Arizona takes its DUI laws seriously, even for first-time offenders. In 2008, the Arizona legislature amended the state’s already harsh DUI laws, making them even harsher for today’s residents. As the laws now stand, prosecutors are allowed to allege prior convictions for not one, or two, or three, but for an unheard of seven years. Prior to the 2008 changes, the period allowed to allege a previously was five years. This means more Arizonans are facing second and third DUI offense charges than ever before.
Arizona also has some of the harshest mandatory minimum penalties for Extreme and Super Extreme DUI convictions. Unlike many other states, a judge cannot suspend any portion of a jail sentence for someone convicted of Extreme or Super Extreme DUI, even first-time offenders. Any first-time offenders convicted of Extreme DUI, which is a blood alcohol level of .15 percent or more, must also spend at least 30 consecutive days in jail. Meanwhile, second-time Extreme driving under the influence offenders must stay in jail for a minimum of 120 days.
First-time offenders convicted of Super Extreme DUI, on the other hand, must serve a 45-day mandatory minimum jail sentence. A second Super Extreme DUI offense in one’s lifetime results in a six-month sentence. It definitely pays to learn your lesson the first time around. To top it all off, someone charged with driving under the influence in Arizona must undergo an alcohol screening and equip their vehicle with an ignition interlock device for a minimum of one year. Indeed, the consequences of a DUI conviction in Arizona can be harsh, to say the least. Some may even be life-changing.
DUIwise.com Survey Results
DUIwise.com conducted a survey in March of 2014 in which it asked 3,000 random Arizonans to answer the following question:
“In my personal opinion, the drunk driving laws and penalties for those convicted of driving under the influence in Arizona are: Just Right, Too Light or Too Harsh.”
The harshness of Arizona drunk driving laws have been a hot topic of debate for quite some time. The survey’s goal was to shed light on how regular everyday Arizonans feel about the topic.
Without further ado, let’s get to the survey results.
• 53.1 percent said they were just right.
• 30.6 percent said they were too light.
• 16.3 percent said they were too harsh.
• 51.1 percent said they were just right.
• 28.5 percent said they were too light.
• 20.4 percent said they were too harsh.
• 54.9 percent said they were just right.
• 32.5 percent said they were too light.
• 12.5 percent said they were too harsh.
There are other statistics as well, but you get the point. The majority of Arizona residents actually feel the state’s drunk driving laws are just right.
Nonetheless, the state still has some of the harshest drunk driving laws and has taken quite a bit of heat by those demanding an amendment. This has forced some Arizona lawmakers to reconsider the state’s penalties for first-time offenders.
One lawmaker leading the way is Senator Linda Gray. Like several other legislators, Gray believes the current laws are too harsh for first-time offenders. Her bill aims to reduce the length of time first-time offenders must have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles after having their licenses reinstated. Currently, drunk driving offenders must have an interlock installed for one year, but Gray’s bill reduces it to six months.
While this is only a small step in revising the state’s harsh drunk driving laws, it’s a valiant one Gray hopes will inspire other needed changes.
Get Free Advice from a Local Arizona DUI Lawyer
If you’re facing DUI charges, chances are you have some questions that need to be answered The criminal process is a complicated one, and the likelihood of receiving a favorable result without the help of an experienced attorney is slim to none. Contact a professional today and receive professional results!