Driving under the influence is defined in the state of Arizona as driving or operating a vehicle while physically or mentally inhibited by alcohol, drugs or vapor-releasing substances. Arguing that a driver has been legally prescribed the medication is, by law, no defense against DUI charges. According to Arizona DUI laws, drivers who are the age of 21 or older can be taken into custody for DUI if they have a blood-alcohol content, or BAC, measured at or more than .08 percent. The law is even more restrictive for drivers of commercial vehicles, who can be taken in with a BAC of at least .04 percent. Arizona also has a zero-tolerance policy in place for drivers who are younger than the age of 21; they can be taken into custody if they have a BAC of more than .00 percent. If a person of any age is found to have a BAC of at least .15 percent then they will be categorized as “extreme DUI.” People who are convicted of extreme DUI will be convicted of a criminal misdemeanor and are subject to harsher penalties.
The state of Arizona has an implied consent law. The law states that anyone who operates a motor vehicle consents to have their BAC tested if a law officer suspects they are under the influence. If a law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds for suspecting that a driver is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, then he or she may administer a breath, urine or blood test. If the driver refuses the test, then that can result in a 12-month driver’s license suspension.
It should be noted that a person does not have to be driving to be charged with DUI. As long as the intoxicated person is in “full control” of the vehicle, then an officer can still check his or her BAC and arrest the driver for DUI as normal. In this case, “full control” means having the keys in the ignition and the engine on.
The Penalties for Committing DUI in Arizona
First-offense DUI convictions will be subject to a base fine of at least $250, up to 10 days in jail and a license suspension of at least 90 days. Subsequent convictions will land a driver with progressively larger fines, longer times in jail and greater periods of suspension. Repeat offenders will also be required to complete community service and attend educational seminars.
People who have been found guilty of committing extreme DUI in Arizona will face even harsher penalties. A first-time offender can be charged as much as $2400 and will have his or her license revoked for a full year. An interlock ignition device will also need to be installed into every vehicle that the driver owns at his or her own expense. It will require the driver to blow into the device to prove that he or she is no way intoxicated. Otherwise, there will be no way for the vehicle to start.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Arizona?
When it comes to driving under the influence (DUI) offenses, Arizona is among the states that administer the toughest punishments. DUI charges are based on a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of a traffic stop.
Legal designations applied in driving under the influence cases include:
- A BAC of .08 percent or higher typically results in a standard DUI charge for a motorist who is 21 or over; heightened BAC levels can result in a charge of Extreme DUI charges (for a BAC of .15 percent or higher) or Super Extreme DUI (for a BAC of .20 or greater).
- Drivers who are not of legal drinking age are subject to a BAC limit of .00 under Arizona’s zero tolerance law and can be charged with alcohol-related offenses provided there is the slightest trace of alcohol.
- Commercial drivers must observe a BAC limit of .04 percent and risk not only DUI penalties but the loss of a CDL.
The punishments for even a first-time offense are very severe, potentially including fines in the thousands, significant jail time, long-term driver’s license suspensions, and other penalties.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Arizona
Arizona requires all people convicted of DUI to install an ignition interlock device (IID). This breath testing equipment is wired into an ignition system and prevents a vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected.
Following are some critical aspects of IID use:
- Obtaining a device is the only way to reinstate driving privileges.
- People convicted of DUI may get a device after 45 days of license suspension.
- A convicted individual must install an IID on any vehicles operated.
IIDs must be installed, monitored and serviced at a motorist’s expense. Additionally, any evidence of tampering a failed breath test can lead to additional penalties.
Arizona DUI Penalties
It is against the law for people to drive in Arizona if their blood alcohol content level is .08 percent or above. As for minors, they cannot have any alcohol in their system; the state has a zero tolerance policy. The penalties for driving under the influence are severe. Some of the most common penalties that drivers face include hefty fines, a license suspension and jail time. Arizona DUI penalties vary based on whether it’s the offender’s first, second or third DUI offense.
Penalties for a First Arizona DUI Offense
In Arizona, law enforcement officials have two hours to test a person’s BAC level after the arrest. Those who refuse to take a Breathalyzer or blood test will automatically lose their license for one year. For first-time convictions, most offenders must serve at least 10 days in jail and pay a $250 fine. In addition, first-time offenders usually have to attend an education course and participate in community service. Drivers may lose their license for up to 90 days.
Due to the state’s zero tolerance policy, minors can lose their license for up two years if they have a detectable amount of alcohol in their system. Drivers should also know that Arizona DUI penalties become stricter when a person’s BAC level is .15 percent or greater. This is even true for first-time offenders. For example, the state may require drivers to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. An ignition interlock device renders a vehicle immobile when the driver fails a breath test.
Penalties for a Second Arizona DUI Offense
Anyone who receives a second DUI conviction faces a minimum of 30 days in jail. Besides that, offenders will lose their license for two years and have to take a mandatory alcohol education course. Although it depends on the case, some offenders are required to enroll in a treatment program instead of spending time behind bars. According to the law in Arizona, the second time DUI offenders must pay at least $500 in fines.
Penalties for a 3rd Arizona DUI Offense
Those who have three or more DUI charges face a variety of strict penalties. In Arizona, there is no statutory minimum jail sentence for a third DUI offense. Drivers can have their license suspended for up two years and face more than $500 in fines. The state usually requires third-time offenders to install a vehicle ignition interlock device in their car. Drivers must cover all costs associated with the ignition interlock device.
Drivers in Arizona are unable to have a DUI charge pleaded down to a wet reckless charge. In Arizona, all DUI convictions stay on a person’s record for seven years. The state can use any prior DUI charges from the last seven years against an offender while assessing what penalties he or she will face. For a third-time offense, drivers usually face hefty fines, jail time, a license suspension, hours of community service and mandatory treatment.