Arizona Has Some of the Harshest Penalties for Those Convicted of Driving Under the Influence, Even for First-Time Offenders

Given the manner in which Arizona DUI laws are written and enforced, most people who are arrested and charged with an Arizona DUI offense have no idea that they were over the legal limit or were still under the influence of an intoxicating substance. Thus, the fact that Arizona has one of the strictest – if not the strictest –penalty schemes for driving under the influence creates a situation where a motorist may face severe consequences for violating a law they never knew they were breaking.

In Arizona, like most other states, it is illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above. However, Arizona law is unique in that it creates “presumptions” depending on a motorist’s BAC. For example:

  • a motorist whose BAC is less than .05 is presumed not to be intoxicated;
  • a motorist with a BAC over .08 is presumed to be intoxicated; and
  • there is no presumption of intoxication for motorists with BACs between .05 and .08.

Thus, under Arizona’s DUI law, a motorist with a BAC of .06 can still be found guilty of DUI through the presentation of “other competent evidence.” When it comes to driving under the influence of drugs, Arizona law is similarly strict. For example, a motorist can be found guilty of DUI even if there is only the metabolite of a drug in their system. In many cases, a metabolite does not cause the effects of intoxication and merely shows that a person had used the drug in the past.

The Penalties for an Arizona DUI

In Arizona, a first-time offender is required to be sentenced to the following:

  • No less than 10 consecutive days in jail and is not eligible for probation or suspension of execution of sentence unless the entire sentence is served;
  • Total fines and assessments of no less than $1250;
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device; and
  • Payment of any court-imposed restitution or required community service.

Second-time DUI offenders face even stiffer penalties, with a minimum of 90 days in jail, fines and assessments of at least $3,000, and a license suspension for one a year.

Importantly, the court may exercise its discretion and suspend all but one day of incarceration for first-time offenders, and all but 30 days of imprisonment for second-time offenders, if the defendant completes a drug and alcohol treatment program.

Have You Been Arrested for an Arizona DUI?

If you have recently been arrested and charged with a DUI offense in Arizona, you should contact Attorney James E. Novak for assistance. Attorney Novak is a well-known and respected Arizona DUI defense lawyer with extensive experience in handling all types of Arizona DUI cases, ranging from first-time offenses to subsequent extreme DUI charges. To learn more about how Attorney Novak can help you defend against the charges you are facing, call 480-413-1499 to schedule a free consultation today.

Additional Resources:

Other Articles of Interest from The Law Office of James Novak’s Phoenix DUI Blog:

What Are Miranda Rights and How Do They Apply in Arizona DUI Cases?, Phoenix DUI Law Blog, October 3, 2018

Court Discusses Notice Requirement in Recent Arizona Aggravated DUI Case, Phoenix DUI Law Blog, September 28, 2018

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