Driving under the influence (DUI) is deemed to be a very serious crime in Arizona; one that carries stiff penalties and fines for those convicted of this crime. Statistics from 2006 show that of 585 fatalities on the states roads involving alcohol, more than 400 had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of over 0.08 percent, which is the state limit for those with licenses for driving regular vehicles. The BAC limit is 0.04 percent for individuals who drive a vehicle while under the influence that requires a commercial license, such as a school bus or truck.
Implied Consent & Probable Cause
The state of Arizona carries the implied consent law, which means all drivers are legally required to give a blood sample or take a breathalyzer test if asked by a police officer during his investigation. In the event that your BAC is over 0.08 percent and you are arrested for DUI, the officer in question must prove that he had justifiable cause to pull you over. Probable cause can include a driver not adhering to safety signs, road rules, or if they are driving erratically.
Arizona DUI Penalties
The penalties you face for an Arizona DUI conviction depend on your BAC level, age, and whether it is your first conviction:
- First Offense: You can receive a jail sentence of up to six months for a first offense with a mandatory one- to 10-day sentence currently in place. The fines range from $250 to $2,500, along with a surcharge, and you may be placed on probation for up to five years. Your license may also be suspended for up to 90 days; the first 30 days of which you cant drive at all, while there may also be restrictions on the final 60 days.
- Second Offense: The penalties are more severe if you have been convicted of a DUI within the previous five years. The minimum jail sentence is 30 to 60 days and you can end up in jail for six months. If convicted in the last five years, your license will be revoked for at least 12 months. It is also necessary to reapply for your license after revocation. Second time DUI offenders also have an Ignition Interlock Device placed in their vehicles for a minimum of one year after their driving privileges have been restored.
- Extreme DUI: Is when a driver is arrested with a BAC of 0.15 percent or over and this carries a mandatory jail sentence of at least 30 days, along with a fine of up to $2,500 with surcharges. If you are convicted of Extreme DUI a second time, it means a mandatory jail sentence of four months.
Consequences of a Conviction
The consequences can be even more severe if you are a minor and arrested for DUI, as you may be charged with two separate offenses. Once you have been convicted of a DUI, it is very difficult to obtain a lesser charge under Arizona state law. If you believe that there was no justification for a police officer pulling over your vehicle, you need to contact an attorney who can fight your case by ensuring your rights are upheld. Aside from hefty fines, loss of driving privileges, and potential jail time, a DUI is a permanent stain on your record and can cost you your job or prevent you from obtaining a driving-related job in some cases.