What is a felony DUI under Arizona law?

Arizona law with regard to drunk driving implements an escalating scale of severity for repeat offenses. While a single DUI can result in significant penalties, including mandatory jail time, fines, community service and suspension of driving privileges, being convicted of repeat violations or drunk driving under certain special circumstances enhances the severity of the punishments.

These increased penalties result from what is legally referred to under Arizona statutes as “aggravated driving or actual physical control while under the influence,” or “aggravated DUI” for short. But another way that you may have heard the same thing described as is, felony DUI.

Aggravated DUI occurs when a person commits one of the following acts:

  • Drives drunk for a third time (or more) in 84 months (seven years) from the date of the first drunk driving conviction. The count includes out-of-state convictions if the other state’s law is functionally equivalent to Arizona’s drunk driving law; furthermore, if that person was in the other state while fleeing probation in Arizona, or spent time in jail in that other state, the time spent during such flight or incarceration does not count toward the 84-month time limit.
  • Drives drunk while under a license suspension or revocation in connection with a prior drunk driving conviction.
  • Drives drunk while a child less than 15 years old is in the car.

The reason why these kinds of aggravated DUI are also known as felony DUI is because the punishment for conviction is a Class 4 felony or a Class 6 felony (for drunk driving with a minor under 15 in the car) under Arizona law.

The range of possible penalties under Arizona felony statutes is beyond the scope of this post, which is only intended to identify the circumstances that constitute aggravated DUI. If you have questions about those penalties in particular, or aggravated DUI in general, information is available online, or by contacting an Arizona criminal defense law firm.