The Law Offices of John Phebus

Arizona is toughest state in nation on DUI

The Grand Canyon State has been slowly, surely, steadily toughening its drunken driving laws over time. Year after year and law after law, the desired goal has finally been attained: Arizona is now the state with the toughest DUI laws in the nation.

That's what financial website WalletHub has determined, anyway. And if you ask those who have been arrested and found themselves in a Phoenix courtroom on driving under the influence charges, the odds are good that they will agree.

One of the primary factors that puts Arizona atop the rankings is our law requiring a first-time DUI offender to serve a mandatory 10-day jail sentence. No one else is as hard on DUI (also known as DWI).

The Arizona Daily Star writes that our ranking might not be entirely merited, however. After all, judges have discretionary power to reduce those 10 days down to one if the violator completes court-ordered alcohol treatment or substance abuse education program.

Remember, though, that the stakes get much higher for a second offense in our state: 90 days in jail. Note that this sentence, too, can be reduced; this time down to 30 days.

Arizona is not as hard on the wallet as some other places, the site notes. Our first-offense fine is $250 and a second offense costs at least $500. Again, that is not the last word on the subject, though, as Arizona adds surcharges that can nearly double the fine.

Because our state insists that first-time DUI offenders must install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, our overall toughness ranking got a boost. Those devices are installed and maintained at the violator's expense, of course.

One hidden and unofficial cost of a DUI conviction in our state are auto insurance premiums. They invariably soar afterwards, rising on average in our state by 37 percent.

An experienced DUI defense attorney can help you protect your rights, freedom and money. A conversation with a Phoenix DUI lawyer can help clarify your available legal options and begin pursuit of the option suited to your situation.


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