Drunk Driving Defense Laws in Arizona

Like other American states, Arizona DUI law imposes severe penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. To remain as clear as possible, the law states it is illegal to both drive and be in control of any motor vehicle while intoxicated. Arizona has an "Implied Consent" law as well, which means drivers automatically consent to blood alcohol or drug concentration tests when they apply for and receive a driving license.

If the driver is stopped for DUI, this implied consent allows police officers to lawfully request a breath, blood or urine test to check for concentration of substances. The legal limit in Arizona for alcohol content is 0.08 percent and anything greater than 0.15 percent can result in extreme DUI charges.

Arizona DUI penalties

As far as the penalties associated with drunk driving in Arizona, they vary according to factors such as the circumstances of the arrest and whether the defendant is a repeat offender. At this time, these penalties include the following.

First Arizona DUI offense: Typically defendants must serve 10 consecutive days in jail and must pay a fine of at least $1,250. The law also mandates that those convicted of first offense DUI must also participate in alcohol education, screening and treatment programs and equip motor vehicles with a certified or approved ignition interlock device. A first offense also means serving in the community service programs used in Arizona.

Second and additional Arizona DUI offenses: For more than a single offense, defendants must usually serve at least 90 days in jail. They will also be ordered to pay fines of at least $3,000. Those convicted will also have their driving licenses revoked for a period of 12 months in addition to mandatory participation in alcohol education, screening and treatment programs. As expected, any motor vehicles these drivers operate must be equipped with an ignition interlock device. Participating in community service activities is also a common penalty for second and subsequent DUI convictions.

Extreme, Aggravated DUIs

Drivers convicted of extreme DUI in which the tests confirm a blood alcohol concentration of greater than 0.15 percent are subject to even harsher penalties. A first offense means a jail term of 30 consecutive days without parole or sentence suspension and fines of at least $2,500. This is in addition to the interlock device and community service penalties mentioned above. Additional extreme DUI convictions will incur more time on jail (at least 120 days) and greater fines (at least $3,250) as well as losing driving privileges for one full year, in addition to the penalties mentioned above.

Aggravated DUI, which occurs when a driver is caught driving with a suspended or revoked license, when a minor under 15 years is present in the automobile, if he or she refuses an alcohol test and for additional reasons, incurs the greatest penalties of all. Defendants are usually sentenced to a two year prison term and a license revocation of three years. All of this is in addition to the typical penalties imposed in an Arizona DUI conviction.

Arizona DUI Attorneys

Despite the severity of Arizona drunk driving laws, a knowledgeable DUI attorney can help defendants build a good defense. A lawyer with experience knows how to investigate all aspects of the arrest to ensure the defendant's Miranda rights were not violated or the alcohol tests were done properly. He or she will have an array of resources and techniques to use on behalf of the client in order to avoid the harshest conviction and associated penalties.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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