Arizona DUI arrests down last year

The good news is that in 2014, Arizona DUI arrests dropped for the third year in a row. The bad news is that despite the drop, more than 28,000 people were arrested for drunk driving in the state.

The DUI record was set back in 2012, when 32,174 people were taken into custody on drunken driving charges. The number dipped slightly in 2013 to 31,892, and with a drop of about 10 percent, fell to 28,471 arrests last year.

The director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said he is “very encouraged” by the downward trend, noting “the fact that people understand the consequences” of driving while intoxicated.

He said he’s “thrilled,” too, by another trend: the number of people identifying themselves during traffic stops as designated drivers has more than doubled in a year, rising from 6,759 in 2013 to just over 14,000 last year.

However, the DUI numbers did have a downside, as the average blood alcohol content (BAC) rose by a fraction from 0.151 percent to 0.152 percent. (The legal threshold in Arizona is 0.08 percent.)

That means the BAC of the average person arrested falls under the extreme DUI sanctions of Arizona law.

Conviction on an extreme DUI charge can mean a jail sentence of 30 days, in addition to fines, mandated installation of an ignition interlock device and a driver’s license suspension.

Because of the severity of the potential punishments, many charged with DUI (also referred to as DWI) or extreme DUI will enlist the aid of an experienced defense attorney to help them fight to preserve their driving privileges and freedom.

Source: The Republic, “DUI arrests down for 3rd year on Arizona highways,” Jim Walsh, Jan. 2, 2015