DUIs are most commonly referred to as “drunk driving,” but the term can also refer to driving under the influence of drugs or medications. Arizona has some of the harshest DUI laws in the nation.
What Ways Can I be Charged with an Arizona DUI?
In the Grand Canyon state, there are a variety of ways drivers are charged with being impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Let's say you had several beers at a D-Backs game and then made the unfortunate decision to drive home. If you are driving the car and any of the following are true, you are in violation of the law:
1) Impaired to the Slightest Degree: You are driving and the officer determines you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
2) Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Over 0.08%
What Does "Impaired to the Slightest Degree" Mean?
Simply put: You don’t have to have a .08% BAC to commit this offense. You'll just have to be visibly intoxicated. To prove impairment, the cop will usually focus on bad driving, poor performance on field sobriety tests, your appearance and demeanor, and any other things the he or she thinks will be helpful.
Is the BAC Limit the Same for All Drivers?
No. The BAC limit is lower for commercial drivers, .04 or higher and minors under 21, .02 or higher.
Under Age 21 DUI
Arizona has zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving. If you have any alcohol in your system and decide to drive, you are violating the law. If you are under 21 and have been drinking, don’t even think of getting behind the wheel.
Felony DUI in Arizona
If the consequences of a misdemeanor DUI aren't bad enough, if you get charged with a felony DUI, you're in for even stiffer penalties.
If you are driving a car and any of the following are true, you can be charged with a felony:
1) DUI With a Child Under age of 15 in Vehicle
2) DUI With a Suspended Driver's License
3) DUI With 2 Prior DUIs Within last 60 Months
Felony penalties are severe and can include prison time, large fines, license repercussions and more.
Driver's License Suspension
Having to go to court is only one part of the DUI process. You’ll also have to face the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) about your driver's license.
While at the scene, if your blood alcohol result is a 0.08% or higher, the police could seize your Arizona driver's license and give you a temporary license that is valid for 15 days. You may request a hearing within the 15 days. That will put a temporary stop to your license suspension until the ADOT hearing is resolved.
Typically, a first-time DUI conviction will carry a 90-day license suspension.
You may be eligible for a restricted driver's license after the initial 30 days of the suspension, upon completion of an alcohol screening. This permit will allow to you travel to and from work, school, and/or treatment.
Note, you may still have your license suspended or revoked even if the Arizona DUI criminal matter is dismissed by the court.
What if I Refuse the Chemical Test?
Every person driving in Arizona is assumed to consent to a breath or blood test. If you refuse, your license will be suspended for one (1) year.
Here is a brief overview of Arizona DUI laws. For more information see After a DUI, DUI Expungement, and DUI and Insurance.
||A.R.S. 28-1381 et seq.
.08 or higher for adults (21 and over)
.04 or higher for commercial vehicle drivers
.02 or higher for minors (under 21)
|What is Prohibited?
DUI: Operating a motor vehicle while visibly impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol or drugs or have a BAC of 0.08 percent or more.
Typical First Time DUI Penalties
- Fines, fees and surcharges
- License suspension (90 days-one to 1 year)
- Ignition interlock device
- DUI Counseling
- Jail time (Min. 10 days )
- Community service
- Probation up to five years.
Ignition Interlock Device
|For all DUI convictions, Arizona requires you to install an “ignition interlock device” in any car you own or operate. It designed to make sure you aren’t drinking alcohol and driving. Anytime you attempt to start your car, you must blow into the device.
Note: State laws are always changing through legislative, judicial, or other means. While FindLaw works hard to ensure the accuracy of its legal resources, it's a good idea to thoroughly research the law or check with an attorney to make sure you have the most recent information.
Get Legal Help With Your Arizona DUI Case
It's best to never drink or use drugs and drive. Select a designated driver ahead of time, who will stay sober. If you're impaired and don't have a designated driver, use a taxi or shared ride app, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation. But if you do find yourself facing a DUI, your best option is to contact an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney specializing in DUI cases.