Call a former DUI Judge
with over 40 years experience
Arizona has very specific DUI laws. Laws are called statutes, but they’re still laws. There are two types of charges for DUI. There are misdemeanor charges, which are the lesser charges. They’re still criminal, but you can only be sentenced to jail. First there’s the felony charges, felony DUIs, aggravated DUIs, for which you can go to prison, and under some circumstances, it’s mandatory. What makes Arizona unique is that several years ago the legislature built into the law the mandatory minimum penalties that someone must suffer if they are convicted of any of the misdemeanor forms of DUI. Our first level, if you will, is to decide whether or not the alcohol or drugs affected a person’s ability to drive, and the penalties are the lowest for that.
If you have an alcohol concentration, which is the ratio between alcohol and blood, of .08 up to .15,the mandatory minimum penalties are a day in jail (ten days with 9 suspended if an alcohol/drug course is taken) and a $1,600 fine, alcohol and/or drug education, and in some instances, I guess if it’s alcohol, then you are required to do an ignition interlock device for anywhere from 6 months to a year. Now a judge can give more than that, but the judge cannot give less than that on that first tier of DUI.
On the second tier of DUI it’s called extreme. It does not have anything to do with the degree of impairment, it’s just what it was called. Extreme DUI meaning alcohol concentration over .15 but less than .20. This is a very small spread, and so surprisingly you get a lot of cases that end up in this category, but it has a very small percentage spread. .15 to .199. If you’re convicted of that, depending upon the courts, the sentence can be as much as 30 days in jail and it can be as little, in some courts, as 2 days in jail followed by home detention. The fines double, to $3200, and the interlock device is solid for at least, a year. This is all first offense.
The last tier for the misdemeanors is over .20. So .20, which is high, all the way up, to I’ve seen as high as .40. Anything in that classification is a mandatory minimum penalty, first offense, 45 days in jail, fines and fees in excess of $5,000, a lot of education, as well as the mandatory ignition interlock device for a minimum of 18 months.
Second offense, meaning a prior conviction for DUI within 7 years, and that timeframe of 7 years is from an occurrence date to occurrence date. For example, if you got a DUI arrest in 2012 but you didn’t get convicted until 2013, the date that is used for the spread is the date of the violation, which would be 2012. Add 7 years to that date, and then if your occurrence date on the new charge is within that timeframe, it now becomes a second offense.
Second offenses are very punitive. For example, on the baseline first level DUI impairment and/or alcohol concentration .08 up to .15, if convicted it’s a mandatory 30 days in jail minimum. Now the fines and fees also go up another $500 to $700. There is a mandatory revocation of license for a year. Under some circumstances, part of the 30 day sentence can be served on what we call home detention, which is simply being monitored for drugs and alcohol, and not having to go back to jail. However, this is jurisdiction-specific, simply meaning that each city is different, the county system is different, so not only does it depend on when your prior was, but it now depends upon where your new charge is as to how the penalties will affect you. If you are given a 30 day or more jail sentence on the second offense, you are most probably eligible for work release. Work release simply means that for most of the sentence, you can get released from the jail 12 hours a day to go to work and then you have to come back and sleep.
If you get a second DUI on the second tier, or extreme DUI charge, over .15, mandatory penalty is 4 months in the county jail. Depending upon where this happens you could be serving anywhere from 20% of that sentence all the way up to the entire sentence depending on either home detention or work release, and the fines, again, go much higher. You’re talking very close to, by the time you’re finished, about $10,000 in fines and fees, a lot of alcohol education, mandatory community service, and a revocation of the driver’s license. Mandatory license revocation applies to all second offenses, and all levels of DUI.
On the highest tier, over .20, second offense, that’s a mandatory 6 months in the county jail. Again, in some Courts you can maybe be eligible for home detention, other Courts, you can’t. It just becomes very specific and you need to get a lawyer that knows and understands the inner workings of each of the cities and the counties that you’re dealing with so that those types of things can be outlined and good advice can be given as to what your true exposure really is.
A license revocation is different than a suspension. If your license is suspended that means you can’t drive for a certain period of time, but then you can pay some money, reinstate, and drive. If your license is revoked, that means you don’t have one, and in order to get it reinstated you have to reapply. Most people cannot go a year without violating the law. They have to drive, work, etc. We don’t have public transportation here to speak of. So, the Legislature has now allowed people to put an ignition interlock device in a vehicle after 90 days and drive for the remaining 9 months. So instead of a 1-year revocation it could be as short as 90 days. This is very alcohol-specific. For DUI drug charges the, the process is different.
As of January 1st, 2017, the ignition interlock device requirement, is no longer required if you are convicted of a DUI drug offense. It really was an unnecessary burden for someone who doesn’t drink to have to blow into the devise every time they drive. So the legislature last year changed the law effective to January 1st of this year, 2017, taking that interlock requirement out of the DUI drug protocol. Suspensions still remain.
For more information on DUI Charges In Arizona, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (480) 897-8737 today.