There seems to be a perpetual myth – not only in Arizona but in most other states as well – regarding the severity of DWI/DUI laws and the penalties for operating a motorcycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This confusion could be related at least in part to the fact that, even in Arizona, motorcycles are vastly outnumbered on the roads by automobiles. Statistically, they are involved in far fewer DWI arrests. This seems to have fed the growth of a misconception that the laws governing motorcycle DWIs and the penalties for being arrested are not as harsh as the laws applying to automobile drivers – as well as the mistaken assumption that there is less likelihood of being stopped or arrested for DWI on a motorcycle.
In truth, Arizona DUI laws and penalties for bikers are no different than those applied to car drivers. And as most of you are probably aware, the state of Arizona is somewhat infamous for their strict and frankly, draconian approach to punishing those accused of drunk driving.
Motorcycle DWI Penalties Are The Same As Automobile DWI Penalties
Contrary to the notion that motorcyclists might have it easier when it comes to skirting the DUI laws, there are many riders who have tried to get away with this only to be hit with the full force of the penalties for a drunk driving arrest. In Arizona, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.008% (and sometimes less if the officer who stopped you judges you to be more intoxicated than your BAC revealed, based on your behavior) will earn you the suspension of your driver’s license for up to a full year, as well as the possibility of other misdemeanor penalties, such as:
• Mandatory completion of alcohol treatment or education programs, with alcohol screenings.
• Community service.
1-180 days in jail.
• The installation of an ignition interlock in your vehicle and any other vehicle you drive frequently.
• A monetary fine exceeding $1,000
While it is possible that other circumstances in a motorcycle DWI or DUI arrest that would alter the specifics of these penalties to some degree, this is still a good general representation and hopefully revealing look at the penalties for just a first offense. The severity of DUI penalties increases with each offense and most people are unaware that there are also different classifications of DUIs that are based on your BAC results. While a 0.08% is considered a regular DUI”, you can also be charged with an “extreme DUI” with a BAC of 0.15% or more, and a “super extreme DUI” with a BAC of 0.20% or more which increases your potential penalties considerably. See my post from February 2, 2017: When You Are Charged With Super Extreme DUI
Although bikers may not think they pose an equal threat to the driving public by riding under the influence, the police and the courts don’t feel the same way. Please, think twice before you drink and ride in Phoenix or anywhere else in the state of Arizona.
If you are pulled over and charged with DUI, call an experienced motorcycle DUI defense lawyer to start protecting your rights immediately.