How Serious is a DUI in Arizona?

how serious is a duiYou can be certain that the state of Arizona takes the issue of drinking and driving and using drugs and driving seriously. If we look at the numbers for the latest reporting year from the state Department of Transportation, we see that there was a total of 4,854 alcohol-related crashes. There was a total of 127,064 vehicle crashes in the state that year, so you may think that there is not that much of a problem with drinking and driving. However, the number of alcohol-related crashes does not give us a full picture of what is happening.

Crashes that happen due to alcohol impairment tend to cause more injuries and fatalities than other accidents. In that same year, those nearly 5,000 crashes caused 320 fatalities and 3,095 injuries. Many of those injuries were life-altering.

The Legal Level

Because of the severity of DUI crashes, Arizona has strict enforcement. There were nearly 27,000 DUI arrests in Arizona in 2018. While that number was actually a decrease from 2017, it still shows the seriousness with which law enforcement treats drinking and driving.

Most people know that the legal blood alcohol content level in Arizona is .08%. While you can find all kinds of answers online about how many drinks that means depending on your gender and body weight, please do not use that as a guideline. For your safety and the safety of everyone on the roadway, it is better to simply have a designated driver or catch a rideshare home if you plan on drinking away from home.

Severe Crashes Mean Severe Punishments

In Arizona, there are actually a range of punishments for DUI convictions. For a DUIs in which nobody was harmed, you can see the following:

Standard DUI (BAC above .08%)

  • 10 days jail time
  • $1,500 fine
  • 90 license suspension
  • Interlock device for 1 year
  • Alcohol evaluation/treatment program

For those with a blood alcohol level above .15% and .20%, they can face “Extreme DUI” charges and “Super Extreme DUI” charges respectively. Both of those see significant increases on the punishments listed above. For second offenses in each category, the penalties increase as well.

What happens if a person causes damages and injuries?

If that happens, the DUI charge can rise to the level of an Aggravated DUI, which is a class 4 felony. These penalties are much harsher:

Aggravated DUI (1st Offense – Class 4 Felony)

  • 4 months to 3.75 years in prison
  • $4,500 fine
  • 3-year license revocation
  • Interlock device for 2 years
  • Alcohol evaluation/treatment program
  • SR-22 high-risk insurance
  • Supervised probation
  • Possible community service

Drugs Can Also Lead To A DUI

Arizona law is written in a way that there is nearly zero tolerance for drug impairment while driving. In fact, it says that you can get an aggravated DUI charge while being impaired by drugs or alcohol to the slightest degree or with a BAC of above .08%.

Measuring drug impairment is not always easy in the field and often a blood or urine test is necessary. The problem with that if you have used drugs recently, they are likely going to show up in your system even if you are no longer impaired by them at all.

What You Can Do Now

We know that Arizona law enforcement officers take drinking and driving seriously. If you have been arrested and charged with DUI in this state, you need to secure a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who understands every aspect of the DUI laws. There are times when a person is charged with DUI when they should not have been. There are also times when a person makes a mistake. Either way, your attorney can help you through the whole process.

Click here for information on what happens when suspected of DUI in Arizona?