When arrested and cited for DUI in Arizona, many people do not realize that it is not just the current charge that they need to be concerned about. If someone has a prior DUI conviction, that DUI conviction may be used in the current case. In Arizona, any DUI conviction within 84 months (7 years) can be used as a prior DUI in a DUI case. This includes prior DUI convictions from all other states. This prior DUI conviction can change the potential range of sentencing in your current DUI case.
An example is with a first time regular (.08) DUI, A.R.S. 28-1381(A1) and 28-1381(A2). The minimum sentence for that charge would be 10 days in jail with all but 24 hours being suspended. However, if someone has a prior DUI, the minimum (.08) sentence would be 90 days in jail with all but 30 days being suspended. As your blood alcohol content (BAC) rises, so does the punishment. The minimum sentence for a first time extreme (.15 or above) DUI, A.R.S. 28-1382(A1), is 30 days in jail with no days suspended. But if someone facing this charge has a prior DUI, the minimum sentence would be 120 days (4 months) in jail with no days suspended. The enhanced punishment progresses up even further with a Super Extreme (.20) DUI, A.R.S. 28-1382(A2). The minimum sentence for a Super Extreme is 45 days in jail with no days suspended. However, with a prior DUI, the minimum sentence on a Super Extreme is 180 days (6 months) in jail with no days suspended.
As one can see, the impact of a prior DUI on a current DUI case in Arizona can be immense. In addition to the increased jail penalties, there is also an increase in fines and the amount of time that your driving privileges will be suspended. There are other harsher penalties as well.
Finally, should someone have two prior DUIs, then the third DUI would be a class 4 felony charge. The initial paperwork may cite you in to a city or justice court, since the police officer does not likely know you have prior DUIs at that
point. However, once the prosecutor's office at the court receives the citation and discovers the prior DUIs, the case will likely be dismissed from the city or justice court and sent to Superior Court for felony prosecution.