It is no secret that being charged with a drunk driving offense in Arizona can have serious or even life-changing consequences. If convicted, the penalties could range from fines and license suspension to a prison sentence. Whatever the case, it can severely impact your future, particularly as you will be left with a mark on your criminal record. This can diminish your chances of getting a job and may even impact matters such as college options or where you can live.
The factors that determine how serious a DUI offense are numerous and varied. They can also differ somewhat from one state to the next. However, the level of intoxication, as determined by a blood alcohol test, is often an important contributor. The higher your BAC, the more severe the charges are likely to be. Other factors include the age of any passengers in your vehicle at the time, and whether anyone was hurt as a result of an accident during which you were intoxicated.
As this article on sentencing explains, prior convictions can also affect your sentence. If you are considered to be a habitual offender, you could find yourself facing felony penalties for what may be a comparatively minor DUI offense. Other penalties that are often used involve the seizure of your vehicle. Depending on the severity of the sentence, this may mean temporary impoundment or even complete forfeiture of your vehicle.
Fortunately, although it is extremely concerning to be faced with DUI charges, all hope is not lost as an attorney may be able to assist you. He or she can evaluate the circumstances of your arrest and may be able to suggest ways to improve your defense and work toward avoiding conviction.