What to know about Arizona’s DUI penalties

On Behalf of The Kaiser Law Group

Driving under the influence means operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Arizona motorists who get caught driving under the influence face stiff penalties and Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws in the United States.

The legal limit and zero tolerance

Arizona has a zero-tolerance law, which means the driver may get charged at the slightest impairment even if they register below 0. 08 BAC. While BAC occurs at different rates based on body weight, it commonly increases by 0.02 per drink, so it only takes four drinks to reach 0.08. It takes 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine for a person weighing 100 pounds to reach 0.08 BAC within one hour.

The legal limit runs lower for commercial drivers in Arizona. It’s 0.04 BAC. Drivers under 21 may get charged regardless of the amount of alcohol they consume.

DUI penalties in Arizona

Arizona classifies DUI into four groups: slightest degree, 0.08 BAC or more, extreme DUI, and super extreme DUI. The slightest degree means driving a motor vehicle under a small amount of alcohol and counts as a Class I misdemeanor. Since no standard BAC applies to this level, the driver only has to show signs of impairment.

A BAC of 0.08 or greater commonly results in 24 hours to 10 days in jail, 12-month license revocation or 90-day suspension, community service, a $1480 minimum fine and an $80 monitoring fee. Jail time except for the minimum hours may get suspended based on screening results.

An extreme DUI commonly registers a 0.15 BAC, and common first-time penalties include a minimum of nine days to 30 days confined in jail or house arrest and a $3000 fine. A super extreme DUI registers 0.20% BAC, and first-time penalties include 14 to 45 days in jail/house arrest, revocation of the license for one year and a $3250 fine. Jail time could decrease to the minimum under each offense type for drivers who install an interlocking ignition device for one year.

A DUI charge can interfere with a driver’s independence, but mistakes happen. Any driver faced with such a charge needs a good legal defense to beat it or reduce the penalties.

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