Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal charge in Arizona, with penalties ranging from 10 to 180 days in jail and fines from $1,500 to $5,000. The more you know about Arizona’s DUI laws, the better equipped you will be should you ever face this charge. Always trust a DUI defense attorney for the best outcome with your particular case.
There’s More Than One Way to Get a DUI
Arizona’s DUI laws specify four ways in which a person can receive a DUI charge:
- If an intoxicating drug or alcohol has impaired someone’s ability drive to “even the slightest degree.”
- If the driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher within two hours of operating or being in physical control of a vehicle.
- If there is any illicit drug or its metabolite in a person’s body. This includes marijuana if the driver does not have a valid medical card.
- If the driver is operating a commercial vehicle that requires a CDL license and has a BAC of 0.04% or higher.
Arizona Is a Zero-Tolerance State
Arizona is a zero-tolerance state when it comes to DUI. This means police can arrest drivers for impairment even if their BAC levels are below the legal limit. If the police have reason to believe a driver is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to the point where the substance is impairing the driver’s ability to control the vehicle, BAC level does not matter. Note that the law says a BAC lower than 0.05% comes with the presumption that the defendant was not under the influence.
You Don’t Have to Drive to Get a DUI
That’s right; you can face criminal DUI charges even if you weren’t actually driving a vehicle. In Arizona, the law leaves room for a DUI if the person is driving or in “actual physical control” of the vehicle. This means police could potentially arrest you for DUI for being parked or sleeping in your car if you show signs of intoxication or impairment. These charges come from the idea that the individual was most likely driving or planning to drive the vehicle. They are possible to fight if the individual can prove he or she had no intent to operate the car.
Penalties Range in Severity
Arizona has something called an “extreme DUI” that’s reserved for drivers who have BAC levels of 0.15% or higher. An extreme DUI comes with penalties of mandatory minimum 40 days in jail, a $2,500 fine, mandatory alcohol classes, and one year with an interlock device on the vehicle. There is also a “super extreme DUI” charge for BAC levels of 0.20% or more, with even worse consequences. An “aggravated DUI” is the most severe charge and can happen if you’re driving on an invalid license, if you get three DUIs within seven years, or if you’re driving with someone under the age of 15 in the vehicle.
A Lawyer Can Help
There are many potential defenses to a DUI charge in Arizona. For one, the arresting officer must have had probable cause to stop your vehicle before they can arrest you on suspicion of DUI. If there is evidence that the officer stopped you unfairly, it could lead to the prosecution dropping the charges. Other possible defenses have to do with the exact language of the state’s DUI provisions. Retaining a good lawyer is always a good idea for people facing DUI charges in Arizona.