Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a common crime in Arizona. However, there is an often-held misunderstanding about the serious consequences an Arizona DUI conviction can carry. Contrary to popular belief, these are not minor traffic offenses. DUI cases are taken very seriously by Arizona law enforcement, prosecutors and judges, and a conviction for a DUI offense can have lifelong consequences.
The seriousness of a DUI arrest depends on a few things. Most notably, whether you have a prior conviction for a DUI. Generally speaking, first-offense DUIs are less serious than subsequent offenses. For example, the punishment for a first-offense DUI is ten consecutive days in jail, a fine of at least $250, and mandatory community service. In addition, you will need to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle before you can drive again. If you are convicted of a second DUI, then the punishment you face will increase significantly. For example, the jail time the comes along with a second offense increases to up to 90 days in jail. However, if you participate in drug or alcohol classes, you can have a portion of that sentence suspended.
In addition to the criminal penalties associated with a DUI conviction, you can also suffer a host of collateral consequences. Collateral consequences are the non-criminal aspects of a conviction that impact your life, often making it much more challenging to get a job, attend school, or obtain certain benefits. For example, if you are convicted of an Arizona DUI, employers can refuse to hire you, and you may not be eligible for certain professional licenses. Landlords may also ask you on a rental application if you have ever been convicted of a crime, which impacts their decision of who to rent to.