  • the DUI charge is the driver’s third within the past 84 months, or
  • the driver was charged with DUI with a passenger in the vehicle under the age of 15.

As with all other types of DUI, penalties for Aggravated DUI can escalate, based on prior convictions, whether the driver license is suspended or revoked at the time of the DUI, or underage passengers in the vehicle at the time of the offense.

Penalties for Aggravated DUI can include:

  • Mandatory prison;
  • driver’s license revocation;
  • ignition interlock device on all vehicles operated by defendant;
  • completion of mandatory drug/alcohol treatment/education program, and/or
  • community service.

Aggravated DUI charges are classified as a Class 6 Felony when there is a passenger under the age of 15 in the vehicle. In fact, a separate felony charge can be made for each passenger under 15.

Driving under the influence is a serious offense under any circumstances, even for a first offense. It represents a danger to the public as well as the driver and his/her passengers.  According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (AZDOT), in 2015 there were 4,941 alcohol-related accidents in Arizona. Of those, 2,091 resulted in injury.

Holiday season is just around the corner, and with it come increased risk of alcohol-related auto collisions. If you have been charged with a DUI, or been the victim of an alcohol related collision in Arizona, you need legal help to get the justice you deserve.

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