Understanding aggravated DUI versus extreme DUI in Arizona

In the state of Arizona, there are a few factors that can turn a misdemeanor DUI into a much more severe felony charge. A DUI can jump to an aggravated DUI if certain conditions are present when a driver is pulled over. This is different from an extreme DUI charge. Both are more severe than a regular DUI, yet they are extremely different from one another.

What is an Aggravated DUI?

An aggravated DUI is essentially a DUI with certain "aggravating factors" present at the time of the arrest. These aggravating factors are deemed so significant that they turn an otherwise misdemeanor offense into a felony.

Such "aggravating" factors include:

  • Multiple DUIs in 7 years: If a driver is pulled over and facing DUI charges, that driver will be assessed an aggravated DUI if the driver has previously received two other DUIs within the previous 7 year period.
  • Driving with a passenger under 15 years of age: A driver who is pulled over for DUI will be assessed an aggravated DUI if that driver is found with a BAC above the legal limit and there was a passenger inside the vehicle at the time who was under the age of 15.
  • Driving without a full license: A driver facing DUI charges will face aggravated DUI if upon arrest that individual's driver's license is suspended, revoked or restricted.
  • Damage to another person or property: A driver will be assessed an aggravated DUI if, as a result of his or her driving under the influence, property was damaged or another party was injured in the accident.
  • Driving without an interlock: A driver who is required to install an interlock device and receives a DUI in vehicle not equipped with one, will face felony DUI charges.

Penalties for aggravated DUI in Arizona

Depending on the situation, drivers who face aggravated DUI charges are up against felony charges. Prison time, steep fines, mandatory ignition interlock device requirements, license revocation and decade long probationary periods are also possible.

What is an extreme DUI?

An extreme DUI is different from an aggravated DUI because it refers not to factors present at the time of the arrest, but merely to the driver's blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, level.

In the state of Arizona, a driver with a .08 BAC or higher is driving over the legal limit. However, any driver found with a BAC of .15 or above will be charged with extreme DUI. Drivers operating a vehicle with a .20 BAC will be charged with super extreme DUI.

Unlike an aggravated DUI, an extreme DUI is still a misdemeanor, but the penalties for extreme and super extreme DUI in Arizona are much more severe than for a standard DUI.

Consult with a DUI attorney

Whether a driver is facing a standard DUI, aggravated DUI or extreme DUI, immediately consulting with a DUI attorney soon after a drunk driving arrest is vital. There is too much at stake, both short term and long term. A DUI can affect a driver's life years after the conviction.