The big number this year for DUI arrests in Arizona during St. Patrick’s Day festivities — a four-day period, according to law enforcement — is 413. That number is up by 49, compared to last year. One thing that remains to be seen is the number of accused individuals who are actually convicted.

Make no mistake: driving while under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous for drunk drivers and other motorists and pedestrians. But police efforts during festive times of the year can also become zealous. Arizona residents accused of DUI need to be aware of their defense options.

According to officials, 371 of the arrests over the course of the four-day period linked to St. Patrick’s Day were misdemeanor arrests. In Arizona, we have was has been termed “extreme DUI,” and arrests under that designation numbered 131 during this year’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

Any DUI charge should be taken very seriously, but allegations of extreme DUI constitute a personal crisis. If your blood-alcohol content is measured to be 0.15 percent or higher, then you can be charged with extreme DUI. That means the possible criminal and civil penalties against you are much more severe than what prosecutors regard as “ordinary” DUI charges.

If convicted of extreme DUI, you can face a jail sentence that ranges from 30 to 180 days. You may also have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. A conviction for extreme DUI could also cost you your job if a license suspension keeps you from going to work.

To fight for their rights and freedom, Arizona residents accused of DUI should speak with a defense attorney with experience in this area of the law.

Source: KTAR.com, “More than 400 St. Patrick’s DUI arrests across Arizona,” March 18, 2014