While Cinco de Mayo is an annual observance every May 5 of a Mexican army victory more than 150 years ago, it has evolved in the U.S. to become a celebration of Mexican-American culture. Unfortunately, like many popular cultural festivities, it has become a focal point by law enforcement agencies across Arizona eager to arrest drivers for drunk driving.

According to a recent news report by Phoenix’s KTAR-TV, police departments across the state reported that they made nearly 30 percent more DUI arrests this past Cinco de Mayo than they did last year.

Law enforcement officers made 415 drunk driving arrests this year from May 3 to May 5. Last year, 325 drivers were busted for DUI and there were 504 arrests over the holiday in 2017.

Arizona police agencies reported that of this year’s arrests, 59 were for aggravated DUI and 120 were for extreme DUI.

“Extreme DUI” is defined as a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .15 percent to .199 percent. The Arizona legal limit is .08 percent BAC. Courts assume that drivers with level of alcohol in their system pose an extreme danger, which means that if convicted, people face harsh penalties, including:

  • Jail (30 to 80 days)
  • License suspension (up to one year)
  • Probation (up to five years)
  • Mandatory ignition interlock (one year)
  • Fines, fees and more

Aggravated DUI refers to someone who drives drunk while their driver’s license is suspended or has been revoked. It can also refer to someone who has a third DUI in 84 months or who drives drunk with someone under age 15 in the vehicle.

The penalty for conviction of aggravated DUI? “You will be sent to prison for not more than two years,” the Arizona Department of Transportation says on its website.

If you face any of these harsh possibilities, contact an attorney who knows the law and understands how to protect you, your license and your freedom.