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ARIZONA'S DUI LAW IN ANUTSHELL

There are five (5) different classifications of drinking and driving offenses:

  • First, it is unlawful to drive or be in control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, drug, vapor or any combination thereof.

  • Second, it is unlawful to drive or be in control of a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .08 or more within two hours of driving.

  • Third, it is unlawful to drive with certain drugs [i.e. cocaine, marijuana etc.]or their metabolites in the body.

  • Fourth, it is unlawful to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or more within two hours of driving. This offense is classified as "Extreme DUI" and carries additional penalties.

  • Fifth, if you have a commercial driver license "CDL" and your blood alcohol concentration is a .04.

  • These are separate charges. A driver can be charged with one or any combination of these charges depending on the circumstances. Usually, if a driver submits to a chemical test which results in an alcohol concentration of .08 or more, he/she will be charged with both offenses.

  • If a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test and none is performed non-consensually, he/she will only be charged with driving under the influence assuming the officer has enough evidence to establish probable cause for the arrest If a driver refuses to participate in a chemical test of his breath, blood and/or urine, the police are authorized by law to obtain a search warrant. If a search warrant is obtained, and the driver still refuses to participate, law enforcement can literally strap you down and take the bodily fluid, usually blood.

  • These offenses can be charged as felonies - prison mandatory - if you have prior DUI's, or your driver license was suspended at the time of the offense, or you have a person under 15 years of age in the vehicle.

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  • A person charged and convicted of one or both of the aforementioned is guilty of a class one misdemeanor. A first time offender shall complete an alcohol abuse screening. The court may order the offender to obtain counseling, education, or treatment if the court or the screening facility determines that the offender has a substance abuse problem.

  • If the offender has the financial resources to pay all or part of the screening, counseling, education, or treatment, then the court shall order him/her to do so. All programs must be approved by the Department of Health Services. The statute requires the court to sentence a first time offender to serve not less than ten consecutive days in jail.

  • However, the court may suspend all but twenty-four consecutive hours of the sentence if the offender completes an alcohol abuse screening. Since the statute stipulates consecutive hours the court cannot give credit for any time served on the day of the arrest.

  • The statutes also require a fine of not less than four hundred twenty-five dollars plus administrative fees and court costs. The court may also order the offender to perform up to forty hours of community service and attend a class sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, known as the Victim Impact Panel. Usually the offender will also be placed on twelve months of probation as well.

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  • A person convicted of a second offense within sixty months of the first, or a first offense and has previously been convicted in another state for a first offense that complies with an Arizona law, is guilty of a class one misdemeanor. The dates of commission of the offenses are the dispositive dates in determining the sixty month period. A second-time offender is subject to the same sanctions as a first-time offender regarding an alcohol screening, counseling, education, treatment and payment.

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  • The statute requires the court to sentence a second-time offender to serve not less than ninety days in jail. The court may suspend all but thirty days of the sentence if the person completes a court-ordered alcohol screening, counseling, education and treatment program. If the person fails to follow through with counseling, education or treatment, the court will issue an order compelling the person to show cause why the remaining sixty days should not be served. Thirty days must be served consecutively unless the sentence includes a provision for work release, which is discussed below; then the requirement is reduced to forty-eight consecutive hours. The statute requires a fine of not less than eight hundred dollars plus administrative fees and court costs. The court may also order community service, the Victim Impact Panel, and supervised probation.

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  • First and second-time offenders are eligible for work release. Whether or not a person�s sentence will include work release is left tot he discretion of the court. If a person is employed or is a student the court may permit the person to be released from jail only long enough to complete the actual hours of employment or studies, up to twelve hours per day, and not more than five days per week. However, a first time offender cannot commence a work release program until he/she has served at least twenty-four consecutive hours in jail. Likewise, a second time offender must serve at lease forty-eight hours in jail before a work release program may begin.

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  • Second time offenders may also be eligible for home arrest. There are several requirements that must be satisfied before a person may be accepted into this program. Contact our office or the probation department for the list of requirements. Begin working on satisfying those requirements well before the time of sentencing. The probation department�s approval is necessary before the court will place someone in the home arrest program. The home arrest sentence will include forty-eight consecutive hours in jail, thirteen days on work release, and forty-five days of home detention. The person will be allowed to leave the home to work, attend school, or attend treatment.

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  • A person convicted of an aggravated drinking and driving offense is guilty of a class four felony. Either driving under the influence or driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more will be considered an aggravated offense if it is committed while the person�s license is suspended, canceled, revoked, refused, or restricted, and the state can prove that the person knew the status of his driving privileges. Likewise, if a person is convicted and has been previously convicted of two prior drinking and driving offenses in Arizona, or in any other state where the law complies with Arizona law, with all these offenses occurring within sixty months, the last conviction will result in an aggravated sentence. The dates of commission of the offenses are the dispositive dates in determining the sixty month period. An aggravated sentence includes a minimum of four months in prison. Probation, suspension of sentence or release on any other basis is not available until the person serves at least four months. The sentence will also include up to ten years supervised probation and alcohol screening, counseling, education and treatment. If the person fails to complete the screening, counseling, education or treatment the court may re-sentence the person to an additional term ranging from four months to one year. Should the person�s probation be revoked he/she will not receive any credit for the time served when re-sentencing occurs. The court may also impose a fine up to one hundred fifty thousand dollars.

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