What is the penalty for a first-time DUI conviction in Arizona?

There is a first time for everything, as the saying goes, and if you are reading this perhaps you may be experiencing your first charge for drunk driving in the state of Arizona. You may be wondering, “What might happen to me?” This post will provide some basic answers to that question.

The first answer to the question is, “It depends.” We have already decided for the limited scope of this post that this is your first time to be charged with DUI, so we can rule out penalties for repeat violations.

But there are other variables that can have a bearing on a potential sentence, such as whether your blood alcohol content (BAC) or breath alcohol content (BRAC) was 0.15 or higher (“extreme DUI”) or if you have been accused of certain circumstances that the law considers to be more serious than “ordinary” drunk driving (“aggravated DUI”). These may be discussed in later posts.

If we confine our examination to the lowest level of offense — a first-time conviction, a BAC / BRAC or less than 0.15 (not extreme DUI), and no aggravating circumstances — then we can next look at the particulars.

First, the bad news: Arizona is a state with formidable DUI penalties, even for first-time offenders:

  • The jail sentence is 10 days; plus
  • Fines totaling $1,250; plus
  • You will be required to have an ignition interlock device placed in your car for a certain period of time.
  • You might also be required to perform community restitution.

The potentially good news is, if you agree to complete a court-ordered alcohol or drug screening, or education or treatment program, then the judge may reduce your jail time to one day.

Remember, the penalties above only apply upon conviction. There are many considerations that must be considered if you are charged with drunk driving in this state, and depending on the facts unique to your situation you may have defenses to such a charge that may help your case.