Most people are aware of the legal limit of .08 BAC to be charged with the per se DUI in Arizona. But there are additional, more serious charges that can apply if the BAC is tested and alleged to be higher.

Under Arizona law, drivers can be more than just sober or drunk. DUI charges are dependent on a number of factors that can substantially alter the penalties involved if convicted. While most DUI charges are based on a specific concentration of alcohol in the bloodstream, police officers and the courts have discretion to charge a person with driving under the influence even if they do not meet these limits.

Fighting a DUI successfully often depends upon knowing the law and how the BAC level was determined. Getting charges reduced from an extreme DUI or an aggravated super extreme DUI can make a significant difference in the level of penalties, as well as the mark on your record.

Let’s use this post to review the levels of DUI charges and the penalties which can result from a conviction, including pleading guilty.

Grades of DUI

A standard DUI or impaired to the slightest degree DUI covers drivers who have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between .08 percent and .15 percent. For commercial drivers, the BAC limit is .04 percent. For drivers under the legal drinking age, any BAC above zero is a DUI. Again, it is possible to test between .05 and .08 percent BAC and still be charged and convicted for drunk driving.

An extreme DUI covers drivers with BAC levels of .15 percent or above. Penalties for extreme DUI are stiffer than those for standard DUI. This is particularly true for first-time offenders. The difference in penalties is enough to make the accuracy of BAC testing a point of inquiry in raising a strong defense.

A super extreme DUI like the extreme DUI is based entirely off of BAC. In this case anyone who is alleged to have a .20 or higher BAC can and will be charged with a super extreme DUI.

Aggravated DUI– or FELONY DUI is based on circumstances other than the quantity of alcohol in a person’s system. Drivers who have been cited with a 3rd DUI offense within an 84 month period can be charged with aggravated DUI. The charge is also applicable to drivers cited with DUI while their licenses were suspended, revoked or cancelled. Finally, a person cited for drunk driving while a passenger under the age of 15 is in the car can be charged with aggravated DUI.

The penalties for aggravated DUI or felony DUI are far greater than for standard or extreme DUI. Anyone charged with aggravated DUI is strongly encouraged to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney.