237 Underage Drinkers Arrested in Tempe

DUI is a serious crime in Arizona, carrying multiple penalties for even a first offense. These penalties are even stricter against underage drinkers, who can be charged with DUI for as much as a single drink. If the gravity of these consequences were not already evident, they were recently brought to the attention of the Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa communities when 237 underage drinkers were arrested over the first week of April. This crackdown is likely the result of increased pressure from Arizona State University (ASU) and the surrounding community to discourage students from underage drinking and especially driving while intoxicated.

The Arrests

Over the first weekend of April, 51 officers from multiple law enforcement agencies sought out parties in and around the ASU campus. Their efforts were focused in a particular area of Tempe known for its collegiate nightlife, often referred to as “Loud Party Corridor.” By the end of the weekend, a total of 237 people were arrested for underage consumption or possession of alcohol, as well as DUI, which accounted for 67 of the arrests.   

The Context

The recent arrests were a response to the local “Safe and Sober” campaign at ASU, which discourages all forms of underage drinking. This campaign was formed in response to an ASU freshman who died only weeks ago when she fell off a 10-story balcony. After investigation, it became clear that the student was intoxicated in the middle of the night when she fell. She had previously attended an off-campus party sponsored by a fraternity, which allegedly encouraged binge drinking. Prior to the incident, local police had already made 1,772 arrests for illegal drinking, but the recent death prompted even more concerted efforts.   

Although ASU is a dry campus, it is often ranked as one of the country’s top party schools. This reputation often spills into the community as well, as evidenced by the frequent off-campus parties held by college and even high school students.

Penalties for DUI

In Arizona, DUI offenders face the following penalties:

  • First time offenders receive a minimum of 24 hours in jail, lasting up to 10 days. This may be accompanied by a $250 base fine and license suspension of 90 to 360 days.
  • Second time offenders face a minimum jail time of 30 days, lasting up to 90 days. The fine is increased to $500 and license suspension is for a year.
  • Third time offenders can be jailed for four months or longer, along with a $750 fine and one year license suspension.

In addition to the standard penalties, drivers may also be forced to install an interlock ignition device, which requires a breathalyzer test in order to start the car and continue driving it. This device is installed at the owner’s expense, and often requires the driver to pay for its continued use every month. For drivers who are 21 and over, a BAC level of .08 is required to constitute a DUI. But for underage drivers, any BAC level over .00 is enough to result in charges.   

The Importance of an Attorney

As police continue to crack down on underage drinking and DUIs, it’s important to remember your rights and not get unfairly charged. In their effort to arrest any students who are alleged to be drinking and driving, it is possible for authorities to overlook their legal obligations prior to, during, or after an arrest. By consulting the right DUI attorneys, your case can be scrutinized and given fair representation throughout the legal process. 

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We want to give you the best DUI defense possible. For more information on how we can help you through your criminal charges, contact our office to schedule an appointment with James E. Novak.

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