A recap of drunk driving in Arizona last year

Drunk driving arrests have been declining in Arizona in recent years. The state’s drunk driving penalties are some of the strictest in the country.

Now that the New Year has passed, many organizations look back on the previous year to see if there has been progress on a variety of issues. Drunk driving is no exception. Every year, lawmakers evaluate whether a state's current laws and procedures have made a difference in reducing drunk driving arrests and preventing deaths and injuries. Since law enforcement in Arizona takes drunk driving seriously, the reports on the subject have been interesting.

According to statistics reported by The Arizona Republic at the beginning of 2015, there were fewer DUI arrests in Arizona the previous year. This number represented the third year straight that drunk driving arrests had been declining. However, extreme DUI arrests - or driving with a significantly high blood alcohol content - had risen by a small amount. The latest statistics for the end of 2015 have yet to be posted.

Harsh penalties for drunk driving in Arizona

Arizona is known for having some of the strictest drunk driving laws in the nation. According to the Arizona Legislature, those who are convicted of driving while intoxicated may face the following penalties:

• A minimum fine of $250 plus surcharges

• Jail time of at least 10 days

• Additional fees totaling at least $1,000

• Possible order to perform community service

• Alcohol or drug treatment or education program

• Driver's license suspension

• Significantly increased penalties for subsequent convictions or high BAC levels

Additionally, everyone who is convicted of drunk driving in Arizona is required to install an ignition interlock device, including those with first-time convictions. Many people believe the state's interlock penalty has played a significant role in reducing drunk driving arrests and fatalities while other's attribute it to the advent and popularity of ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

Efforts to further curb drunk driving

There are numerous reasons people in Arizona need adequate defense after being arrested on DUI charges, from the possibility of a faulty field sobriety test arrest to protecting one's reputation and employment status from a harsh conviction. If you are facing drunk driving charges, you will need to contact an experienced Scottsdale DUI defense attorney to protect your rights.